MAC ENDURES TOUGH SCHEDULE:
The Mid-American Conference continued its tough non-conference schedule over the weekend, meeting 11 schools that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year, going 5-7 (MAC teams played Ohio State twice). This weekend the league will face six teams that were in the postseason in 1999.
THREE MAC TEAMS WIN TOURNEYS:
Three MAC schools captured tournament titles last weekend. Ball State won its own tourney, the Holiday Inn Express/Nike Challenge, Ohio won the Valpo Popcorn Classic and Bowling Green won the Central Florida Fall Invitational. The title for the Bobcats was their first top finish at a tournament away from home since 1995, while the Falcons first-place finish was the school's first since 1997.
MAC NABS THREE WINS OVER ACC:
The first weekend it was three wins over Conference USA. This past weekend it was three victories over schools from the ACC, including two over teams that made it to the NCAA tournament in 1999 (Clemson and Virginia), and a third over Florida State, which was the team's first loss of the season. Overall, the league was 20-25 against non-conference opponents last weekend and is 38-48 this year to date.
DIGGING HER WAY TO THE TOP:
Akron senior Julie McDivitt became the MAC's all-time digs leader on Friday in the Zips first game of their match with South Florida. McDivitt, who passed Ohio's Brenda Bailey for the top spot, finished the weekend with 1,553 digs. The total, however, only ranks fourth in Akron history, trailing the school mark of 2,007 set by Karen Godzinski.
SALLEE IN SELECT COMPANY:
Ball State senior setter Emily Sallee became only the fourth player in MAC history to reach the elusive 5,000 assist plateau for her career in last Fridays match with UTEP. Sallee, who has 5,150 career helpers, helped the Cardinals to the title at BSUs Holiday Inn Express/Nike Challenge and was named the tourneys MVP. Up next for Sallee is Kent States Nicole Collias, who passed out 5,403 assists and is third all-time.
MAC Career Assists
1. 5,794 - Jessica Stout, Miami (1994-97)
2. 5,619 - Kim Schaper, UA (1996-99)
3. 5,403 - Nicole Collias, KSU (1994-97)
4. 5,150 - Emily Sallee, BSU (1997-pr.)
MERRILL IS MARVELOUS FOR OHIO:
After missing the first weekend still recuperating from an off-season thumb injury, Ohios Amber Merrill made her presence known at Valparaiso as she helped the Bobcats to the title at the Popcorn Classic after Kent State defeated the host school (Ohio won the head-to-head tiebreaker with Western Kentucky, which also had a 3-1 record). Merrill had three matches with 25 or more kills, including 37 in a five-game win over Dartmouth, and averaged 6.0 six kills per game and hit .378. With 102 kills in the four matches, Merrill eclipsed the 1,000 kill barrier and moved into third place all-time in Ohio history with 1,091 career kills.
WINS FOR NIU COMING QUICKER:
Northern Illinois, which is 5-2 this year, is coming off a second-place finish at Michigan's tournament, losing only to the nationally-ranked Wolverines. The Huskies didnt get their fifth win of the season last year until their 14th match of the year against Marshall.
TIME MANAGEMENT FOR UT?:
Toledo had its fare share of lengthy matches last week at Ohio States Buckeye Invitational. The Rockets had a two-hour, six minute four-game match with the Buckeyes, then endured a two-hour, forty-one minute five-game contest with Kentucky in the consolation match. In the match with the Wildcats, junior Lindsey Kretzmann had a career-high 23 kills and hit .488, while sophomore Becky Radomski added 22.
MCCULLOUGH NETS CAREER DAY:
Miami sophomore outside hitter Kelly McCullough capped off a strong tournament stint at the Pittsburgh Invitational with a career performance against national power Arkansas en route to all-tournament team accolades. McCullough established career-best numbers in kills (25), digs (nine) and service aces (two) against Arkansas, an NCAA tournament team a year ago.
BSUS HOME STREAK CONTINUES:
With four wins in Muncie last week, Ball State stretched its winning streak in Muncie to 21 straight matches. BSU ended the 1999 season with 17 straight wins at home. That betters the previous school record established when the 1994 and 1995 teams combined to win 16 in a row in Muncie. In Randy Litchfield's tenure, BSU has posted a 121-26 record (.830 winning percentage) in Muncie and are 100-15 (.870) in Worthen Arena.
BGSU AND HOME TOURNAMENT?:
Bowling Green, which is coming off a weekend in which it won Central Floridas Fall Invitational, will host a tournament at home for the first time since 1992. The Falcons will host the Bowling Green Invitational with Evansville, IUPUI and Illinois-Chicago completing the tourney field.
MITCHELL MOVING UP THE LIST:
Central Michigan middle hitter Jennifer Mitchell was named to the all-tournament team at the Loyla Marymount Volleyball Classic. The senior averaged 3.4 kills, 1.9 digs and 0.8 blocks per game. Against Indiana State, she racked up 17 kills, five total blocks (three solos), seven digs and a pair of aces. Mitchell moved into sixth place in the CMU record books for career block assists with 242 and she needs six more total blocks to move into the top 10 in Chippewa annals.
After two years of seasoning, Western Michigan junior MMyia McQuirter seems to finally be living up to the high expectations placed on her when she arrived in 1998. One of the most athletic players on the WMU roster, McQuirter has recorded 10 or more kills in five of WMU's six matches this season. The junior totaled 15 kills and a .333 (15-5-30) attack rate versus Virginia. She is third on the team in total kills (74) and second in kills per game (3.36). McQuirter needs just eight kills this season to surpass the total from her first two seasons combined.
MCENERY DIGGIN IT FOR KSU:
Kent State senior Carrie McEnery averaged 3.67 digs per game for the Golden Flashes at Valparaiso's tournament to increase her per-game average to 3.25, which is sixth in the MAC. The outside hitter had 21 of her 55 digs for the weekend in a win over the host school.
WILLIAMS CONSISTENT FOR HERD:
Marshall senior Wendy Williams remains a consistent force for the Thundering Herd, who finished second at its own tournament. Williams, who was named to the all-tournament team along with teammate Nicole Michal, averaged 4.07 digs and 3.5 kills per game in four matches last week. She had 16 kills and nine digs in a win over Wright State, then followed with a combined 33 digs in the Thundering Herds final two matches of the tourney against UNC Wilmington and Wake Forest.
SHIELS TOPPING THE CHART FOR UB:
Buffalo junior Keri Shiels, who leads the team with 58 kills this year, paced the squad with 13 kills and eight digs in a loss to Syracuse last Friday, which went on to win the Orange Classic. Shiels also hit .400 for the match.