MACOMB, Ill. - The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks travel to Nebraska this weekend to face the Mavericks of Omaha on Saturday (Oct. 27) at 5 p.m. The Leathernecks enter the match 9-14 overall and 3-9 in league action, while the Mavericks sit 6-16 overall and are 1-9 in conference play.
LAST TIME OUT: Western Illinois played host to both South Dakota State and North Dakota State last weekend, falling to each in four sets...Samantha Fournier led the way for Wester with 44 kills (5.50 per set), Sarah Fetter posted a team-high 103 assists (12.8 per set) on the weekend, Bridget Murphy recorded 46 digs (5.75), a team-best, and Mallory Gibson had the most blocks on the team over the weekend with 17 (2.12 per set).
Fournier's 28-kill performance against SDSU (Oct. 19) is tied for the sixth most recorded by a Leatherneck in a match, and is tied for the most-ever put down by a Western player in a four-set match. It's also the most by a Leatherneck since Betsy Wujek killed 32 attacks in 1996.
Fetter bested her career-high in assists that same Friday night (Oct. 19), dishing out 64. Her previous career-best came at home against Kansas City earlier this season (Sept. 15) when she finished with 56.
Who: Western Illinois (9-14, 3-9) at Omaha (6-16, 1-9)
Where: Omaha, Neb. • Sapp Fieldhouse (2,500)
When: 5 p.m. CT
Series History: Omaha leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Sept. 28, 2012, Omaha defeats Western, 3-2
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A LOOK AT THE MAVERICKS: Before playing Western on Saturday, Omaha plays host to the IUPUI Jaguars Friday evening (Oct. 26)...In the midst of its first season in The Summit League, Omaha owns a 6-16 overall record, and 1-9 mark 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 435-283 record at UNO...Omaha has lost six straight with their last win coming against the Leathernecks on Sept. 28th in Macomb...Natalie Ebke leads the Mavericks in kills with 225 (2.74 per set)...Bailey Baxter leads Omaha in assists with 522 (6.37 per set)...Amy Roberts leads UNO in digs with 335 (4.14 per set)...Valerie Hecht leads the Mavericks in blocks with 76 (0.93 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 10/25/2012):
The Leathernecks rank in the top-five of three Summit League team
categories: fourth in kills per set (12.89) and assists per set (12.32), fifth in hitting percentage (.204)...Several Leathernecks rank in the top-10 of
several individual categories: Samantha FournierKatie HostengSarah FetterBridget Murphy
IN THE NATION (As of 10/25/2012):
Where the Leathernecks rank nationally as a team: 101st in assists per
set (12.32)...132nd in kills per set
(12.89)...136th in digs per set (15.26)...153rd in hitting percentage (.204)...220th in winning
percentage (.391)...250th in blocks per set (1.72)...271st in aces per
set (1.0)...Where Leathernecks rank individually in the nation: Sarah Fetter ranks 54th in assists per set (10.73)...Bridget MurphySamantha FournierKatie Hosteng ranks 144th in hitting percentage (.317)...Ann Miller ranks 224th in kills per set (3.17).
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 259 this season, the most she has ever tallied in a single-season, and 900 career kills...Her 900 career kills ranks 10th all-time in program history.
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 428 digs this season (4.92 per set), and 1,678 over her four-year career...He 1,678 career digs ranks second in program history behind only Jennifer Alexander who finished her career at Western with 2,343...Murphy sits 24 digs away from moving into second in program history.
DISHING OUT ASSISTS: Junior setter Sarah Fetter set a new career-high in assists against South Dakota State at home this season (Oct. 19), dishing out 64 in the team's 3-1 loss...Throughout her career, she has had five total 50-plus assist matches...Besides her 64-assists evening against SDSU, Fetter has tallied 50 or more assists twice in 2012...First in Western's season-opener versus Montana on August 25th (50 assists), and the other coming in the Leathernecks' 3-2 home loss to Omaha this season on September 28th (56 assists)...Fetter owns 1,941 career assists in only her second season at Western, which ranks seventh in program history...She is 190 assists behind Amy Nesemeier (2,131 career assists) who sits sixth on the all-time list.
Western Illinois has finished five matches this season with 10-plus
blocks, first on September 14th against South Dakota (12 blocks), the
second came on September 17th at Oakland (13 blocks), the third came when
the Leathernecks had 11 at Fort Wayne, the fourth versus SDSU at home (12), and the most recent against NDSU in Macomb (10)...The 13 blocks against Oakland
was the most since September 30th of last year when they had 15 at Kansas City.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Defensive Specialist Bridget Murphy was named The Summit League's 'Defensive Player of the Week' for her performance September 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.
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?: Western continues its road swing at IUPUI next Saturday, November 3rd.