MARATHON MATCHES IN MAC PLAY:
Mid-American Conference play opened on Friday with a bang as three league contests went to rally scoring. Ohio defeated Kent State while Bowling Green nearly came back from two games back to down preseason favorite Ball State on its home court, ending the Falcons seven-match overall win streak and seven-match win streak at Anderson Arena. The final five-game contest was an all out battle with Northern Illinois and Akron, with the Huskies prevailing over the Zips. The final two games were in favor of NIU, 19-17 and 24-22.
OHIO OFF TO BEST MAC START:
After the first weekend of MAC play, Ohio finds itself in rare territory -- in first place in the East Division. The Bobcats, who picked up wins over Kent State and Eastern Michigan, are 2-0 in conference matches for the first time in school history. Ohio battles two unbeaten teams on the road this weekend, Toledo and Northern Illinois.
CMUS YOUNG RACKS UP KILLS:
Central Michigans Jenny Young posted the match-high kill total in both of CMUs matches with 18 kills against Buffalo and 20 versus Kent State. She averaged 6.3 kills per game while hitting .345. The outside hitter posted a double-double with 20 kills and 10 digs against Kent State. She also had 12 digs and two block assists on the week.
THE TRIPLE THREAT IS IN EFFECT:
Akron sophomore Katie Kuzior had her second triple-double of the season in as many weeks in a loss to Northern Illinois. Kuzior, a member of last years All-MAC Freshman team, had 23 kills, 14 total blocks and 10 digs versus the Huskies, then followed with 25 kills, 10 digs and five blocks the next evening in a win over Bowling Green. For the week, Kuzior averaged 5.33 kills, 2.22 digs and 2.11 blocks per game.
BGSU MIDDLE TIES SCHOOL MARK:
Bowling Greens JoAnna Papageorgiou tied a school record in the Ball State match. With 10 block assists, she matched the BGSU record for block assists in a five-game match. That record was set by Nicky Mudrak (vs. Central Michigan, Nov. 21, 1993) and matched by redshirt freshman Laura Twyman in the Cincinnati match earlier this season (Sept. 2). The senior also registered her first-ever triple-double in the match, adding 15 kills and 18 digs.
SALLEE MOVES UP CHART:
Ball State senior setter Emily Sallee set a career high with 84 assists in the Cardinals win over Bowling Green on Friday, breaking her old mark of 80 set against Alaska-Fairbanks last season. Her assist total is the highest total to date this year in the MAC, and is the most in the league since Marshalls Nicole Frizzo passed out 87 in a match in 1998. The 84 assists is also tied for the sixth most in MAC history.
Sallee, who has 5,446 career helpers, is 173 assists short of moving up to second all-time in MAC annals. Up next for Sallee is Akrons Kim Schaper, who passed out 5,619 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. 5,446 - Emily Sallee, BSU (1997-pr.)
CHALLENGING ROAD TRIP FOR WMU:
In addition to racking up some miles on its current four-match road trip, Western Michigan should also get a good idea of how the division races will shape up. Three of the Broncos first four MAC opponents in the contests were picked to finish either first (Ball State, Miami) or second (Akron) in their respective divisions in the 2000 MAC Preseason Coaches Poll. Last season BSU and Akron won the MAC West and East Division titles, respectively. Eastern Michigan placed third in the West last season and battled the Broncos in the 1999 MAC tourney before falling 3-1.
FRESHMEN IN THE MIDDLE:
Miamis freshmen middle hitters, Jessica Rayburg and Susan Poll, put up some nice numbers last week. Poll led the team with a .295 hitting percentage and averaged 2.38 kills per game. Rayburg notched 10 blocks in two matches last week, including three solo blocks, averaging 1.25 per game.
ITS TIME TO SERVE IT UP:
The meeting on Friday between Toledo and Ohio will match the top two serving teams in the MAC. Ohio leads the MAC with 2.20 aces per game, while UT is at 1.91. Two of the top three individual servers also will be featured with Ohios Kris Whitfield (0.51/game) and UTs Becky Radomski (0.46/game). The match will also serve as the home opener for the Rockets.
WMU SETTER CLIMBS UP CHART:
Western Michigan setter Jen Nowak is just 27 assists shy of totaling 3,000 for her collegiate career. Nowak would be just the third Bronco to total 3,000 or more assists, joining Heather Sawyer (3,455) and all-time leader Kris Penza (4,082) in that elite club. Nowak is the all-time leader in career assists-per-game average (11.89 apg.)
BSUS HOME STREAK TO BE TESTED:
Ball States 22-match winning streak will again be on the line this weekend as the Cardinals host Central Michigan on Saturday, then battle Northern Illinois, Kent State and Buffalo next week. BSU ended the 1999 season with 17 straight wins at home.
WILLIAMS NEARING MILESTONE:
Marshalls Wendy Williams is closing in on a major milestone for the Thundering Herd. Williams, who eclipsed the 1,000 dig plateau for her career earlier in the season (now has 1,158), is 98 kills short of the century mark. She would become the third player in school history to accomplish the feat. Williams had 26 digs and 17 kills against Eastern Michigan on Friday, then followed with 19 digs and 10 kills versus Toledo.
SCHAUB SHINES FOR EMU:
Eastern Michigans Sara Schaub had her league-leading second 20-kill, 20-digs match in the Eagles MAC win over Marshall. Schaub had 25 kills and 20 digs against the Thundering Herd. The senior is second in digs per game (4.16) in the MAC and seventh in kills (4.02).
MESHBERGER CONTINUES TO SIZZLE:
Susie Meshberger, who was selected as the MAC Offensive Player of the Week in each of the last two weeks, remained on fire for the Cardinals in their league opening weekend. Meshberger averaged 5.75 kills per game and hit .407. The junior had 22 kills in a 3-0 win over Western Michigan.
SETTING THE STANDARD AT KSU:
Kent State junior setter Stephanie Doran had 91 assists in the Flashes two MAC matches last weekend. Doran has had 50 or more assists in a match 29 times in her career including six times this season. Doran raised her season total in assists to 500 (10.64 apg). Overall, she ranks second all-time at Kent State with her 2,846 career assists.
TOUGH MAC OPENER FOR BUFFALO:
Buffalo opened MAC play with a tough three-game loss at home against Central Michigan. Two of the games were 15-12 decisions, while the middle game was 15-10. The Bulls were paced by junior Keri Shiels 14 kills and .324 hitting percentage. Freshman Lindsay Matikosh added a match-high 18 digs in the loss.
DELIVERING ON A CONSISTENT BASIS:
Toledo sophomore Bitsy Mayhle has registered double digits in kills in all but one match this year. Mayhle leads the Rockets in kills (128) and is 10th in the MAC in kills per game (3.66).
CAREER DAYS FOR PAIR OF HUSKIES:
Last Fridays five-game win at Akron was a career-day for a pair of Northern Illinois Huskies. Sophomore Tenisha Wilkins had a career-high 35 kills, while junior defensive specialist Jen Scarpino added a career-best 31 digs. Both student-athletes were honored as MAC Players of the Week for offense and defense, respectively.