MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois volleyball team continues its home stand this weekend when it plays host to South Dakota on Friday (Sept. 14) and Kansas City Saturday (Sept. 15). The two matches will also mark the beginning of the Leathernecks' Summit League schedule.
LAST TIME OUT: Western defeated the Chicago State Cougars in their home opener Tuesday (Sept. 11), 3-0...The Leathernecks defeated the Cougars by scores of 25-12, 25-14 and 25-12...Western's two 25-12 set victories Tuesday were the team's largest margins of victory to date in 2012. The 3-0 win also marked the third of its kind this year.
"We've been looking forward to being here (at home), its hard being on the road for three weekends," said head coach April Hall. "I think Sam (Fournier) did a really nice job of maintaining a consistent level throughout the entire match, Mallory (Gibson) did a nice job blocking, Sarah (Fetter) did a nice job running the offense, spreading it out, making sure everyone is where they need to be. We have a tough conference and these two wins are nice to have under our belt, but it's what we do in practice tomorrow and Thursday that's going to give us that momentum going into Friday and Saturday."
Who: South Dakota (6-5) at Western Illinois (5-5)
When: Friday, Sept. 14 • 7 p.m. CT
Location: Macomb, Ill. • Western Hall (5,139)
Series History: South Dakota leads 2-0
Last Meeting: Oct. 28, 2011 (WIU 2, USD 3)
Who: Kansas City (7-5) at Western Illinois (5-5)
When: Saturday, Sept. 15 • 7 p.m. CT
Location: Macomb, Ill. • Western Hall (5,139)
Series History: Western leads 25-13
Last Meeting: Oct. 29, 2011 (WIU 2, KC 3)
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A LOOK AT THE COYOTES: South Dakota opens Summit League play with an overall record of 6-5 under the guidance of Matt Houk who is the midst of his 5th season at USD...The Coyotes play at IUPUI Saturday after playing Western on Friday...USD is led by Amber Aschoff (136) and Kendall Kritenbrink (108) in kills this year...Troi Kroll leads the team in assists with 402...Lindsey Sathre owns a team-best 13 service aces...Riley Haug leads the Coyotes in digs this season with 115, while Sathre has 35 total blocks this season.
A LOOK AT THE KANGAROOS: Kansas City enters this weekend's Summit League action with a 7-5 overall record under the guidance of second-year coach Christi Posey...The Kangaroos play at IUPUI on Friday before heading to Macomb...KC is led by Emily Lucas (98) and Skyler Muff (82) in kills this season...Ella Meier leads the team in assists with 172...Taryn Miller owns a team-best 19 service aces...Miller also leads KC in digs with 189, while Sydney Crimmins leads the team in blocks with 28.
AT THE HELM: April Hall was named head volleyball coach on February 20, 2012, becoming the ninth head coach in the Western Illinois volleyball program's history. Hall spent last year as an assistant coach at Northern Kentucky University while the Norse were in the transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. NKU went 26-6 last year and advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.
JUST KEEP DIGGING: Senior defensive specialist Bridget Murphy finished last season with 580 digs, the fourth best single-season total in Western's program history, and 5.98 digs per set, which is the second best single-season performance in Western's record books...She has 1,435 career digs, ranking fourth in program history (Elise Crnjak ranks third with 1,548, Amy Sauerwein ranks second with 1,656 and Jennifer Alexander ranks first with 2,343)...Murphy sits 113 digs away from moving into third in program history.
DISHING OUT ASSISTS: Junior setter Sarah Fetter racked up a game-high 50 assists in the five sets in the team's first match of 2012 versus Montana State (August 25), tying her career high from 2011...She had 50 assists at South Dakota (Oct. 2) last season...Fetter owns 1,367 career assists in only her second season at Western which ranks 10th in program history...She is 121 assists away from moving into ninth on the all-time list.
INVITATIONAL MVP: Sophomore Samantha Fournier was tabbed the Drury Inn Jessica Barkman Memorial Classic's 'Most Valuable Player' after helping guide the Leathernecks to a tournament title...She finished the invite with a tournament-best 51 kills, putting down a career-high 21 kills in two of Western's matches...Fournier finished with a .280 hitting percentage, and tallied 37 digs, six blocks, three assists and three service aces.
SCHOLAR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: After being tabbed 'Tournament MVP', Fournier also earned the weekly Western Illinois 'Scholar Athlete of the Week' award (Sept. 3)...The Coal Valley, Ill. native holds a cumulative grade point average of 3.367 and is undecided on a major.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Senior middle blocker Katie Hosteng is the only Leatherneck to have been named to all three all-tournament teams this season, first earning the honors in the SIU-Edwardsville Cougar Classic after finishing the invite with 31 kills (2.58 per set) and a .297 hitting percentage...She was then named to the all-tournament team after the Drury Inn Jessica Barkman Memorial Classic where she tallied 41 kills and a team-best .286 hitting percentage...Lastly, Hosteng earned all-tournament honors after putting down 33 kills (3.30 per set) with a .365 hitting percentage, 10 blocks, nine digs and three service aces.
THE SCHEDULE: Western’s 2012 schedule breakdown: three preseason invitationals, 16 Summit League matches, 11 non-conference contests, and nine total matches at home with the first three home matches being played inside Western Hall, and the other six at Brophy Hall.
CLASS BREAKDOWN: The Leathernecks return nine members from last year's team led by seniors Bridget Murphy and Katie Hosteng...They have two juniors that returned to the squad in Sarah Fetter and Heather Smith...A sophomore class of five return to Western in Ann Miller, Molly Murphy, Bailey Kaloupek, Mallory Gibson and Samantha Fournier...The Leathernecks enter the 2012 season with three newcomers, all freshmen, in twin sisters Leighanne Novak and Kaitlynn Novak, and Jordan Jackson.
WHAT'S NEXT?: The Leathernecks hit the road to face the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in Rochester, Mich. Monday (Sept. 17) for their first Summit League match away from Macomb.