A HISTORIC WEEK: Tuesday's non-conference match against Boise State is the appetizer of the week for the Seattle University volleyball team. Thursday's contest against New Mexico State begins a new era for the volleyball program, as it starts the first Western Athletic Conference season for the Redhawks. The opening weekend of WAC play will be a tough challenge for Seattle U, as New Mexico State was picked by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to win the league title. Denver comes to town Saturday, and the Pioneers have gotten off to a solid start in 2012.
LIVE STATS/VIDEO: Live stats and live video will be available for all three matches on GoSeattleU.com, the official Seattle University athletics website. Links to all online offerings are available from the volleyball schedule page on GoSeattleU.com.
LAST WEEK: Seattle University played its first matches within the city limits last week, starting with a quick road trip to the University of Washington to face the seventh-ranked Huskies. Seattle U played well at times, but Washington was more consistent and earned the 3-0 victory (25-15, 25-10, 25-21). Sarah Jaeckel led the Redhawks with 10 kills, while Kaytlyn Dill finished with eight kills and five digs. Two nights later, Seattle U opened the home portion of the schedule against Long Beach State. Once again, consistency was an issue for the Redhawks, as the 49ers made more plays throughout the match for a 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-16, 25-23). Karina Miastkowska led the way for Seattle U with 11 kills, with Dill contributing eight kills, 12 digs, and four total blocks.
CONFERENCE PLAY: The Seattle U volleyball team has not played a conference match since Nov. 10, 2007, a 3-1 loss to Seattle Pacific as part of the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The last league victory for the Redhawks came on Oct. 20, 2007, against Alaska Anchorage, a 3-1 victory at the Connolly Center.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE: The Broncos come into Tuesday's match with a 6-4 overall record, including a current five-match winning streak. As a team, Boise State has posted a .247 hitting percentage and is averaging 13.92 kills per set, 1.67 service aces per set, 15.22 digs per set, and 1.72 blocks per set. Alyssa Gammel leads the team with 140 kills and is second on the squad with 108 digs. Liz Harden has collected 122 kills so far this season and is hitting .304. The setting duties have been split between Casey Rose (213 assists) and Sarah Baugh (191 assists). Kersti Whitney leads the team in both defensive digs (164) and in service aces (12). Bruttany Reardon leads the way with 33 total blocks to go along with 60 kills and a .349 hitting percentage.
SEATTLE U VS. BOISE STATE: This will be the third meeting all-time between Seattle U and Boise State, with the Redhawks taking the first two matches, both held on Boise State's home court. In the opening match of the 2008 season, Seattle U, just starting its reclassification to Division I, swept the Broncos, 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-19). Cristin Richards notched a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs, while Kaytlyn Dill contributed nine kills. Last season, Seattle U returned to Boise, Idaho, and once again defeated the Broncos, 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-22). Richards and Dill each collected 14 kills and nine digs, while Allison Farley finished with 13 kills and five block assists and Allie Hoskins contributed three service aces and 14 digs.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO STATE: The Aggies, the preseason favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference, come into Thursday's match with a 6-3 overall record. After winning its first five matches of the year, New Mexico State has lost three of its last four contests. As a team, the Aggies are hitting .231 and averaging 13.43 kills, 1.51 service aces, 13.11 digs, and 2.47 blocks per set. New Mexico State currently leads the conference in service aces and is second in kills, hitting percentage, and blocks. Meredith Hays, the preseason WAC Player of the Year, has lived up to her billing, leading the conference with 5.31 points per set and second in the WAC in kills per set (4.60) and service aces per set (0.40). The setting duties for the Aggies are split between Ciara Brown (173 assists) and Taylor Livoti (170 assists). Stephanie Ziegler leads the team with 90 defensive digs, and Desiree Scott leads the way at the net with 36 total blocks. This will be the first meeting all-time between Seattle U and New Mexico State.
SCOUTING DENVER: The Pioneers enter the week with a 6-3 overall record after winning all three matches at the Service Academy Challenge in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Denver also has victories over major conference opponents Virginia and Syracuse so far this season. As a team, the Pioneers are hitting .249, best in the conference, and are averaging 12.73 kills, 1.30 service aces, 13.77 digs, and 2.28 blocks per set. Four different Denver players are averaging at least two kills per set, led by Colleen King with 83 kills and Michele Swope with 80 kills. Frances Carroll has dished out 274 assists so far this season, plus she also leads the team with nine service aces. Lyndi Johnson is fourth in the conference in digs with a team-high 4.10 digs per set, while Faimie Kingsley is third in the conference with a .384 hitting percentage and fourth in the WAC with 1.33 blocks per set. Denver and Seattle U are meeting for the first time ever on the volleyball court.
CONNOLLY CENTER INFO: Single match tickets for Seattle University volleyball will be available starting 60 minutes before the start of each match. Fans are to enter the Connolly Center through the lobby on 14th Avenue, not through the North Court doors on Cherry nor through the Fitness Center near the corner of 14th and Jefferson. There is an elevator available for use for any patrons needing access to the North Court from the Connolly Center lobby.