Marquette to Face No. 3 Penn State, FGCU and UCA
Sept. 11, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The competition level continues to escalate for the Marquette University women's volleyball program as the Golden Eagles head to the Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites Airport Volleyball Classic on Sept. 13-14 in Fort Myers, Fla.
Marquette, which fell to then-No. 3 Southern California on Sept. 6, will take on No. 3 Penn State Friday at 1 p.m. Central time at Alico Arena before facing tournament-host Florida Gulf Coast at 6 p.m. CT. MU will then play Central Arkansas at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday.
All three of this weekend's opponents won their respective conferences in 2012, with Penn State and Central Arkansas advancing to last year's NCAA Championship. MU has never faced any of the other three teams competing this weekend.
Live statistics will be available for all three matches courtesy of FGCUAthletics.com. For additional coverage, follow Marquette volleyball on Twitter (@MarquetteVB).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
No. 3 Penn State [3-1 (0-0 B1G) | GoPSUSports.com | @PennStateVBALL]: The Nittany Lions enter Friday's match coming off a 1-1 showing at the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic in Austin, Texas, where they fell to the host Longhorns in five sets before sweeping Florida on Sunday afternoon. Redshirt freshman Paulina Prieto Cerame leads PSU with 3.29 kills per set and is hitting .310 on the year. Setter Micha Hancock leads the Penn State offense with 9.86 assists per set and tops the nation with 1.14 service aces per frame. Head coach Russ Rose is in his 34th season in Happy Valley and has guided the Nittany Lions to five NCAA crowns, the most recent of which was in 2010, and 14 Big Ten titles. Series history: First meeting.
Florida Gulf Coast [1-6 (0-0 A-Sun) | FGCUAthletics.com | @FGCU_VB]: FGCU enters the weekend 1-6 overall after playing a difficult schedule to begin the season, including losses to VCU, Ohio State and Florida State. The Eagles hosted USF on Tuesday evening in their first home match at Alico Arena and lost in four sets to the Bulls. The 2012 Atlantic Sun regular season champion is led by senior Kaitlin Holm's 3.22 kills per set, while redshirt junior Jessica Barnes also averages above three kills at 3.06 per frame. Series history: First meeting.
Central Arkansas [6-1 (0-0 Southland) | UCASports.com | @UCAsports]: The Sugar Bears opened the 2013 campaign with a 3-1 victory over then-No. 20 Kansas on Aug. 30 in Tucson, Ariz., before dropping their lone match of the season to Arizona on Aug. 31. Central Arkansas carries a four-match winning streak into this weekend's play and is led by sophomore outside hitter Heather Schnars who in hitting .312 and averages 3.33 kills per set. UCA is hitting a combined .283 on the year and is paced by senior setter Marissa Collins' 265 assists (12.05 per set). Central Arkansas claimed Southland Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2012 while advancing to its first NCAA tournament before losing to No. 13 Washington, 3-0. Series history: First meeting.
BAILEY AND KOBERSTEIN EARN BIG EAST WEEKLY HONORS: Marquette outside hitter Autumn Bailey was named the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week for the second time in as many weeks, while senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein was named to the league's weekly honor roll on Monday, Sept. 9. Bailey, who as of Monday led the BIG EAST and ranked 16th in all of NCAA Division I with 4.56 kills per set, posted a match-high 20 kills against TCU on Saturday, Sept. 7 on her way to All-Marquette Challenge honors. Koberstein joined Bailey on the all-tournament team after helping MU hit .309 against the Horned Frogs with 55 assists.
KOBERSTEIN NAMED A SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE: Senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein, the 2013 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Co-Player of the Year, was named one of 30 candidates for the women's volleyball Senior CLASS Award. The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans. (READ MORE)
QUICK HITS/RECENT PROGRAM HISTORY:
Senior defensive specialist Rachel Stier enters the weekend just 18 digs from 1,000 in her career.
Marquette was picked second in the 2013 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll for the second-straight season. MU received two first-place votes, while Creighton received the other seven and was picked first.
Senior setter Elizabeth Koberstein (Madison, Wis.) and Creighton middle hitter Kelli Browning (Waukesha, Wis.) are the coaches' choices for 2013 BIG EAST Preseason Co-Players of the Year.
Marquette's 27 victories in 2012 set a program record in NCAA Division I play, dating back to the 1986 campaign. Its 13 BIG EAST wins also set a new program standard.
Just seven universities put men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball teams in their respective NCAA Championships during the fall of 2012. Those seven are Marquette, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, UCLA and Washington.
The Golden Eagles' BIG EAST record has improved each year under Shymansky (2009: 6-8; 2010: 11-3; 2011: 12-2; 2012: 13-2), as has their overall win total (18, 23, 24, 27).
Second-year captain Julie Jeziorowski is the Marquette career record holder with 1,716 digs. Her 2011 (638) and 2012 (604) totals are the two highest single-season dig marks in program history.
The Golden Eagles advanced to their first-ever BIG EAST Championship match in 2012 where they fell to then-No. 10 Louisville.
Eight Marquette players have earned AVCA All-America honors over the last two years. MU's setter has earned the honor in 2010 (Nikki Klingsporn), 2011 (Chelsea Heier) and 2012 (Koberstein). Danielle Carlson became MU's first two-time AVCA All-American in 2012.
Bond Shymansky entered the 2013 season 20th among active NCAA Division I head coaches in winning percentage (.719; 264-103) and 25th all-time.
UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles travel to the Kress Events Center to take on Green Bay and former MU assistant coach Michaela Franklin on Tuesday, Sept. 17. MU then returns home to host No. 5 Florida and Milwaukee in the Marquette Invitational over Sept. 20-22.