Conference Action Begins to Highlight Week 4 of #ASunVB

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MACON, Ga. - Conference play begins on Wednesday and nine A-Sun matches are on the docket through the weekend as teams begin to wrap up the non-conference portions of their schedules.

It is a big week for Lipscomb, as the Lady Bisons head to Northern Kentucky to serve up the first match of conference play. The Lady Bisons welcomed the Norse to the A-Sun last season with a 3-2 road victory in a five-set thriller. The Lady Bisons are among the best in the nation offensively, leading the nation in kills per set, while Jewell Dobson is seventh in kills (4.97) and eighth in points per set (5.45). Lipscomb is also third nationally in assists per set (14.52) and Caitlin Dotson is ranked second individually (12.76).

Lipscomb then returns home to host a big nonconference tilt on Saturday, Sept. 21, hosting No. 19 Kentucky at Allen Arena on ESPN3. The Wildcats edged Lipscomb, 3-2, in a five-set thriller in the Kentucky Classic in Lexington last season.

On Friday, Sept. 20, North Florida visits Stetson, ETSU visits Mercer, conference leader Jacksonville is at FGCU and USC Upstate will look for its first win of the season at Kennesaw State. Saturday's schedule has North Florida at FGCU, ETSU at Kennesaw State, Jacksonville at Stetson and USC Upstate at Mercer.

A-Sun leader Jacksonville also heads south to Orlando to face UCF, Northern Kentucky travels to West Lafayette, Ind., for tournament action against FIU, Purdue and Syracuse and Stetson goes to Bethune-Cookman for a rematch of Tuesday's action.

A-Sun Volleyball Notes (#ASunVB):

  • The A-Sun owns a mark of 43-57 (.424) through the first three weeks of 2013. A-Sun teams have faced five 2012 NCAA Tournament participants, posting a 1-4 mark against them. Defending A-Sun champ ETSU swept Liberty for the conference's victory.
  • Jacksonville joins 11 other teams in Division I who remain undefeated into the third week of the season. JU is off to its best start since 1978 and claimed its third tournament title of the season last weekend at the FIU Invitational. The Dolphins' W/L record has them tied for first among the nation's best, and they are also fourth in the country in aces (2.06).
  • Don't forget – The newest addition to the #ASunVB schedule on ESPN3 includes the Sept. 21 match between Lipscomb and No. 19 Kentucky (3 pm EST).
  • Reigning A-Sun award winners Caitlin Dotson (Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Preseason First-Team All-Atlantic Sun) and Megan Devine (A-Sun Player of the Year, 2013 Preseason Player of the Year) are 2013 Senior CLASS Award nominees for volleyball. Dotson currently leads the A-Sun in assists per set (12.76) and is second nationally. Devine is second in the conference in kills per set (4.60) and ranks 12th nationally.
  • ETSU's lone senior, Devine has moved into second place in career kills in the A-Sun, needing just 143 kills to become the A-Sun's career leader (1746 record). Devine is the career active leader in the A-Sun with 1,603 kills, but she also matches up well with the nation's best career active leaders in several categories. See the graphic below.
Devine Among the Nation's Best Career Active Leaders
Attempts Total Kills Kills/Gm Matches Played Sets Played
10.52 (5th) 1603 (2nd) 3.78 (11th) 112 (21st) 424 (5th)
  • ETSU lost its A-Sun opener to Mercer in Macon last season, 3-0, and the Bucs return to Hawkins Arena to open their 2013 A-Sun season. The Bucs are 3-2 in their last five meetings with the Bears. ETSU began 3-3 in the A-Sun last season and enjoyed a pair of four-match streaks during the remainder of the season before winning three straight to claim the A-Sun Championship.
  • FGCU won its A-Sun opener last season at Kennesaw State, which began a 15-match win streak for the Eagles. Prior to that win, FGCU had dropped five straight and overall was 4-7. This year the Eagles are 1-9 as they open their conference season at home at Alico Arena, hosting Jacksonville on Sept. 20, and North Florida on Sept. 21.
  • JU's Kendall Courtney is also among the nation's top career active leaders in assists, ranking seventh nationally with her 3,884 career assists. Courtney is the only player to return in the A-Sun as a career active leader in two categories (assists, aces). Courtney ranks second in the A-Sun and 77th nationally in assists per set (10.24) and seventh in the A-Sun in assists per set (.33).
Atlantic Sun Volleyball Career Active Leaders
Kills Assists Digs Blocks Aces
Megan Devine, ETSU (1603, 2nd) Kendall Courtney, Jacksonville (3866, 5th) Camille Pedraza, Kennesaw State (1381, T14th) Meredith Hardy, ETSU (351, 5th) Kendall Courtney, Jacksonville (139, T3rd)
Kaley Melville, Stetson (1006) Sara Metroka, KSU (3661, 6th) Megan Devine, ETSU (1223) Ellen Hawks, Stetson (321) Stephanie Rex, Lipscomb (92)
  • Kennesaw State is a four-match win streak as it claimed the Owls Invitational title for the second straight year. KSU is 3-2 in its last five A-Sun openers and is led by a pair of veteran players in Camille Pedraza and Sara Metroka. Pedraza is the current A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week and is ranked among the nation's top career active leaders in digs, checking in nationally at No. 40 with 1,383 career digs. Metroka is also ranked among career active leaders nationally, checking in at No. 15 in assists with 3,661 for her career.
  • Lipscomb has not lost an A-Sun opener since 2007, when it fell on the road to Mercer in Macon. For the second straight year the Lady Bisons open their conference schedule on the road at Northern Kentucky. Last year the Norse introduced themselves to the A-Sun by taking the three-time defending champions to five sets before falling 3-2. Along with leading the nation in kills per set (16.07), Lipscomb leads the A-Sun in asissts per set (14.52), which is also third nationally.
  • Mercer is 1-3 in its last four A-Sun openers, hosting defending champ ETSU on Friday, Sept. 20, and looking to end its current eight-match losing streak. Mercer leads the A-Sun in digs (16.11), led by libero Emily Rochefort. Rochefort is the conference leader in digs per set (5.23) and is ranked 19th nationally in the category as well. Offensively the Bears are led by Molly Locke, who ranked 10th in the A-Sun in kills (2.94) and service aces (.33). Mercer began the 2012 conference season 2-0, besting ETSU 3-0 and Stetson 3-1 in the first weekend of A-Sun play.
  • North Florida begins its conference season on the road at Stetson and FGCU. The Ospreys began 0-3 in the A-Sun last season and posted records of 2-0 against Stetson and 0-2 versus FGCU. North Florida is 3-2 in its last five A-Sun openers and is led by seniors Anna Budinska and Britt Claessens. Budinska is third in the A-Sun in kills per set (4.00) and Claessens leads the conference in service aces (.48). Cari Whitmire is also second in digs (4.26), Cameron McGuire is third in blocks (1.00) and freshman Abby Fesl is 10th in assists (8.08).
  • Northern Kentucky lost its first ever A-Sun match in five sets to three-time defending champ Lipscomb in 2012, then put together a four-match win streak and proceeded to win six of its next seven as the new kids on the block. The Norse once again host the Lady Bisons on Sept. 20, armed with two-time A-Sun Freshman of the Week Taylor Snyder and senior Jenna Ruble. Snyder has five of the Norse's eight double-doubles this season and is ranked fourth in assists in the conference (10.05), while Ruble is fifth in hitting pct (.321) and the Norse remain in the top half of five team statistical categories.
  • USC Upstate opens its 2013 A-Sun schedule on the road at Kennesaw State and Mercer, still seeking its first victory of the season. The Spartans dropped last year's season opener to the Owls and are 2-3 in their last five A-Sun openers. Upstate is third in the A-Sun in digs (14.87), led by Kelsey Bagwell (4.05) who ranks fourth in the A-Sun. Sophomore Lexi Gober is also ninth in assists (8.10) and the Spartans have been playing without the 2013 fan voted preseason libero of the year, Kayla McAvoy, due to a nagging injury.
Atlantic Sun Volleyball Leaders in 2013 NCAA Rankings
Aces Assists Blocks Digs Hitting Pct Kills Points/W-L Pct
T72nd, Sammie Strausbaugh, JU (.42) 2nd, Caitlin Dotson, Lipscomb (12.76) 29th, Meredith Hardy, ETSU (1.36) 19th, Emily Rochefort, Mercer (5.23) 27th, Jewell Dobson, Lipscomb (.422) 7th, Jewell Dobson, Lipscomb (4.97) 8th, Jewell Dobson, Lipscomb (5.45)
4th, Jacksonville (2.06) 3rd, Lipscomb (14.52) 81st, ETSU (2.33) 46th, Mercer (16.11) 35th, Lipscomb (.271) 1st, Lipscomb (16.07) T1st, Jacksonville (1.000, 9-0)
  • At 7-5, Stetson is off to its best start since 1998. The Hatters have won seven of their last nine and have already eclipsed their win total from a year ago. Stetson is 0-5 in it last five A-Sun openers, last winning its conference opener in 2007. Senior Kaley Melville is ranked second in kills in the A-Sun among career active leaders with 1,006 and is sixth this season averaging 3.28 per set. Sophomore Kayla Weller leads the A-Sun in total service aces with 17 and is also seventh in assists averaging 9.19 per set. The Hatters are ranked in the top half of the league in all seven team statistical categories and are first in opponent hitting pct (.148).
  • Five of the six Lipscomb victories have come in sweeps, followed closely by Stetson with four sweeps in its seven wins. The Lady Bisons have not played a five-set match this season, and the Hatters only one, a 3-2 loss to Montana State.
  • Conversely, only NKU has won more than one five-set match this season. Two of the Norse's four victories have come in five-set matches, wins against Navy and Cincinnati last weekend. ETSU, Jacksonville and Kennesaw State have each have one five-set win.
  • Lipscomb's Lauren Ford and Jewell Dobson also join the A-Sun's list of seven student-athletes who are among the top NCAA active career leaders. Ford is ranked 20th nationally in attempts per game (9.94) and 21st in kills per game (3.50), while Dobson is 19th in hitting pct (.340).
Atlantic Sun Volleyball 2013 Team Statistical Leaders
Kills Assists Digs Blocks Aces
Lipscomb, 16.07 Lipscomb, 14.52 Mercer, 16.11 ETSU, 2.33 Jacksonville, 2.06
Jacksonville, 14.27 Jacksonville, 13.09 Northern Kentucky, 15.41 North Florida, 2.14 North Florida, 1.64
ETSU, 13.56 ETSU, 12.73 USC Upstate, 14.87 Jacksonville, 2.00 Stetson, 1.58
  • Week 1 A-Sun Freshman of the Week, Kelly Marcinek (KSU), continues to be the lone freshman in the top 10 in kills in the conference. Marcinek ranks ninth, averaging 3.03 kills per set. Current and two-time Freshman of the Week, Taylor Snyder (NKU), ranks fourth in the A-Sun in assists per set (10.05), six places ahead of North Florida's Abby Fesl, who ranks 10th with a 8.08 average.
  • Several games will be available online over the next few days. On Sept. 18 the ASun.TV schedule includes: Lipscomb at Northern Kentucky, 5:45 pm. On Sept. 20 games available include North Florida at Stetson, 5:50 pm; and ETSU at Mercer, 5:55 pm. On Saturday, Sept. 21, Jacksonville at Stetson, 2:50 pm; and USC Upstate at Mercer, 2:55 pm.
  • Following ETSU's win against Marshall, Bucs Head Coach Lindsey Devine is now one win shy of becoming the all-time winningest coach in ETSU history. Devine has compiled 169 career victories.
  • Jacksonville is among the top three in the A-Sun in six of the seven team statistical categories: Hitting Pct (2nd, .249); Opponent Hitting Pct (2nd, .152); Assists (2nd, 13.09); Kills (2nd, 14.27); Blocks (3rd, 2.00); and Service Aces (1st, 2.06).

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