Akron -- Akron is set to host its second volleyball tournament in as many weekends when it welcomes SIU Edwardsville, Binghamton and Youngstown State to James A. Rhodes Arena for the Zips Invitational. On Friday, Sept. 7, UA will look to defend its home court in a doubleheader against SIUE (1 p.m. ET) and Binghamton (7 p.m. ET). The tournament will wrap up Saturday when Akron clashes with familiar in-state foe YSU at 2 p.m. After two full weekends of preseason tournament play, the Akron volleyball team is first in the Mid-American Conference standings in team hitting percentage at .233. The Zips' league-leading numbers are due in large part to redshirt senior Tina Dimitrijevs, who also holds a comfortable lead amongst conference opponents in hitting percentage as an individual at .369. Paiton Twitty also made an appearance in the top-five, sitting fourth in the conference overall with a .305 average. As a team, Akron holds the fourth spot in kills per set with 13.10.
Ball State -- The Ball State women's volleyball team returns to action Friday, when it opens play in the Northern Colorado Classic with a 6:30 p.m. (ET) / 4:30 p.m. (MT) first serve versus Creighton ... The Cardinals continue the tournament Saturday with matches versus tournament host Northern Colorado at 2 p.m. (ET) / Noon (MT) and Tulsa at 7 p.m. (ET) / 5 p.m. (MT)... Ball State enters the Northern Colorado Classic with a 4-3 record after posting a 2-2 mark last week ... The Cardinals dropped a Tuesday match at IPFW (1-3), before scoring wins over Georgia State (3-0) and IUPUI (3-0), while losing to North Texas (0-3) at the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational ... Kara Bates leads the Ball State attack with a 3.50 kills-per-set average, while Kylee Baker is second at 2.58 ... Jacqui Seidel has set the Ball State offense to a .217 hitting percentage this season, having collecting assist/dig double-doubles in five of BSU's seven matches ... Catie Fredrich paces the BSU backcourt with a 5.00 digs-per-set average ... As a team, Ball State is limiting its opponents to a .173 hitting mark.
Bowling Green -- Bowling Green’s tough pre-conference slate continues this weekend as the Falcons head West to play in the BYU Nike Invitational Friday and Saturday. BGSU will face Portland State Friday, before playing No. 21 BYU and Utah Saturday. Portland State is 3-3 but the Vikings have a three-set sweep over MAC school Northern Illinois on their record. BYU is 6-0, climbed into the AVCA Top 25, and had two wins this weekend over teams ranked in the top 25. Utah enters with a strong 6-2 mark on the season. In her first two seasons at Bowling Green, Kaitlyn Skinner posted just seven career blocks. But in just the first five matches of 2012, the junior middle has 22 blocks, averaging a team-best 1.22 per set. Skinner has recorded at least two blocks in all five matches this year and has twice posted at least six blocks. She had a career-best seven against Northwestern during the opening weekend of the season. Bowling Green ranks first in the MAC in service aces, averaging 1.50 per set. The Falcons have been led in the early going by Paige Penrod, who is second in the league with 0.56 per set. BGSU has at least three aces in every match this year, with a season-high seven against Northwestern.
Buffalo -- The Bulls head to the Cleveland State Invitational this weekend with a 3-3 record. Freshman Megan Lipski is coming off her best weekend in a UB uniform as she was named to the All-Tournament team at last week's Shamrock Invitational. Through two weekends of play, freshman Akeila Lain leads all Mid-American Conference players with 1.74 blocks per set, while junior setter Dani Reinert has a league-high 13 service aces.
Central Michigan -- Coming off an impressive 3-1 victory in its home opener Tuesday night versus Oakland, Central Michigan will play its third and final tournament of the season this weekend at the Courtyard Midtown Classic in Raleigh, N.C. CMU has a combined record of 3-1 versus its three opponents this weekend, having defeated both Campbell and Western Carolina in its only meetings versus the two squads and splitting its two matchups with host N.C. State. The Central Michigan defense has proved vital in each of the Chippewas' three tournament victories early in the season. CMU has held its opponents to a miniscule .074 hitting percentage in its three victories, while allowing its opponents to .246 in its three losses. Sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre has picked up right where she left off last season when she was named a Mid-American Conference All-Freshmen Team selection, leading the Chippewas in kills through the first seven matches of the season. McIntyre enters the weekend with 78 kills and is averaging 3.12 kills per set.
Eastern Michigan -- The Eastern Michign University volleyball team travels to Denton, Texas for the 2012 Mean Green Invitational, hosted by the University of North Texas. Eastern opens up the tournament with a match against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Friday, Sept. 7 at 2:30 p.m. (CST) and another Friday evening match against North Texas at 7:30 p.m. (CST). The Eagles conclude this weekend's action with a double-header Saturday, Sept. 8. EMU will face Hofstra at 9 a.m. (CST) and finish out with Oral Roberst at 1 p.m. (CST). Senior outside hitter Rachel Iaquaniello will soon be recognized as one of the most storied players in Eastern Michigan volleyball history during the 2012 campaign. The two-time first team All-MAC selection is looking to become just the second three-time first-team nominee in Eastern's history. The only other EMU volleyballer to wear that crown is Roxanne Munch, who did so from 1987-1989. Iaquaniello earned her first-team honors in both the 2010 and 2011 campaigns. Since donning the Green and White for Eastern, the Plymouth, Mich. native has recorded 1,525 kills, which ranks second all-time in EMU laurels. Iaquaniello averaged 465 kills per season in her first three and looks to break Munch's record of 1,537 kills which was set 23 years ago in 1989. Iaquaniello also sits second all-time in the career record book with 4,285 attack attempts. She averaged 1,363 attacks in her first three seasons and needs 27 to tie Jennifer Nighswander, who had 4,456 in her career at Eastern.
Kent State -- The Kent State volleyball team plays its first home contests of the 2012 season this weekend (Sep. 7-8) when it hosts the fifth annual Kent State Mizuno Classic at the M.A.C. Center. The Golden Flashes welcome Liberty, St. Francis (Pa.), and Marshall for a six-match showcase of NCAA volleyball. First-year head coach Don Gromala debuts in front of the home crowd after guiding the Golden Flashes to a 2-4 start. Kent State has gone 1-2 during both of their weekend trips to the Hyatt Place Fort Wayne/IPFW Invitational in Fort Wayne, Ind. and The Courtyard Midtown Classic in Raleigh, N.C. The Golden Flashes take on Liberty Friday at 5 p.m. and return Saturday to battle St. Francis (Pa.) at 10:30 a.m. and Marshall at 5 p.m. The Flashes are 7-5 all-time at the event. This will be the first meeting all-time with Liberty while the Golden Flashes hold a 1-0 advantage over St. Francis (Pa.) and trails the all-time series with Marshall with a 5-7 record. Sophomore Tinuke Aderemi-Ibitola (Ellicott City, Md.) and freshman outside hitter Kelly Hutchison (Columbus, Ohio) recorded new career-high kill totals against the Bulls with 21 and 19, respectively. Aderemi-Ibitola garnered all-tournament honors for the weekend, totaling 34 kills and 29 digs in three matches. She ranks second on the squad in kills per set (3.00) and is tied for second in digs per set (2.24) on the season. Hutchison ranks fifth in the Mid-American Conference in kills (3.52/set) and has been the Flashes' leader in five of six matches this season.
Miami -- The RedHawk volleyball team looks to get back on the winning track this weekend when it hosts its annual Miami Best Western/Sycamore Inn Invitational Tournament. On Friday, Miami will take on Indiana State at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the RedHawks face Chicago State at 10 a.m. and Temple at 7:30 p.m. The three other teams at the tournament will all face each other as well for a total of six matches in two days. All Miami games will be broadcast live on All-Access. Only a couple weeks after senior Lisa Treadway reached the 1,000-dig mark for her career, junior Madison Hardy is only 68 digs away from reaching the mark herself. She would become only the third libero since the position was created in 1998 to reach that mark for Miami. Also on the milestone front, after recording 76 assists over her last four games, senior Amy Kendall is only 28 away from becoming the 10th setter to have 2,000 career assists for the Red and White.
Northern Illinois -- The Northern Illinois volleyball team resumes play this weekend in Springfield, Mo., at the Missouri State Invitational. NIU (3-5) will face Nebraska-Omaha (4-3) at 10 AM CT and New Orleans (2-2) at 5 PM Friday. The Huskies will close the event against Connecticut (4-3) at 2:30 PM and Missouri State (3-4) at 7:30 PM Saturday. With a 2.44 kills per set average, .267 hitting percentage, five blocks, and 25.0 points for the three-match Classic in Stockton, Calif., last weekend, Angelos earned an all-tournament selection. With a 3-2 win over North Dakota State -- a 2011 NCAA Tournament team - on Aug. 24, NIU improved to 10-1 in season and home openers under Gooden. The Huskies won last year's opener at the NIU Invitational as well, taking down IUPUI in four sets on Aug. 26, 2011.
Ohio -- Ohio Volleyball plays its second home tournament of the season this weekend when it hosts Niagara, Belmont and Montana State this weekend. The Green & White will play the Purple Eagles and Bruins on Friday before taking on former assistant coach Kyle Wiendel and his new batch of Bobcats on Saturday. Ohio faces all three teams for the first time this weekend. Ohio is 1-0 against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents, Niagara's league, 20-15 against Ohio Valley Conference foes, Belmont's league and 2-1 against Big Sky teams, Montana State's league. Serena Warner and Kelly Lamberti were named the MAC Volleyball East Division Defensive and Offensive Players of the Week by the league offices today. Warner was named to the Baymont Invitational all-tournament team and Lamberti leads the Bobcats in kills and points. This is the first MAC Weekly Award for Warner after the sophomore recorded 17 kills, hit .400 and led the squad with 15 blocks this past weekend. She notched a match-high six blocks against both the nationally-ranked Ducks and Wildcats. She also racked up eight kills while hitting over .700 in the win against WCU. Lamberti led Ohio in kills this weekend against two nationally-ranked foes. She notched a double-double with a match-best 18 kills and 11 digs against the Wildcats on Friday and then led the Bobcats with 19 kills while hitting .341 against the Ducks. She also notched seven kills, seven digs and five blocks in the win over WCU. This is her second MAC Weekly Award.
Toledo -- Toledo makes its Savage Arena debut for the 2012 campaign when it hosts the 11th-annual Rocket Classic this weekend. UT will take on Memphis on Friday, Sept. 7 before battling Illinois State and Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Rockets (2-4) will look to take advantage of some home cooking after spending their first two weekends on the road. Toledo has faced a strenuous schedule that has included a pair of Top 25 opponents (No. 20 Oregon and No. 24 Ohio State). UT's two victories have both come in five-set matches against Eastern Illinois and Houston. In last weekend's Golden Grizzlies Invitational, Toledo may have discovered the secret to blocking success by averaging 2.7 bps in its last two matches to raise its season mark to 1.9. Sophomore MB Brooke Frazer led the way by averaging 1.4 rejections, including eight vs. Iowa and seven vs. EIU. Junior MB Dakota Harkins and junior OH Lauren Rafdal earned all-tournament team honors for the Rockets. Harkins received all-tourney honors for a second-straight week after leading Toledo with a .226 attack percentage and averaging 2.33 kills and 0.75 blocks per set. Rafdal tallied a team-high 3.00 kills per set while ranking second on the team with a .193 ATK%.
Western Michigan -- The Broncos will play seven of their first 12 matches against teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament; nine of their 14 non-conference matches are against foes that went to the Big Dance in 2011. Lena Oliver was named the MVP of the 2012 Panther Invitational, while teammates Jessica Brown and Ali Gossen were named to the All-Tournament team. Lena Oliver won her second straight MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honor this week, while Jessica Brown was named the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week. Jessica Brown moved into 12th place on the career kills list at WMU last week (1,214), passing Allyson Doyle (1,188) The Broncos lead all MAC schools in kills, assists, and digs per set in 2012. Freshman middle blocker Stephenee Yancy is averaging 1.00 blocks/set in just five matches of play, including a six-block
performance against Milwaukee in which she played just three sets. Freshman Caroline Rose has recorded no fewer than seven digs in each of the first six matches of hte season, and is averaging 2.67 digs per set. Gillian Asque ranks second on the team with a 2.95 kills per set average, and is hitting a career-best .265. Jessica Brown is the only player in the MAC to rank in the top-seven in both kills and hitting percentage.