Oct. 17, 2005
Contact: Alan Ashby
Quick Sets: Fresh off a weekend sweep of Loyola and UIC, CSU (13-6) continues its six-match homestand this week as the Vikings host Wright State on Friday, Oct. 21, followed by a tilt with Butler on Saturday, Oct. 22. CSU, which stands tied for second in the league at 5-2, defeated the Raiders in four games in their first meeting, a day after falling to the Bulldogs in five games in the league-opener for both schools. The Vikings head into this week having won three league matches in a row, their longest streak since joining the conference in 1994.
Head Coach Chuck Voss: In his sixth year at the helm of the Vikings, head coach Chuck Voss has an 82-84 (.494) mark and a 113-120 (.485) overall record in eight seasons. He picked up his 100th career win on Oct. 29, 2004 at Wright State and has mentored the first All-American in school history (Jamie Bouyer was a 2004 AVCA honorable mention selection), five first team all-league picks, four all-newcomer team members and the 2002 Co-Newcomer of the year (Alisa Hatcher). In 2002, Voss guided the Vikings to their first winning season since 1983 and the 18 victories in 2002 & `03 are the most since the 1988 team won 20 contests.
Voss On This Week: "Our intensity and mental effort in practice the past couple of weeks have been incredible and it's good to see that it's paying off on the court. We talked to the team about the importance of playing well at home and they obviously responded. The wins last week put us right in the thick of things halfway through the conference season. We need to keep building on this momentum and see where it takes us."
Crucial Clashes Await: This weekend, CSU continues its stretch of four straight Horizon League matches at home. The Vikings are currently tied for second with UW-Milwaukee, while UIC leads the league by just a game in the standings at 6-1. CSU has won four in a row against Wright State, but has dropped five consecutive to Butler -- although four of those contests have gone five games.
Recapping Last Week: The Vikings posted a spotless mark last week in three matches, starting things off on Tuesday by setting the school record with a .527 hitting percentage in a sweep of Oakland. CSU continued its strong play on Friday by snapping a 15-match losing streak to Loyola in emphatic fashion, sweeping the Ramblers on the strength of 17 kills and a .536 hitting percentage from Nickole Kennedy. The Vikings closed out the week by honoring former All-American Jamie Bouyer prior to Saturday's match with UIC. CSU then went out and handed the league-leading Flames their first conference loss as Jenna Maddocks tallied 13 kills and 13 digs for her seventh double-double of the season.
History Lesson: The Vikings entered uncharted waters with their performance last week. By defeating Loyola and UIC, CSU earned a weekend Horizon League sweep for the first time since claiming five-game decisions over UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay on Oct. 27-28, 1995. The victories also stretched the Vikings' league winning streak to three matches -- their longest skein since joining the conference in 1994. Earlier in the week, CSU set a school record with a .527 hitting percentage (54-6-91) against Oakland, in addition to matching the mark set two other times by allowing just 10 points in the second game.
Efficiency Is In: The Vikings have out-hit their opponents by 75 points this season, posting a league-leading .245 hitting percentage. CSU foes have recorded a higher hitting percentage just four times all year, with the Vikings posting a 1-3 mark in those contests. Individually, Nickole Kennedy (.341), Danielle Siefker (.321) and Jenni Ramminger (.290) rank first, second and fifth, respectively, in the league. Last year's team set the school record with a .239 hitting percentage.
Wall Goes Back Up: Cleveland State has made life miserable for opposing hitters recently, recording 99.5 blocks in the last nine matches. Leading the way are freshman Jenni Ramminger, senior Nickole Kennedy and junior Danielle Siefker with 45, 43 and 43 blocks, respectively. The Vikings are averaging 3.11 blocks per game during the stretch, a far cry from the 2.30 bpg the first 10 contests of the season. CSU, which leads the league with 2.69 bpg, has been out-blocked just four times this year and recorded a season-high 16.5 blocks in a four-game win at Wright State on Sept. 24.
She Spells Consistency With A "K": Senior opposite Nickole Kennedy is making her presence felt this year after garnering All-Horizon League honors last season. The Sunbury, Ohio native leads the league in hitting percentage (.341), is third in kills (3.96) and points (4.56) and fourth in blocks (1.10). Kennedy tallied a team-season high 21 kills at Wright State on Sept. 23 and led the Vikings with 18 kills in their five-game loss to No. 12 Ohio State on Sept. 6. In league play, she has upped her kill (4.48) and block (1.32) averages while still hitting a solid .329. Her consistently high level of play earned Kennedy Horizon League Player of the Week honors on Oct. 17 and all-tournament team accolades in each of CSU's three early-season tourneys.
Ramminger Settles Into Starting Role: The only freshman to see playing time on a regular basis, Jenni Ramminger has done more than just serve as All-American Jamie Bouyer's replacement at middle hitter. She currently ranks fifth in the league in hitting percentage (.290) and blocks per game (1.07), and ninth in aces per game (0.31). The Cincinnati native has been outstanding in CSU's seven league matches, ranking second in hitting percentage (.362) and fifth in blocks (1.20) and aces (0.40). She earned Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 19 for her efforts in the Medical Mutual CSU Invitational as she tallied 21 blocks and six aces in three matches.
Now Starting At Setter...: Sophomore Mel Snyder has done a superb job running the Cleveland State offense in her first season as the starting setter. She has directed the Vikings to a league-best .245 hitting percentage while ranking third in the league in assists (11.67). Snyder was at her very best in CSU's four-game victory over UIC on Oct. 15, registering seven kills, a .500 hitting percentage, 42 assists and three blocks while directing the offense to a .312 hitting percentage over the final three games.
Life After Shin Splints: Junior middle hitter Danielle Siefker had surgery following the 2004 season to correct her chronic shin splints. Judging from the first two months of the season, it's safe to say the procedure was a success. Siefker leads the league in blocks (1.25) and is second in hitting (.321). The Kalida, Ohio native has hit above .500 six times and notched a career-high 16 kills and a season-high 11 blocks in the win at Wright State on Sept. 24. She garnered Horizon League Player of the Week honors on Sept. 5 after earning tournament MVP honors at the Duquesne Invitational. Siefker hit .542 (making just six errors on 48 attempts) with 13 blocks in leading the Vikings to a trio of sweeps on Sept. 2-3.
Can You Dig It?: In CSU's Sept. 17 win over Niagara, senior outside hitter Emily Clark broke the school record for digs and heads into action this week with 1,255 digs. Megan Wandersleben, who recorded 1,138 digs from 1989-92, previously held the record. The Bolivar, Ohio native, who ranks eighth in the league in digs (3.60 pg), tallied a career-high 34 digs at Butler on Sept. 23 -- just three shy of the school record. She hit .321 with 35 digs in three matches to earn a spot on the Duquesne Invitational all-tournament squad the opening week of the season.
She's The Quiet One: While other players on the team may draw more attention with their stats, senior Jenna Maddocks has been a rock-solid presence for the Vikings at outside hitter. The Norwalk, Ohio native has seven double-doubles this year and stands third on the team in kills (2.68) and digs (2.58) and fourth in hitting percentage (.231). She had a season-high 16 kills on Sept. 17 against San Diego State and 15 kills against No. 12 Ohio State on Sept. 16.
Hatcher Makes Triumphant Return: When senior Alisa Hatcher started at libero for the Vikings on Aug. 26 against Toledo, it was a special day in her career. The Bellefontaine, Ohio native hadn't played since suffering a pulmonary embolism at the end of the 2003 season, sitting out all of last year while on blood thinners. She shook of the rust against the Rockets to record 17 digs and then matched her career-high with 23 digs against No. 12 Ohio State on Sept. 6. Overall, Hatcher is sixth in the league with 3.94 digs per game and third in league matches only at 4.44 dpg.
Vikings' Run Of Success Continues: Cleveland State is looking to build on its run of three consecutive winning seasons, the second-longest streak in school history. The Vikings need just two more wins to lock up their fourth winning season in a row. It trails only the seven straight winning campaigns from 1972-78.
Up Next: The Vikings close out their six-match homestand with a non-conference battle against Bowling Green on Tuesday, Oct. 25. CSU then returns to Horizon League action with a road contest at Youngstown State on Friday, Oct. 28.