MAC Volleyball Quarterfinal Action Begins Friday

Updated 11/20/2013
MAC Volleyball Tournament Central
MAC Volleyball Tournament Bracket

The 2013 MAC Volleyball Tournament will take place Nov. 22-24 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Quarterfinal action will take place on Friday with four matches. All of this year’s MAC Volleyball Tournament action will be streamed LIVE on the MAC Digital Network. See below for all of Friday’s Quarterfinal previews. 
MAC Volleyball Quarterfinal Match #1
No. 1 Ohio (24-4, 14-2 MAC) v. No. 8 Kent State (12-17, 6-10 MAC)
Ohio opens the 2013 MAC Championship Friday with a noon contest against No. 8 Kent State at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The Bobcats and Golden Flashes split two regular season meetings, with each team winning on its home floor. 
The Green & White have compiled a 26-5 record in the MAC Tournament since the 2000 season. Ohio has won seven tournament titles (2003-10) over that span. Ohio captured the MAC regular season crown for the second-straight season after sweeping Kent State (3-0) and Central Michigan (3-0) last weekend. It marked Ohio’s eighth regular season championship. The Bobcats are No. 37 in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released Monday. Ohio is 1-2 against RPI top-50 opponents and 8-3 against the RPI top-100.
Kent State will make its first postseason appearance since 2010 when it takes the floor this weekend. The 8th-seeded Golden Flashes seek the first conference tournament crown in program history After a 1-5 start, the Golden Flashes won five of the next six to enter conference play at .500. They went 4-2 to open conference play, which included the program's first win over a ranked school, for their best start to the MAC season since 2007, but then dropped four straight. 

MAC Volleyball Quarterfinal Match #2
No. 4 Bowling Green (14-14, 10-6 MAC) v. No. 5 Northern Illinois (18-12, 10-6 MAC)
Bowling Green is the defending tournament champion and is the No. 4 seed this year. The Falcons will face No. 5 seed Northern Illinois in the quarterfinals Friday at 2 p.m. The winner will play in the semifinals Saturday at 2:30 p.m. BGSU finished the regular season tied with Northern Illinois for fourth place in the MAC standings but earned the No. 4 seed by virtue of a three-game sweep over the Huskies earlier this year.
BGSU is 19-24 all-time in the MAC Tournament and this is the 11th consecutive year in which the Falcons have competed in the postseason event. Paige Penrod currently sits in the top 10 in three different categories. Penrod's 4,407 attack attempts rank first all-time in school history. She surpassed Carlyn Esslinger for first all-time with her 52 attempts at Miami on Sept. 26. Penrod currently sits in second place in school-history with 1,549 career kills. She is 160 short of Tammy Schiller's all-time mark. Finally, Penrod is currently ninth all-time with 114 service aces.
Northern Illinois enters the MAC Tournament with a record of 18-12 overall and the Huskies went 10-6 in MAC play. The team ranks fourth in the league with a .211 attack percentage but has improved to .225 in 16 conference matches. Junior Mackenzie Roddy ranks fifth in the MAC with 3.43 kills per set and sophomore setter Alexis Gonzalez is handing out 9.45 assists per set, seventh-most in the league. Head coach Ray Gooden is 223-163 in 12 seasons leading Northern Illinois with five 20-win seasons.

MAC Volleyball Quarterfinal Match #3
No. 2 Toledo (19-11, 12-4 MAC) v. No. 7 Eastern Michigan (16-15, 6-10 MAC)
The Rockets will open play at the SPIRE Institute with a quarterfinal matchup against No. 7 seed Eastern Michigan (16-15, 6-10 MAC). UT earned the No. 2 seed for the tourney by claiming a share of the MAC West Division title and winning the tiebreaker with Ball State due to a head-to-head sweep of the Cardinals. Toledo split its season series with the Eagles, as both teams posted 3-1 triumphs on their homecourt. 

The Rockets set a school record this season with their 12 league victories and their West Division crown was the first MAC title of any kind for UT. Becca Reidy along with MB Dakota Harkins, OH Jordan Kielty, S Adria Pryor and OH Lauren Rafdal — make up a senior class that has UT on the verge of its best season ever. The quintet represents Head Coach Greg Smith’s first recruiting class after he assumed leadership of the program in May 2009. The Rockets, who dropped their first two league matches at CMU and EMU, have won 12 of their last 14 MAC contests and had a school-record eight-match conference win streak end with their loss at Northern Illinois.
Eastern Michigan Head Volleyball Coach Kim Berrington owns an 8-13 record all-time in the Mid-American Conference Volleyball Tournament. Over the last few years, EMU has been near the top of the MAC in digs and this season is no different. The Eagles are currently leading the league in total digs with 2,070. Corynne Smith is tied for second in the conference with 5.42 digs per set, but is leading the conference in overall digs with 634. The Eagles are not only leading the MAC in digs, but they are ranked in the top-50 nationally. EMU is 10th overall in digs per set with 17.69. Tulsa leads the nation in that category with 18.45 digs per frame.


MAC Volleyball Quarterfinal Match #4
No. 3 Ball State (24-7, 12-4 MAC) v. No. 6 Western Michigan (16-13, 9-7 MAC)
Western Michigan volleyball team will open the 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament at the SPIRE Center in Geneva, Ohio on Friday when they take on the Ball State Cardinals. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. This will be the 77th meeting between Western Michigan and Ball State, with the Broncos owning a 40-36 edge in the series against the Cardinals. The Broncos fell to the Cardinals in both of their meetings earlier this year, including a 3-1 loss at home in the last match of the 2013 regular season.

Western Michigan's Lena Oliver needs nine digs to become just the second player in program and conference history to compile 2,500 career digs, and is the active NCAA Division I leader in digs. Ave Stout led all MAC freshmen in hitting percentage in conference matches, recording a .322 hitting percentage against her conference foes. Stout ranked at or near the top of all MAC freshman with an average of 0.99 blocks/set in conference play, and averaged 1.22 blocks/set last weekend against Toledo and Ball State. 

Ball State clinched a share of the Mid-American Conference West Division title and the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament with a 3-1 (25-21, 28-26, 23-25, 25-17) victory at Western Michigan Saturday. Leading the Ball State attack in Saturday’s win over Western Michigan was senior middle Mindy Marx with a career-high and match-best 19 kills. Marx, who tied for match-high honors with six blocks, finished the match hitting .531 (19-2-32).