League-Leading Volleyball Closes Out Homestand On Tuesday

League-Leading Volleyball Closes Out Homestand On Tuesday

Oct. 25, 2005

Contact: Alan Ashby

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Quick Sets: In the midst of its best season in more than two decades, Cleveland State (15-6) heads into play this week tied with UW-Milwaukee atop the Horizon League standings at 7-2. On Tuesday, CSU steps out of league play to host Bowling Green in an attempt to close out its current homestand with a perfect 6-0 record. The Vikings will then travel to Youngstown State on Friday to try to complete a season sweep of the Penguins. CSU has won five consecutive league matches, its 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 84-84 (.500) mark and a 115-120 (.489) 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: "It's exciting to know that we're in a position to control our own destiny, but there is a lot of season left. Overall, I'm pleased with how we're playing, but we need to try and get our middle hitters going offensively, while continuing to work on our blocking and defense. We're still not disciplined enough in either one of those areas."

A Glance At The Standings: Cleveland State enters the week tied atop the Horizon League standings with UW-Milwaukee at 7-2. UIC is a game back at 6-3, while UW-Green Bay sits in fourth at 5-4. The Vikings' only league match this week is at Youngstown State, the same night the Flames play at Loyola. Meanwhile, the Panthers and Phoenix hit the road for contests at Butler and Wright State.

Recapping Last Week: Cleveland State knocked off Wright State and Butler last week to complete its second straight weekend sweep in Horizon League play. The five-game, come-from-behind win over the Raiders snapped a run of eight straight five-game losses in regular season conference action, dating back to 2002. Emily Clark paced the Vikings with a career-high 21 kills and 22 digs, while Nickole Kennedy notched 21 kills and eight blocks. Jenna Maddocks added season-highs with 18 kills and 22 digs, while Mel Snyder tallied a career-high 66 assists, 12 digs and seven kills. The next day, CSU swept Butler for its seventh league victory, breaking the previous school record of six set last season. Kennedy and Maddocks once again led the Vikings, with 15 and 14 kills, respectively, while Alisa Hatcher led all players with 17 digs.

Spreading The Wealth: Heading into this season, Chuck Voss knew there was no way to replace All-American Jamie Bouyer with a single player, he was counting on the entire team to step up and fill the void. Last year, Bouyer (401) and Nickole Kennedy (307) were the only players to top the 200-kill mark in 28 matches. Already this season four players have accomplished the feat, as Kennedy (301) is joined by Danielle Siefker (212), Emily Clark (208) and Jenna Maddocks (206). The depth of the team is further evidenced by the fact that four different Vikings have been named Horizon League Player of the Week this year.

Efficiency Is In: The Vikings have out-hit their opponents by 77 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 (.335), Danielle Siefker (.297) and Jenni Ramminger (.282) rank first, third 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 125 blocks in the last 12 matches. Leading the way are Jenni Ramminger, Nickole Kennedy and Danielle Siefker with 61, 56 and 52 blocks, respectively. The Vikings are averaging 3.13 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 both victories over Wright State.

She Was The Quiet One: Senior Jenna Maddocks had gone quietly about her business this season until last week, when she garnered Horizon League Player of the Week honors for hitting .338 with 32 kills and 26 digs to lead the Vikings to a pair of wins. The Norwalk, Ohio native has eight double-doubles this year and stands third on the team in kills (2.82) and digs (2.66) and fourth in hitting percentage (.245). She posted season-highs with 18 kills and 22 digs versus Wright State on Oct. 21 and tallied 15 kills against No. 12 Ohio State on Sept. 16.

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 (.335), is third in kills (4.01) and points (4.56) and fifth in blocks (1.16). Kennedy tallied a team-season high 21 kills in both wins over Wright State 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 (1.39) averages while still hitting a solid .319. 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 among the league leaders in blocks (4th - 1.17), hitting percentage (5th - .282) and aces (9th - 0.32). The Cincinnati native has been outstanding in CSU's nine league matches, ranking third in hitting percentage (.331) and third in blocks (1.39). 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 (11.91). Snyder was at her very best in CSU's five-game victory over Wright State, notching career-highs for assists (66) and blocks (4), while adding 12 digs and seven kills. Trailing two-games-to-one, she led the comeback by directing the offense to a .316 hitting percentage over the final two 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 is second in the league in blocks (1.24) and is third in hitting (.297). 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 1,284 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.

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 seventh in the league with 4.00 digs per game and sixth in league matches only at 4.45 dpg. She enters play this week needing 53 digs to become the ninth player in school history with 1,000 career digs.

Vikings' Run Of Success Continues: With its wins over Wright State and Butler, Cleveland State assured itself of its fourth consecutive winning season, the second-longest streak in school history. It trails only the seven straight winning campaigns from 1972-78.

CYO Success: The five-game win over Wright State on Oct. 21 sent a school-record 913 fans home happy. The crowd broke the previous attendance mark of 763 set on Oct. 29, 2003 -- another CYO night.

Up Next: The Vikings open November by closing out their home schedule with a pair of matches. Cleveland State will host UW-Green Bay on Friday, Nov. 4, followed by a Senior Day contest with UW-Milwaukee the following afternoon.