MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois Fighting Leatherneck volleyball team (7-8, 2-3) returns to home after playing its last three matches away from Macomb. The Leathernecks play host to the Omaha Mavericks Friday (Sept. 28) at 7 p.m. inside Brophy Hall.
LAST TIME OUT: Last week was a historic one for first-year head coach April Hall and the Western Illinois volleyball program as the team defeated reigning Summit League champions, North Dakota State, for the first time ever in Fargo. The Leathernecks also earned a win at Oakland earlier in the week (Monday, Sept. 17), something the team had not done since Nov. 10, 2007. Western wrapped up the week with a loss at South Dakota State.
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A LOOK AT THE MAVERICKS: In the midst of its first season in The Summit League, Omaha owns a 5-10 overall and 0-3 in Summit League play...The Mavericks are coached by Rose Shires (UTEP '85) who is in her 23rd year at the helm of the volleyball program, and owns a 434-277 record at UNO...Omaha most recently dropped a match Tuesday (Sept. 25) to Kansas City, 3-2...This marks the first-ever meeting between the two teams...Natalie Ebke leads the Mavericks in kills with 146 (2.70 per set)...Bailey Baxter leads Omaha in assists with 386 (7.15 per set)...Amy Roberts leads UNO in digs with 210 (3.96 per set)...Valerie Hecht leads the Mavericks in blocks with 53 (0.98 per set).
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.
IN THE SUMMIT LEAGUE (As of 9/26/12):
The Leathernecks rank in the top five of several Summit League team
categories: fourth in assists per set
(11.98) and service aces (67), fifth in assists (731), service aces per set (1.10) and digs (941)...Several Leathernecks ranks in the top-10 of
several individual categories: Samantha Fournier ranks third in kills (216) and points (246), fourth in kills per set (3.54) and points per set (4.0)...Katie Hosteng
ranks sixth in services aces (15), seventh in points (213), eighth in hitting percentage (.305), blocks (47), points (182) and
points per set (3.5)...Sarah Fetter ranks second in assists per set (10.30) and third in assists (628)...Bridget Murphy ranks third in digs (311) and digs per set (5.1).
IN THE NATION (As of 9/24/12): Where the Leathernecks rank nationally as a team: 105th in digs per set (15.43)...133rd in assists per set (11.98)...154th in kills per set (12.57)...163rd in hitting percentage (.198)...172nd in winning percentage (.467)...237th in aces per set (1.1)...286th in blocks per set (1.52)...Where Leathernecks rank individually in the nation: Bridget MurphySarah Fetter ranks 77th in assists per set (10.3)...Samantha Fournier ranks 126th in kills per set (3.54)...129th in points per set (4.03) and Katie Hosteng ranks 217th in hitting percentage (.305).
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Defensive Specialist Bridget Murphy has been named The Summit League's 'Defensive Player of the Week' for her performance last week (Sept. 17-23). Fort Wayne's Emily Spencer earned the league's 'Offensive Player of the Week'...The senior captain finished the week with 82 digs, averaging 6.07 digs per set, while dishing out 16 assists and aces five serves...Murphy collects her third career Defensive Player of the Week honor and first of the season. It also marks the first of any Leatherneck volleyball player this season.
TOP 10?: Senior Katie Hosteng has been consistent for the Leathernecks throughout her career, averaging 214 kills per season over her first three years at Western...She has 170 this season, and 811 career kills...She needs only 82 kills to conclude her Leatherneck career on the top 10 Leatherneck career kills list.
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 311 digs this season, and 1,561 over her four-year career, ranking third in program history (Amy Sauerwein ranks second with 1,656 and Jennifer Alexander ranks first with 2,343)...Murphy sits 95 digs away from moving into second in program history.
DISHING OUT ASSISTS: Junior setter Sarah Fetter set a new career-high in assists against Kansas City at home this season (Sept. 15), dishing out 56 in the team's 3-2 loss...Earlier in the year she racked up a game-high 50 assists in five sets against Montana State (August 25), which tied her then career high...She also had 50 assists at South Dakota (Oct. 2) last season...Fetter owns 1,603 career assists in only her second season at Western, which ranks ninth in program history...She is 92 assists away from moving into eighth on the all-time list.
BLOCK PARTY: Western Illinois has finished two matches this season with 10-plus blocks, first on September 14th against South Dakota (12 blocks) and the second coming on September 17th at Oakland (13 blocks)...The 13 blocks was the most since September 30th of last year when they had 15 at Kansas City...Against Oakland, Katie Hosteng and Samantha Fournier led Western in protecting the net defensively, each finishing with a career-high in total blocks...Hosteng finished with nine, while Fournier had seven.
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.
ANOTHER SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Ann Miller became the second Leatherneck volleyball player of 2012 to earn the Papa John's Scholar-Athlete of the Week award for her accomplishments on the court and in the classroom (Sept. 24)...The Bettendorf, Iowa native has 118 kills (3.28 per set) on the year and owns a 3.964 grade point average while majoring in University Advising.
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 travel to St. Louis, Mo. Tuesday (Oct. 2) to take on the Billikens of Saint Louis at 7 p.m.