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MAC Volleyball Release
TWO TEAMS QUALIFY FOR TOURNEY:
West division leader Western Michigan and Ball State both qualified for the MAC Volleyball Tournament, which begins Nov. 23 on campus sites with quarterfinal matches. The Broncos, who are the conference's only remaining unbeaten team (13-0), became the first league school to qualify with a win last Friday against Eastern Michigan. The Cardinals qualified for a ninth consecutive postseason tournament the next night with a victory over Kent.
THE MAC'S OCTOBER SQUADS:
Western Michigan completed the month of October with a perfect 11-0 record, one of four MAC squads that won more than 60 percent of its matches during that span. Ball State was right behind the Broncos with a 10-1 mark, with its lone loss coming to Butler. Bowling Green, which began the month with consecutive losses to Ball State and Miami, went on a run of nine wins in 10 matches and finished with a 9-3 mark. Meanwhile, the RedHawks completed the month with a 7-4 record, which included a four-match losing streak in the middle of the month.
TWENTY SOMETHING IS SPECIAL:
In addition to Western Michigan becoming the first MAC school to qualify for the league tournament -- Ball State has also qualified -- the Broncos also were the first to reach the 20-win plateau. It marks the first time since 1996 that a WMU team has notched 20 or more wins, and with 21 wins to date it is also the most victories in one year since 1991. Ball State is also one win shy of its eighth straight 20-win season under the guidance of head coach Randy Litchfield.
LEWIS IS A KILLIN' MACHINE:
Bowling Green senior Melissa Lewis is one of the main reasons that the Falcons have already surpassed last year's win total (11). Lewis, who has paced BG in kills in 21 out of 24 matches, leads the MAC in kills per game (4.75) and that number improves to 4.84 in league action. The outside hitter also moved into sixth-place in Falcon history in career kills (1,154) following a 50- kill week. Entering play this week, Lewis is 90 kills short of passing Holli Costein for fifth.
CMU LOOKS TO BREAK STRING:
Central Michigan is presently on a seven-match losing streak, its longest since the Chippewas lost seven straight in 1997. CMU plays at Northern Illinois on Wednesday before returning home to host five straight matches.
EAGLES PLAY A THRILLER AT BG:
Four Eastern Michigan players posted double-doubles in the thrilling five-game victory at Bowling Green. Senior Jill Hutton had a career-high 29 kills and added 12 digs and nine blocks, while junior Sara Schaub had 27 kills and 23 digs. Senior Karen Simpson had a pair of career-bests with 16 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore Camila Olaio had career-highs of 68 assists, 26 digs and 6 service aces.
EAST DIVISION TIGHT AT THE TOP:
With three weeks left in the regular season, the East title is up for grabs as four teams are within one game of one another. Bowling Green and Miami are both tied with 8-4 records, while Akron is a half-game back at 7-4 and Marshall one full game back at 7-5. Prior to this season, no league school has won the division with more than three losses. In 1998, three schools -- Miami, Ball State and Northern Illinois -- each finished the regular season with three defeats.
FRIZZO JOINS THE 5K CLUB:
Marshall setter Nicole Frizzo became the first Marshall player to record 5,000 career assists and the second player in the league to reach the feat in 1999. Frizzo reached the milestone following a 42-assist performance Sunday against Bowling Green and has 5,015 career helpers. The senior, who played her freshman year in the Southern Conference, also holds school records for assists in a match (82), assists in a season (1,620)
UB QUIETLY NABS TWO WINS:
Buffalo picked up two critical victories over the weekend, allowing the Bulls to remain in the hunt for one of the six remaining spots in the league tournament. UB nabbed a four-game win at home against Central Michigan and was paced by a career-high 21 kills from Rebecca Meade. In addition, Somer Deschambault had 22 digs to go with a match-best 53 assists, while Meade also contributed 17 digs and three aces.
MERRILL TRIPLES UP FOR OU:
Ohio junior outside hitter Amber Merrill pulled off a triple-double last week and almost tallied back-to-back triple-doubles in the Bobcats' matches with Toledo and Buffalo. In a five-game setback with the Rockets, Merrill had 17 kills, 12 blocks and 11 digs, and nearly turned in a repeat performance with 11 kills, 10 digs and seven blocks in Ohio's match at Buffalo.
HAMMER CONTINUES TO SWING:
Ball State's Megan Hammons pounded 33 kills in seven games (4.71 per game) last week to improve her season total to 362. That is the highest total ever by a Ball State sophomore, surpassing the 361 totaled by Michel Winkle in 1982. Hammons' total ranks 10th overall in team history. Her current average of 4.47 kills per game is also the highest ever by a BSU sophomore and the school's second-best overall average. At her current average of 15 kills per match, Hammons is on pace to record 482 kills this season, which would be the third-best total in school history.
McCULLOUGH MAKES HER MOVE:
Miami redshirt freshman Kelly McCullough has made an impact on the court for the RedHawks over the past two weeks. Earning her first career start against Western Michigan, McCullough has recorded 16 blocks over the last four matches, while posting 34 kills. Against Northern Illinois, McCullough notched a season-high of six blocks. She also posted a season-best 13 kills against Marshall last Friday.
SNYDER LIKES THE DOUBLE DIGITS:
Akron freshman Jenn Snyder, who uses the double letter N in her first name, is getting quite accustomed to the kill-dig double-doubles. She added two more this weekend in matches against Ball State (11 kills, 17 digs) and Northern Illinois (12 kills, 20 digs). She has now had a double-double five times this season.
NIU AND THE TOP IN THE EAST:
Of Northern Illinois' three league wins this year, two of them have come when the Huskies have battled the first place team in the East Division. The Huskies' latest victim was a three-game win over Akron, which began the week in the top spot in the East. NIU's other win was against Marshall two weeks prior when the Thundering Herd sat atop the division.
'BUCK'ING THE COMPETITION:
Toledo freshman Jessica Buck continues to put up some impressive numbers. Buck is tops among first-year players in attack percentage (.269), which is ninth in the MAC. Buck, who leads the Rockets with 271 kills, had 19 and hit .485 in the Toledo road victory against Ohio.
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