Volleyball to Face No. 7 Florida, UCF and Jacksonville
Sept. 17, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University women's volleyball team treks to the Sunshine State for three matches this weekend, the first of which is a 6 p.m. Central time matchup at No. 7 Florida in Gainesville, Florida at the O'Connell Center.
The Golden Eagles (6-3) will also face Central Florida in Orlando at The Venue on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT and Jacksonville University in Oviedo, Florida on Sunday at noon CT. Friday's contest against Florida will be streamed live on the SEC Network+, while a free live video stream will also be available for Saturday's match against UCF through UCFKnights.com.
Sunday's match, which will be competed at Oviedo High School and be free of charge to those wishing to attend, will feature live statistics through GoMarquette.com.
Marquette went 3-1 this past weekend in the Marquette Invitational with wins over James Madison, Green Bay and UTSA and a 3-1 loss to Rice. Sophomore outside hitter Nele Barber and libero Lauren Houg were named to the all-tournament team for their play in the invitational and Barber earned BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll mention on Monday. Barber posted 3.13 kills per set in the four matches, while Houg put up 5.33 digs per set and notched a career-high 29 digs in the tournament finale against UTSA on Saturday.
First-year Marquette head coach Ryan Theis picked up his 150th career victory against UTSA and returns to Gainesville, where he will face head coach Mary Wise, who won her 800th career match on Friday evening. Theis served as an assistant coach under Wise in 2006 and 2007, during which time the Gators compiled a record of 59-6 and won a pair of SEC championships.
For additional coverage, follow Marquette volleyball on Twitter (@MarquetteVB).
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
at No. 7 FLORIDA [5-2 (0-0 SEC) | gatorzone.com | @GatorZoneVB]: The Gators climbed to No. 7 in the AVCA Coaches poll after sweeping both No. 13 San Diego and No. 6 USC at the USC Classic in Los Angeles last week. Friday's victory over the host Trojans also marked head coach Mary Wise's 800th career win. Florida's balanced offensive attack features five players with at least 50 kills this season, with sophomore right side hitter Alex Holston leading the pack with 83. Holston and freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan were named to the USC Classic All-Tournament Team and Alhassan was also tabbed as SEC Offensive Player of the Week. The six-foot-four rookie leads the SEC with a .529 hitting percentage (66-12-102), the second best clip in the nation. Series History: UF leads 3-0.
at UCF [7-3 (0-0 AAC) | ucfknights.com | @UCF_Volleyball]: The Knights went 1-2 last weekend at the 26 West Longhorn Classic, blanking Florida A&M before getting swept by No. 2 Texas and losing in four sets to then-No. 21 Arizona. In its match against the Wildcats, UCF actually registered more kills (60 to 58) and aces (five to one), but only mustered six blocks and a .175 hitting percentage (60-29-177), compared to Arizona's marks of 16 and .226 (58-18-177). Senior middle blocker DeLaina Sarden was named to the All-Tournament Team, tallying 26 kills over the weekend with a .385 hitting percentage (26-6-52). Series history: first meeting.
vs. JACKSONVILLE [6-4 (0-0 Atlantic Sun) | judolphins.com | @JUVolleyball]: The Dolphins did not lose a single set in their three matches at the Wingate Invitational last weekend, sweeping North Carolina Central and host Charleston Southern on Friday and South Carolina State on Saturday. Juniors Sammie Strausbaugh and Emily Laskelle were named to the all-tournament team and Strausbaugh, who leads Jacksonville with 168 kills this season, won the Tournament MVP award. Despite being only five-foot-eight, Strausbaugh tallied 40 kills over the weekend (4.44 per set) and maintained a .418 hitting percentage (40-7-79). Series history: first meeting.
QUICK HITS/RECENT PROGRAM HISTORY:
Redshirt sophomore Meghan Niemann leads the BIG EAST with 1.47 blocks per set, while Courtney Kintzel is third in the league in hitting percentage (.381). Lauren Houg sits fifth in the conference with 4.47 digs per set.
Sophomore outside hitter Autumn Bailey is the BIG EAST Conference Preseason Player of the Year. Bailey was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year in 2013 and was the AVCA East Coast Freshman of the Year. She led the conference during league matches with 4.61 kills and 5.35 points per set.
The Golden Eagles were picked second in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll with four first-place votes and are currently receiving votes (50 points) in the preseason AVCA Top-25 Poll.
Head coach Ryan Theis is in his first season with the Golden Eagles after six years at Ohio University. Theis entered 2014 as the 18th-winningest active head coach in NCAA Division I (.727) and was the 2009 and 2013 MAC Coach of the Year while leading the Bobcats to four NCAA tournaments.
Marquette made its third straight appearance in the NCAA Championship in 2013.
Marquette reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth-straight season in 2013 and the fifth time in program history overall.
MU won its first BIG EAST regular season and tournament championships in program history in 2013 and went a program-best 15-1 in league action.
UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles begin their 10th season of play in the BIG EAST Conference with matches at Providence on Friday, Sept. 26 and at St. John's on Saturday, Sept. 27.
GOMARQUETTE.COM THE OFFICIAL HOME OF MARQUETTE ATHLETICS