Volleyball Closes Home Schedule With Two Crucial League Contests

Volleyball Closes Home Schedule With Two Crucial League Contests

Oct. 31, 2005

Contact: Alan Ashby

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Quick Sets: Cleveland State closes out its home schedule with a pair of critical league matches this weekend. On Friday, Nov. 4, CSU will host UW-Green Bay, followed by a contest with league-leading UW-Milwaukee the next afternoon. The Vikings, who are attempting to finish undefeated at home in conference play for the first time ever, trail the Panthers by just half-a-game in the league standings heading into this week. CSU seniors Katie Calhoon, Emily Clark, Alisa Hatcher, Nickole Kennedy, Jenna Maddocks and Julie Stover will be recognized in a special ceremony on Saturday.

Head Coach Chuck Voss: In his sixth year at the helm of the Vikings, head coach Chuck Voss has an 85-85 (.500) mark and a 119-121 (.496) 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: "Against strong teams like Green Bay and Milwaukee we must be very solid and consistent in both our defense and our blocking. To play our last two home matches with so much on the line is exciting not only for our team, but for the entire athletic department. This situation is something you dream about as a coach and I'm confident our team will be ready to meet the challenge."

A Glance At The Standings: Cleveland State enters the week in second place in the Horizon League at 8-2, just a half-game behind UW-Milwaukee (9-2). UIC is two games further back at 6-4, while UW-Green Bay sits in fourth at 5-4. The Vikings will host UW-Green Bay and the Panthers this weekend, while UIC has home contests against Butler and Wright State. CSU needs to win three of its final four league matches to assure itself of one of the top two seeds in the upcoming Horizon League Championship.

Recapping Last Week: The Vikings split a pair of matches last week, falling to Bowling Green on Tuesday before rebounding to earn a sweep at Youngstown State on Friday. The Falcons were able to stop CSU's six-match winning streak by out-hitting the Vikings .194 to .156 -- just the fifth team to accomplish that feat all season. Jenna Maddocks paced CSU with 13 kills, while Emily Clark and Alisa Hatcher both tallied 22 digs. The Vikings rebounded three nights later to earn their 10th straight win over the Penguins. Nickole Kennedy tallied a match-high 14 kills, while Hatcher added 19 digs. The win over YSU extended a pair of school records in regards to Horizon League play, as CSU has now won six straight league contests while putting together eight conference wins overall -- both tops in the Vikings' 12-year stint in the league.

Spreading The Wealth: Heading into this season, Chuck Voss knew there was no way to replace All-American Jamie Bouyer with a single player, so 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 (327) is joined by Danielle Siefker (235), Jenna Maddocks (230) and Emily Clark (222). 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.

Swept Away: Cleveland State's high level of play this year is clearly illustrated by the fact that the Vikings have swept 12 opponents this year, including a school-record five in Horizon League play alone. CSU, which recorded just eight sweeps all of last season, has been blanked just twice this season -- on the road at Michigan (Sept. 9) and at UW-Milwaukee (Oct. 7). The 2003 squad also tallied a dozen sweeps on its way to an 18-win campaign.

Milestones Continue To Fall By The Wayside: Cleveland State's best season in nearly two decades has seen the Vikings topple records and snap streaks in emphatic fashion. A list of the accomplishments follows:
• Established a new record for league victories with eight
• Set the mark for consecutive league wins with six (ongoing)
• Broke eight-match skid in regular season league contests decided in five games dating back to 2002 with win over Wright State (Oct. 21)
• Snapped 15-match losing streak against Loyola with sweep on Oct. 14
• Topped Butler for just fifth time in 25 all-time meetings (3-0 sweep on Oct. 22)

Efficiency Is In: The Vikings have out-hit their opponents by 70 points this season, posting a league-leading .241 hitting percentage. CSU foes have recorded a higher hitting percentage just five times all year, with the Vikings posting a 1-4 mark in those contests. Individually, Nickole Kennedy (.329), Danielle Siefker (.304) and Jenni Ramminger (.266) rank first, second and eighth, 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 148 blocks in the last 14 matches. Leading the way are Jenni Ramminger, Danielle Siefker and Nickole Kennedy with 73, 62 and 61 blocks, respectively. The Vikings are averaging 3.15 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 2.79 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 Oct. 24, 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 second on the team in kills (2.88), third in digs (2.66) and fourth in hitting percentage (.243). 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 (.329), is third in kills (3.99) and points (4.59) and fifth in blocks (1.12). 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 (4.50) and block (1.33) averages while hitting a solid .328. 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 - 1.20), hitting percentage (8th - .266) and aces (7th - 0.34). The Cincinnati native has been outstanding in CSU's nine league matches, ranking sixth in hitting percentage (.311) and second in blocks (1.36). 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 .241 hitting percentage while ranking third in the league in assists (11.93). Snyder was at her very best in CSU's five-game victory over Wright State on Oct. 21, 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 leads the league in blocks (1.28) and is second in hitting percentage (.304). The Kalida, Ohio native has hit above .500 seven 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.

Record Blown Away: 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 1,321 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 (3.74 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 fifth in the league with 4.16 digs per game and sixth in league matches only at 4.61 dpg. She enters play this week needing 12 digs to become the ninth player in school history with 1,000 career digs. With 341 digs on the season, Hatcher has a decent shot at the CSU season record of 418 set by Elisa Caraulia in 1987.

Can You Dig It?: Emily Clark, Alisa Hatcher and Katie Calhoon are close to becoming the first trio in school history to take to the court with 1,000 digs each. Clark is the CSU career leader with 1,321 digs, while Hatcher and Calhoon rank ninth and 10th with 988 and 940 digs, respectively. The feat has been accomplished twice previously by a pair of teammates -- those instances coming in 1996 (Tenille Whiteside & Clarisse Chimbanda) and 1992 (Megan Wandersleben & Amy Ludwig).

Vikings' Run Of Success Continues: With its solid play all season long, Cleveland State has 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. With at least six matches still left to play, the Vikings need four victories for their first 20-win season since 1988.

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. 17, 2003 -- another CYO night and another Cleveland State victory (a three-game sweep of Youngstown State).

Vikings Picked Fourth: Cleveland State was picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League preseason poll, which was released on Aug. 17. The Vikings garnered 31 points in the poll of the league's eight head coaches, placing behind UW-Milwaukee with 49, Butler with 38 and defending tournament champion Loyola with 37. CSU upended top-seeded Panthers in the five games in the 2004 league tournament semifinals before falling to the Ramblers in a five-game championship match. UIC (26), UW-Green Bay (23), Wright State (12) and Youngstown State (8) rounded out the voting.

Non-Conference Mastery: The Vikings are a solid 41-18 (.695) in non-conference play over the past four seasons, including an 18-6 (.750) mark in Woodling Gymnasium. CSU posted a perfect 5-0 non-conference record at home in 2002 and a spotless 4-0 mark in 2004.

CSU Successful In Classroom As Well: The Cleveland State volleyball team was one of 45 Division I schools to garner the Game Plan/AVCA Team Academic Award, which was released on Aug. 8. The Vikings put together a 3.30 GPA for the 2004-05 academic year in addition to advancing to their first Horizon League Championship match. The award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors college and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a cumulative 3.30 GPA during the school year. At the Division I level, 311 schools sponsor women's volleyball. This year, Katie Calhoon, Nickole Kennedy, Jenna Maddocks & Mel Snyder were eligible to be nominated for CoSIDA Academic All-District honors for carrying a 3.20 GPA or better.

Up Next: The Vikings close out the regular season with a trio of matches on the road. CSU will step out of conference one last time to face Kent State on Monday, Nov. 7. The Vikings will then travel to Chicago to square off against UIC on Friday, Nov. 11, followed by the season finale the next afternoon at Loyola.