MACOMB, Ill. - Leatherneck volleyball returns home to face the Omaha Mavericks on Saturday (Oct. 26) inside Western Hall. The Breast Cancer Awareness Match is set to take place at 3 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: Western traveled west last weekend to square off against conference leaders South Dakota and Denver. The Coyotes swept the Leathernecks last Friday (Oct. 18) in Vermillion. Ann Miller led the Leathernecks with 12 kills in the match, while Sarah Fetter posted 26 assists. On Sunday (Oct. 20) Western battled the Pioneers in Denver. DU came away with the 3-0 victory in the match. Heather Smith led the way with seven kills for the Purple & Gold. Western remains in the ‘Top 5’ in the league standings following the weekend with a 3-4 conference record. South Dakota remains a perfect 7-0 in league play, while Denver is just behind at 6-1.
SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS: Omaha enters Saturday’s match with a 6-16 overall record and 1-6 mark in league play. The Mavericks are led by Kelley Wollak who has 189 kills this season and 205 digs. Megan Schmale has 148 kills on the year, while Michaela Schimmer has 148. Schimmer also is second on the team with 279 assists. Bailey Baxter leads the Mavericks with 379 this season. Kimberly Bailey has a team-best 270 digs through 22 matches this season. The head coach of the Mavericks is Rose Shires who is in her 24th season at the helm.
EARLIER THIS SEASON: The Leathernecks and Mavericks met earlier this season in Omaha, with the Leathernecks coming away with a 3-0 sweep. Western won the match with scores of 25-16, 25-9, 25-12 for its first conference win of the season. Samantha Fournier led the Leathernecks with 15 kills in the match, while Heather Smith notched 13 kills at a .750 hitting percentage. Sarah Fetter assisted on 36 kills to lead Western in the victory. Molly Murphy led the way defesively with a team-high 14 digs. Fournier was named The Summit League’s ‘Offensive Player of the Week’ following the match for her performace.
SERIES HISTORY: Western leads the overall series, 2-1. The teams split last season, which was Omaha’s first season in the league.
SWEET HOME MACOMB: For the first time in the Division 1 era, Leatherneck volleyball has swept its first three matches of the season at home. Western defeated Chicago State on September 10 in the teams first home match of the year. A month later the Leathernecks took down both South Dakota State and North Dakota State in the same weekend, marking the first time that the Leathernecks defeated both Dakota’s in the same season. Including this weekend, Western has five home matches remaining, all of which will take place inside Western Hall.
IN THE SUMMIT LEAGUE (Last Updated 10/24): Samantha Fournier ranks third in the league in kills/set (3.75) and fifth in kills (281). Ann Miller ranks fourth in the league in kills (282) and fifth in kills/set (3.48). Molly Murphy leads the conference in service aces/set with a 0.40 average, while Kaitlynn Novak ranks fifth with a 0.36 average. Sarah Fetter ranks fourth in the conference in both assists (817) and assists/set (10.09).
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Molly Murphy was named The Summit League’s ‘Defensive Player of the Week’ on Oct. 14 for her performances last weekend. The junior recorded 43 total digs in the matches against SDSU and NDSU, including 17 digs in the opening set against SDSU. The honor is the first for Murphy, who ranks third in the league in digs/set with a 3.87 average. The Chicago native also leads the league in service aces per set with a 0.46 average. Samantha Fournier was named The Summit League’s ‘Offensive Player of the Week’ following her performance in Western’s win over Omaha on Sept. 28. The junior notched 15 kills (5.0/set) in the match with a career-high .650 hitting percentage. She also posted a career-high four service aces for the Leathernecks. The Coal City, Ill. native becomes the first Leatherneck volleyball player to receive the honor since Patty Melinauskas in Oct. 2006.
CAREER LIST: Setter Sarah Fetter has 2,934 career assists at Western, which ranks fifth in program history. Fetter is seven assists away from fourth on the all-time list. Tracy Benson recorded 2,940 during her time on the court at Western (1983-87).
CAREER-BESTS: Mallory Gibson posted a new career-high on August 30th versus Bradley when she stuffed 10 total blocks. During the Leathernecks’ September 5th match at Northern Illinois, Bailey Kaloupek bettered her career-high in digs with 29. Sarah Fetter recorded a career-best 65 assists in September 14’s loss to Drake, while Ann Miller also bettered her career-high in kills that game, finishing with 27. Fetter also recorded a new career high versus Oakland when she notched 23 digs. Samantha Fournier recorded a career-high .650 hitting percentage at Omaha and a career-best four service aces.
SCHOLAR-ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: Molly Murphy was named Papa John’s Scholar-Athlete of the Week on October 14 for her performance on the court and in the classroom. The junior notched 43 total digs in the Leathernecks back-to-back wins over SDSU and NDSU last weekend. She was also named The Summit League’s ‘Defensive Player of the Week’ following the weekend. Murphy owns a 3.135 GPA and is majoring in RPTA. Ann Miller was named Papa John’s Scholar-Athlete of the Week on September 3rd of this year marking the second time in her career she has received the honor. In the classroom, Miller is a two-time Summit League Fall Academic All-League Distinguished Scholar. The Bettendorf, Iowa native owns a 3.909 GPA and is majoring in Supply Chain Management.
THE SCHEDULE: Western’s 2013 schedule features seven more matches in the regular season including this weekend. Five of those matches will be at home while two will be on the road. All nine matches will be against conference members as the Purple & Gold look to return to the conference tournament for the first time since 2007
THE COACHING STAFF: Head coach April Hall enters her second season at Western and has hired a pair of new coaches. Laura DeBruler, who concluded her collegiate volleyball career at Illinois in 2010 is the Leathernecks’ full-time assistant, while Bridget Murphy, who completed a decorated career at Western Illinois as a defensive specialist last fall is the team’s graduate assistant.