Mid-American Conference Weekly Volleyball Release (Sept. 20)

Updated 10/28/1998
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE PEPSI OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mandy Whitfield, Western Michigan (Sr., OH)
Comstock, Mich. (Comstock HS)

Whitfield was named to the all-tournament team at the Ameritech Invitational after averaging 5.15 kills, 3.54 digs and hit .369 (67-19-130) for the Broncos, leading Western Michigan to a second-place finish and a 3-1 week. Whitfield notched four straight matches with 10 or more kills, including three consecutive matches of 18 and also tallied three kill-dig double-doubles.

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE PEPSI DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Julie Zylka, Ball State (So., MA)
Muncie, Ind. (Delta HS)

Zylka averaged 1.50 blocks, 2.94 kills, 0.81 digs and hit .340 (47-12-103) for the week to help propel Ball State to the title at the Holiday Inn Express-Nike Challenge. In a four-game win over Western Kentucky, Zylka, who earned all-tournament honors, had nine blocks and also registered six blocks in the Cardinals' opener versus Indiana State. In the championship match against Duke, Zylka tallied 20 kills, four blocks, five digs and hit .457.

MAC PLAY OPENS THIS WEEK:
League play gets underway this week as a full slate of matches are scheduled. Eastern Michigan and Buffalo open up conference action on Tuesday, with five other matches on the docket for Friday and six for Saturday.

FLOYD PLAYS HAVOC WITH THE MAC:
Hurricane Floyd affected four tournaments this weekend that involved MAC schools. Northern Illinois was unable to attend North Carolina's tourney because of too many canceled flights. At Kent, Seton Hall was grounded because of the hurricane and didn't make it to the tourney, while Wagner couldn't attend Baylor's tournament, which Akron participated in. Hofstra, Central Michigan's first opponent at Kentucky's tourney, was delayed in New York and arrived late into Lexington.

TOLEDO SNAPS LOSING SKID:
The University of Toledo went 3-1 at Wright State's Raider Challenge over the weekend, ending a 14-match losing streak. The Rockets' last win prior to Friday's victory over Sacred Heart was Oct. 28, 1998 against Buffalo. Toledo finished second in the tournament to the host school, which was the squad's only loss at the tourney.

NIU LOSES MIKESELL FOR YEAR:
Huskie Christy Mikesell was lost for the year a week ago Tuesday when she fractured the right tibia and fibula in the team's exhibition with the USPV Dream Team. Mikesell, who landed awkwardly and hit her lower leg against the net post following an attack, had surgery last Wednesday.

INJURIES ALSO SIDELINE TWO ZIPS:
Akron sophomores Ashlie Case and Miranda Valentine have been lost for the season in two separate instances. Case, who was the 1998 MAC Freshman of the Year, separated her shoulder in the home opener against Ohio State, while Valentine injured her right knee versus Niagara and will have reconstructive surgery.

ACES ARE WILD FOR TOLEDO:
Part of the reason for Toledo's 3-1 record at Wright State's tournament was the team's serving. In four matches, the Rockets dropped in 31 aces, which breaks down to 2.58 aces per contest. UT, which leads the league in aces per game (2.06), was led by freshman Bitsy Mayhle's 10. Toledo had 13 against Sacred Heart, led by Mayhle's five, four from Lindsey Kretzmann and three by Becky Radomski. Mayhle also added four aces against Chicago State.

CLOSING IN ON 400:
With its next win, Bowling Green's volleyball program will have reached the 400-win plateau. Current head coach Denise Van De Walle has been a part of 301 of the school's 399 wins.

ROCHO DISHING IT OUT FOR CMU:
CMU junior setter Jessica Rocho was the lone Chippewa named to the all-tournament team at the Kentucky Conference Challenge. Rocho posted 120 assists in CMU's three matches for a 10.9 assist per game average. She also added 27 digs to average 2.5 per game. The junior notched 60 assists in the opener against Hofstra for the second-highest mark in her career.

TOUGH AS NAILS IN MAC OPENERS:
Ball State begins the Mid-American Conference portion of its schedule on Friday with a match at Western Michigan. The Cardinals are 9-1 in league openers during the tutelage of head coach Randy Litchfield. The lone loss occurred in 1989 -- Litchfield's first season -- when BSU suffered an 11-15, 13-15, 5-15 setback at WMU. Ball State also opened with the Broncos in 1995 and posted a five-game victory in Muncie.

FISHER ROLLS OVER PREVIOUS BEST:
Marshall junior outside hitter Julie Fisher posted a pair of double-doubles over the weekend, helping the Herd to a second-place finish at Indiana's tournament. Fisher posted 10 kills and 18 digs versus the Hoosiers, then followed that with a 12-kill, 16-dig performance against Cleveland State. Her 62 kills this season is a career-best, surpassing her previous total of 46 set as a freshman in 1996.

WMU PAST STREAK AT A GLANCE:
While the Broncos had a seven-match winning streak snapped at the hands of instate rival Michigan State, WMU did string along some strong offensive and defensive statistics. The win streak was the team's longest since it opened with eight consecutive victories in the 1996 season. During the seven-match streak, the Broncos hit .359 as a team, outblocked its foes 102-44 and had a 305-224 edge in the digs department.

McDIVITT IS DIGGIN' IT FOR AKRON:
Zips junior Julie McDivitt is back on path defensively, leading the MAC with 4.78 digs per game. Last weekend at Baylor's tournament, McDivitt turned in four double digit dig matches, including two of 20 or more. In a four-game win over Rice, McDivitt tallied a season-high 34 digs and followed that with a 28 dig match against Baylor, in addition to 14 kills.

DOUBLE THREAT FOR BUFFALO:
Bulls sophomore Keri Shiels and senior Rebecca Meade have developed into a strong 1-2 tandem for Buffalo. Shiels, a member of the all-MAC Freshman team, is No. 10 in the league in kills per game (3.68), and with 151 kills to date is well on her way of passing her total as a first-year player (273). Meade, meanwhile, has stepped up for UB this year after limited action a year ago. Meade has already topped her kill total of a year ago (67) with 140.

MERRILL IS MARVELOUS FOR OU:
Ohio junior Amber Merrill, who was eighth as a sophomore in kills per game (3.73), is presently leading the league in that category after averaging 4.9 kills in three matches over the weekend for the Bobcats. Merrill, who garnered all-tournament honors at Gonzaga's Spokane Spikeoff Tournament, recorded 20 kills in a loss to the host school but closed out the tourney with a 16-kill, six-block performance in a 3-0 win over Alabama-Birmingham.

MIAMI ON AN UNCOMMON SLIDE:
The RedHawks lost a three-game match to Notre Dame last Saturday, marking the first time since 1994 that a squad has lost more than three consecutive matches. The 1994 team dropped five straight while the present squad has lost four straight.

SCHAPER IS SUPER AT BAYLOR:
Akron senior setter Kim Schaper was named to the all-tournament team this past weekend at the Baylor Invitational after passing out 159 assists (12.23 apg) and notching 17 kills with no errors in 44 attempts. Schaper is edging closer to becoming the school's all-time assist leader. Entering play this week, Schaper has 4,596 assists, which is fifth all-time in MAC annals, and is 274 short of breaking Patti Godzinski's total of 4,869.

BSU USING TEAMWORK TO DIG IT UP:
In Ball State's four-game win over Indiana State, the Cardinals put five players in double figures in digs, led by Jaime Stanley's 19 off the bench. Amanda Wingertsahn was next with 17 and pulled off a near triple-double, adding eight kills and eight blocks.

LEADING THE FALCON PARADE:
Senior Melissa Lewis has led the Falcons in kills in nine of the team's first 10 matches this season. Lewis, who is third in the MAC in kills per game (4.38), moved into ninth place on the school's all-time kills chart with 890. In a loss to No. 17 Colorado State, Lewis hit .357 and had 13 kills to go with eight digs.

MORIN IS STEADY AT THE NET:
Traci Morin's all-around effort over the weekend was a large reason for the success that the Broncos had at their own tournament. Morin averaged 3.5 kills, 2.08 digs, 1.17 blocks and hit .355 in four matches and earned all-tournament honors. Morin, who is fourth in the league in blocking (1.24 bpg), had four or more blocks in three of the four contests and also had seven or more digs in three matches. Against Loyola Chicago, Morin had 20 kills, eight digs, four blocks and hit .474.

MARSHALL HONORS:
Seniors Jessica DeGraaf and Nicole Frizzo were each named to the all-tournament team at Indiana's tourney. DeGraaf paced the Herd with a .328 hitting percentage and averaged 2.33 kills per game, with a weekend high of 12 coming in a win over Cleveland State. Frizzo racked up 118 assists in the three matches, including 52 in the final match versus Cleveland State. The setter also averaged a kill a game.

THE KENT SHUFFLE:
Kent proved its depth again last week as 12 players competed in the Kent Invitational. Twelve players competed in each of two matches with Cincinnati, and 11 played against UCLA in the final match of the showdown. Fourteen Golden Flash athletes participated in the match against Loyola, 11 played in the win over Northeastern and 10 contributed in the Georgetown triumph.

INCHING A LITTLE CLOSER TO 2,000:
With 25 assists against Notre Dame, Miami senior setter Kerry Hardek is inching a little closer to the 2,000-assist mark. Hardek now owns 1,971 career assists, and is only 29 shy of the milestone. She will likely reach this mark in Miami's match Wednesday against Cincinnati.

EMU SETTER PULLING THE TRIFECTA:
Eastern Michigan setter Camila Olaio was named to her third straight all-tournament team at Tennessee's Lad Vols Classic. Olaio tallied 105 assists in three matches (9.55 apg).