MAC Volleyball Notebook -- Week Nine

Updated 10/23/2000
WMUS WIN STREAK UP TO EIGHT:
While Ball State's nine-match win streak came to an end at Northern Illinois last Friday, Western Michigan's win streak improved to eight following victories over Toledo and Akron. The Broncos are a perfect 6-0 in the month of October this year and are 17-0 during that month over the past two seasons.
The Broncos, who last lost to the Cardinals on Sept. 23, moved into a tie for first place with Ball State with 9-1 marks in the West Division. WMU hosts Buffalo on Friday, then travels to face the Huskies on Saturday.

SALLEE SETS THE MAC ASSIST MARK:
Ball State senior setter Emily Sallee became the MAC's career all-time assists leader in Friday's match at Northern Illinois. Sallee moved past former Miami setter Jessica Stouts top mark of 5,794 helpers with 74 helpers versus the Huskies, bringing her mark to 5,827 which is also 20th in NCAA Division I history. Sallee is also one dig shy of becoming only the second player in league history to register 5,000-plus assists and 1,000-plus digs, joining former Akron setter Kim Schaper (5,619/1,186).

MARSHALL SNAPS LOSING STREAK:
The Marshall Thundering Herd ended a 15-match losing streak on Sunday with a four-game win over Buffalo. Tracey King and Jodi Fick paced the Herd with 17 kills each, while Fick added 17 digs. Nora Keithly had a match-high 21 digs for Marshall, while Sara Boyles added 14 kills and hit .355. Earlier in the week, Fick had 36 digs in a five-game loss to West Virginia, while Keithly had 27 and Ashley Barnard added 22.

STREAK STOPPED FOR CMUS MITCHELL:
Central Michigan had a tough week without senior Jennifer Mitchell, who was injured in its match with Eastern Michigan on Wednesday. Mitchell went down with a sprained ankle in game two against EMU and then CMU proceeded to lose game three, 15-0. Central came back to win the match in five. Without its senior leader on the weekend, the Chippewas dropped matches to Akron and Toledo, ending a four-match win streak. That wasn't the only streak that ended though. Mitchell had started every match of her career and had played in every game until the injury, a string that included 101 straight matches.

MCDIVITT IS DIGGIN IT FOR AKRON:
Since moving back to her outside hitter position four matches ago, Akron senior Julie McDivitt has paced the team in digs in each of those contests. McDivitt, who had 24 digs in a three-game match with Central Michigan last Friday, is averaging 6.07 digs per game since receiving stitches to her head on Oct. 6 at Ohio.

ROOKIES LEADING THE CHARGE:
A pair of freshmen have been helping out on defense as of late for Eastern Michigan. Kristie Price has tallied 10 games this season, hitting above .300 for the game, including her last three in a row. She leads the team in hitting percentage (.269), block assists (54) and total blocks (69). She is second to teammate Sara Schaub in kills with 160. Jennifer Nighswander is second in on the team in total attacks (662), digs (290) and third in kills (158).

MAC COACHING MILESTONES:
Several MAC head coaches are nearing some coaching milestones heading into action this week, while Bowling Green's head coach Denise Van De Walle achieved a mark last Wednesday. Van De Walle became the third MAC coach to record 150 league victories when the Falcons defeated Ohio in four games, joining Miami's Carolyn Condit (174) and Ball States Randy Litchfield (151). Friday's match with Kent State will be Van De Walles 550th career match as a collegiate head coach. Condit, meanwhile, is one MAC victory from 175 for her career, while Litchfield is three wins from 250. In addition, Marshall's Steffi Legall registered her 50th career win in a victory over Buffalo on Sunday and Akron's Mike Sweitzer notched his 75th conference victory against Central Michigan.

CLOSING IN ON CENTURY MARKS:
Kent State senior outside hitter Carrie McEnery recorded her 10th kill-dig double-double of the season with 10 kills and 14 digs against Northern Illinois last Saturday. For her career, McEnery has 36 double-doubles including 17 as a junior in 1999. McEnery is also on pace to become just the third Golden Flash ever with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs mark. McEnery currently has 925 kills and 906 digs which ranks eighth and seventh, respectively, all-time at Kent State.

GAMBY GOING STRONG FOR BGSU:
Kristin Gamby continues to post impressive offensive numbers for Bowling Green. The redshirt sophomore led BGSU in hitting (.426) and kills (4.14 per game) for the second-straight week. She hit .345 and tied for team honors with 14 kills in the win over Ohio, then hit a match-best .520 with 15 kills (tying for match honors) in a sweep of EMU. Gamby, who entered the Oct. 13 Buffalo match with a career total of 20 kills, has posted 70 kills over the last four contests. During that four-match span, she hit .467 with 5.00 kills per game. Gamby is now hitting .388 on the season.

PRESEASON POLL REVISITED:
Below is a comparison of the league's preseason poll, which was released back in August, in relation to where the teams stand with four weeks remaining in the regular season.

East Division - Pick - +/-
Ohio - 6th - +5
Bowling Green - T4th - +2
Akron - 2nd - -1
Miami - 1st- -3
Kent State - 3rd - -2
Marshall - T4th - -2
Buffalo - 7th - even

West Division - Pick - +/- Ball State - 1st- even Western Michigan - 2nd- +1 Northern Illinois - 3rd - even Central Michigan - 6th - +2 Toledo - 5th - even Eastern Michigan - 4th - +1

FRESHMEN DUO TOUGH AT NET:
The freshmen duo of Susan Poll and Jessica Rayburg have been a nice addition to the Miami defense. Last week, Poll and Rayburg led the RedHawks in blocks, averaging 1.33 and 1.00 blocks per game, respectively. The two also lead Miami in conference matches. Rayburg knocks down 1.15 per game while Poll averages 1.00 per game. Overall, Rayburg leads the team with 67 blocks (0.91 per game), and Polls 42 blocks rank third (0.76 per game).

BINEGAR ON FIRE FOR THE BOBCATS:
Sophomore Tracy Binegar has caught fire the last four matches for Ohio. She is hitting .492 during that span with 31 kills and two errors in 59 chances. She posted career highs in kills twice in the last week with 12 at Bowling Green and 13 against Miami. She also totaled 13 blocks and two digs.

BUCKIN THE COMPETITION:
Toledo sophomore Jessica Buck was a big part of the Rockets' four-game win at Central Michigan on Saturday. Buck had a match- and career-high 24 kills and hit .575 versus the Chippewas, while teammate Heidi Neumeister added 20 kills. Defensively, Toledo was paced by Theresa Estes match-high 19 digs, with Lindsay Kretzmann adding 17 digs and four blocks.

MAC PLACES TWO IN REGION RANKINGS:
In the second NCAA regional rankings released Oct. 18, three MAC schools were named in the Mideast Region. Ball State was tabbed sixth, while Western Michigan was eighth and Ohio was tenth. The next regional rankings will be announced on Nov. 1.

NCAA Division I Womens Volleyball
Mideast Rankings (Oct . 18)
SchoolOverall
1.Wisconsin1 - 7-2
2.Ohio State - 17-1
3. Minnesota - 18-1
4.Penn State - 16-4
5.Michigan State - 12-5
6.Ball State - 16-3
7.Michigan - 12-6
8.Western Michigan - 12-5
9.Fairfield - 14-5
10.Ohio - 14-6

BRONCOS ON A ROLL OF LATE:
During Western Michigan's eight-match win streak, the team has been averaging 15.6 kills per game and is hitting .254 during that time. In addition, the team is averaging 2.84 blocks per contests and is limiting opponents to a .137 hitting percentage.
Individually, senior Monyka Paul and junior Zakiya Pope have powered the perfect streak. Paul has totaled 110 kills (3.93 kpg.) and hit .289 (110-34-263) during the hot streak. Pope has posted a team-leading .305 (91-31-197) attack rate during the streak. She has also paced the team with 33 blocks (1.18 bpg.).

MOVING UP THE CHARTS:
A pair of Buffalo players are quietly moving up the career charts. Junior Keri Shiels moved into 10th place all-time on the UB career kills list with a 16-kill performance at Marshall. Shiels, who leads the team with 184 kills this season, has 829 career kills and is 24 away from ninth. In addition, Larissa LaCour surpassed the 1,000 assist mark for her career and is eighth all-time with 1,045. The junior setter is seven short from moving into sixth place.

HAMMONS CLIMBING CHARTS:
Junior Megan Hammons added to her career kills total with 27 in Ball States match at Northern Illinois Friday. Hammons became just the fourth Cardinal in school history to record over 1,000 career kills earlier this season. She has 1,171 career kills to rank third all-time at BSU. Stefanie Decker places second on the list with 1,442 kills, while Lindsay Follin owns the BSU record with 1,495 kills.

WIDBOOMS BLOCK PARTY:
Northern Illinois sophomore middle blocker Rena Widboom came into the season with a single-match career high of six blocks. However, this past week Widboom surpassed last seasons high in two of the three Huskie matches. In Tuesday's win over Illinois State Widboom posted what was then a career-high seven blocks. That mark stood all of one game as Saturday Widboom again set a new personal standard by recording eight blocks in a four-game victory over Kent State.

WIN TOTAL NEARING RECORD FOR OHIO:
The Bobcats posted their 16th win of the season on Saturday, matching their fourth-highest total in the 27-year history of the program. Ohio won 21 in 1995, 20 in 1998, 18 in 1976 and 16 in 1996. The nine conference wins equals the second-highest total in school history. The Bobcats won 12 two years ago and nine in 1995 and 1996.

BSUS HOME STREAK CONTINUES:
Ball State increased its home winning streak to 26-straight following wins over Northern Illinois, Kent State and Buffalo two weeks ago. BSU has won all nine home contests this year and ended the 1999 season with 17 straight wins at home. The Cardinals current streak is the second-longest active one in Division I, trailing Colorado States 40 consecutive victories. Ball State hosts Marshall on Friday and is next at home on Nov. 1 versus Miami, the first of three straight home contests to end its regular season home schedule.

BOWMAN BECOMING A SEASONED VET:
Although only a freshman, Northern Illinois setter Jenny Bowman has helped the Huskies to an 18-5 overall record, eight more victories than a year ago. Bowman currently leads the MAC in total assists (1,260) and is second in assists per game (13.85). Bowman has notched nine matches of 60 or more assists, including all three matches last week. She is chasing the NIU record of 1,600 set by Shelby Snyder in 1992.

ROAD WARRIORS:
Playing away from Millett Hall has been favorable for the RedHawks thus far this season. Miami opened up a three-match win streak on the road in Mid-American Conference contests and dropped just its first MAC match on the road to Ohio in four games on Saturday. Miami is now 3-1 on the road in MAC action entering this weeks match at Northern Illinois, which caps a string of five road matches for the Hawks. Following Northern Illinois, Miami has four more road contests to round out the season.

THE FACLONS ON ANOTHER HOT STREAK:
Bowling Green is hitting .321 and averaging 20.57 kills per game during the four-match win streak, the teams second longest this season. During that time, senior JoAnna Papageorgiou is hitting .381 with 4.14 kpg, and junior Natalie Becker is averaging 16.29 assists per game.

MORE NUMBER CRUNCHING FOR THE HERD:
In Marshall's loss versus West Virginia, the Thundering Herd set a school record for digs in a match with 135, bettering the old mark of 122. Marshall also came close to the school record of 23 total team blocks with 22. Nicole Michal led the Herd with 10 blocks, while Kate Schultz had nine and Sara Boyles added eight.