Volleyball Travels to Milwaukee for Horizon League Tournament

Volleyball Travels to Milwaukee for Horizon League Tournament

Nov. 12, 2007

Contact: Greg Murphy

Opponent: Youngstown State
Date: Friday, Nov. 16, 2007
Time: 2:00 p.m. CST
Location: Milwaukee, Wis.
Series: CSU leads, 39-13
Last Mtg. @CSU 3, YSU 1

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Quick Sets: Following the conclusion of its most successful regular season in more than two decades, Cleveland State (20-8, 13-3 HL) heads into this weekend's Horizon League Volleyball Tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Vikings will open play against seventh-seeded Youngstown State in the quarterfinals on Friday (Nov. 16) at 2:00 p.m. CST on the campus of Milwaukee.

Last Time Out: The VIkings finished the regular season against Youngstown State. Here is a quick recap of that match.

Match #28 - CSU 3, Youngstown State 1 (Nov. 10 - Cleveland, Ohio)
Five players recorded double-digit kills, led by a match-high 17 from Amy Benz, as the Vikings knocked off Youngstown State, 3-1, on Saturday afternoon. Alexis Korovich and Mel Snyder recorded double-doubles for CSU, which defeated Youngstown State for the 12th straight time.

Series History: The Vikings are 39-13 all-time against Youngstown State, including a pair of wins this season and 12 straight wins over the Penguins. The Vikings handed YSU a 3-1 setback in Youngstown on Sept. 21 and completed the regular season sweep of YSU with a 3-1 triumph on Saturday, Nov. 10.

On the Horizon: CSU heads into its 12th Horizon League Championship with an all-time mark of 5-11 in league tournament play. The Vikings advanced to the championship match in 2004 and the semifinals last season.

Head Coach: In his eighth year at the helm of the Vikings, head coach Chuck Voss has methodically built the Viking program from the ground up. He inherited a team that had not enjoyed a winning season in 17 years and turned things around in his third season (2002) when he led the Vikings to an 18-16 mark. Since then, CSU has recorded six straight winning seasons (2002-07), the most since the program opened with seven straight (1972-78). Voss has a 128-105 (.548) mark at CSU and moved into second place on the all-time wins list at CSU in a Sept. 21 win at Youngstown State. Voss, who has a 161-141 (.533) overall record in nine seasons, has mentored the only two All-Americans in school history, the 2005 Horizon League Player of the Year, 10 first team all-league picks, seven all-newcomer team members and three league Co-Newcomer of the Year picks.

What a Season: Cleveland State reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 1988 squad posted a 20-22 record. In addition, the Vikings' .714 winning percentage is the best mark since the 1982 squad won 78 percent of its matches (38-11). CSU's two seniors, Mel Snyder and Seanna Steinle, have led the Vikings to 72 wins during their careers, the most by a graduating class since 1984.

We Meet Again: Friday's quarterfinal match against Youngstown State will be the third meeting of the season between CSU and YSU. It is the second time in the last three years the the two teams will play three times in a season. In 2004, CSU swept three matches from the Penguins, including a 3-0 win in the tournament quarterfinals.

Glad to See Penguins: Several CSU players have enjoyed success in two victories against Youngstown State this season. Beth Greulich has hit .438 (26-5-48), while Amy Benz has hit .383 (24-6-7) and averaged 2.0 blocks per game. In addition, Mel Snyder has averaged 13.1 assists per game, while Alexis Korovich averaged 3.8 kills and 4.12 digs in two wins over the Penguins this season.

A Baker's Dozen: CSU's triumph over Youngstown State on Saturday extended the program record forleague wins in a season to 13. The mark bettered the previous record of 11set by the 2005 squad, which went 11-3 in league play. The Vikings played two more conference matches this season with the addition of Valparaiso to the Horizon League.

Success Continues: With its win over Butler on Oct. 12, CSU clinched its sixth consecutive winning season, which is the second longest streak in school-history (2002-07). It trails the seven straight winning campaigns from 1972-78.

Home Sweet Home: CSU's win over Youngstown State on Saturday enabled the Vikings to earn another program first as they finished the season with a perfect 8-0 mark at home in league matches. The previous best home mark in conference play was 6-1 in 2005 when the Vikings were swept by Milwaukee for their only loss in Woodling Gym. CSU was 8-2 overall in Woodling Gym this season with nonconference losses to Kent State and Dayton.

Efficiency Breeds Success: CSU has outhit its opponents by 52 points (.220-.168) this season and has posted a better hitting percentage than their opponent all but six times in 2007. CSU is 0-6 in those matches. The Vikings hit a season-best .357 (54-13-115) in an Oct. 26 win at Loyola, marking their best day at the net since hitting .359 against Indiana State on Sept. 9, 2006. Individually, Amy Benz (.336), Beth Greulich (.310) and Jenni Ramminger (.271) rank first, third and ninth in the conference in hitting percentage.

Road Warriors: The Vikings finished 5-3 on the road in league contests this season, which tied the school-record for conference road wins in a season (2005). Even more impressive is that the Vikings have played 18 of their 27 matches away from Woodling Gym and are 12-6 in those contests.

Get That First One: Getting off to a good start has been a key to CSU's success this season as the Vikings have won game one in 20 of their 28 matches. CSU went on to win 16 of those matches, including 10 sweeps.

D-D-D-Defense!: The Vikings have been one of the most solid defensive teams in the league this season, surrendering just 66 aces in 65 league games, while amassing 181.5 blocks and limiting opponents to a .159 hitting percentage in conference matches.

20-20 Vision: Cleveland State finally got 20 - wins that is. With its 3-1 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday, the Vikings reached the 20-win plateua for the 10th time in school-history, but the first since the 1988 squad posted a 20-22 record. The last time CSU won more than 20 matches was in 1983 when the Vikings went 29-13.

Dishing it Out: Senior Mel Snyder is in her third and final season of directing the CSU offense at setter. A First Team All-Horizon League selection a season ago, Snyder is leading the league in assists (11.83 apg) for the second straight season. In addition, her 3,896 career assists rank third all-time in CSU history, while her 123 career service aces are eighth best. She has recorded 10 double-doubles this season and has six matches with at least 60 assists this season.

She Can Dig It: Jordan Bateman became the 11th player in school-history to reach 1,000 career digs with her 20 in Saturday's win over Youngstown State. She now has 1,013 career digs, including a school-record 543 this season. Bateman is 10th on the all-time digs list at CSU, but needs just 47 to move into sixth place on the all-time list. She recorded a career-best 36 digs against Milwaukee on Sept. 29, which was just one shy of tying Elisa Caraulia's school record of 37 digs against Kent State in 1987. Ranking third in the conference in digs (4.98 dpg), Bateman is threatening the Horizon League single-season record of 579 digs set in 1992 by Stacy Gilligan of Duquesne, but Valparaiso's Brittany Malicoat has tallied 653 digs this season and could hold off Bateman's charge.

Liking the League: Beth Greulich, who earned Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and first team all-league honors last season, has proven that her rookie season was no fluke by picking up her game during league play. After hitting a respectable .285 and averaging 2.68 kills and 0.85 blocks per game in 12 nonconference matches, Greulich has raised those numbers to .328, 3.29 kills and 0.98 blocks per game in 16 conference matches. Over the last seven matches, Greulich is averaging 15.4 kills and 4.1 blocks per game. She posted a career-best 21 kills and hit .514 (21-2-37) in a win at Green Bay on Oct. 20 and followed that effort by hitting .531 and totaling 19 kills in a win at Loyola six days later. Greulich is a two-time league Offensive Player of the Week (10/22 & 10/29) this season.

Double Up: Alexis Korovich has proven to be one of CSU's top all-around players this season as she is second on the team in kills (3.05 kpg) and digs (3.27 dpg). In addition, she leads the team with 17 double-doubles, including 10 in the last 12 matches. Korovich averaged a team-leading 3.31 kills per game and added 3.65 digs per game in 16 league matches as she reached double-digit digs in all but one match. She posted season-highs in kills (21) and hitting percentage (.429) in a loss at UIC on Oct. 26.

A New Mercedes: Freshman Amy Benz is one of the favorites to earn Horizon League Newcomer of the Year honors, which would make her the fourth Viking in the last six seasons to capture the award. Benz is the only player to hold the top spot in two separate statistical categories as she is first in hitting percentage (.336) and blocks (1.54). Benz, who posted a career-best 20 kills in an Oct. 20 loss at Milwaukee and a career-high 14 blocks in a victory over Valparaiso (Nov. 3), is slowly moving up the single season record books at CSU as she is second in block assists (148) and total blocks (168). Benz trails former Viking All-American Jamie Bouyer in both categories as Bouyer posted 166 block assists and 199 total blocks in 2003.

Leaping Lizard: After opening the season with double-digit kills in 11 of the first 13 matches, Liz Fazio went through a tough midseason stretch, but has seemed to find her groove over the last two weeks. The Akron native closed the season strong by averaging 9.3 kills per game over the final three matches of the season, inclduing 12 in Saturday's win over Youngstown State. It was the first time she reached double-digit kills since posting 13 at Green Bay on Oct. 20. Fazio hit a season-best .500 (7-0-14) in a 3-1 win over Valparaiso on Nov. 3.

Ace, Ace, Baby: Over the last month, the Vikings have crept up to second place in the league standings in aces per game (1.90) with 95 service aces over the last 11 matches. Included in that stretch are four matches with double-digit aces, including a season-best 13 in a win over Wright State (10/13). CSU has three players ranked in the top-10 in service aces in the league with Jenni Ramminger second (0.35), Jordan Bateman seventh (0.33) and Kayla Lefeld eighth (0.31). CSU has totaled 207 aces this season, while giving up just 130 in 109 games played. In 65 league games, CSU tallied 126 aces while surrendering a mere 66.

Spread the Wealth: Mel Snyder has quarterbacked the Viking offense to the best hitting percentage in the league this season (.220) and is getting each player involved as CSU is the only team in the Horizon League that has six players with at least 195 kills this season. Beth Greulich leads the way with 336 and is followed by Alexis Korovich (320), Jenni Ramminger (263), Amy Benz (246), Liz Fazio (235) and Kayla Lefeld (197). Snyder has added 85 kills of her own for good measure.

This Team is Smart: The Vikings have been honored for their exceptional performance in the classroom as a recipient of the Game Time/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the third straight year. CSU, which is just one of just 55 Division I schools to earn the award, carried a team grade point average of 3.646 during the 2006-07 school year. The award, which began during the 1992-93 academic year, honors college and high school teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining a cumulative 3.30 GPA or better during the school year.

Up Next: Should the Vikings be fortunate enough to win three games this weekend, they would head to one of 16 campus sites for the NCAA Tournament. The first and second rounds will take place on Nov. 29-30, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 or Dec. 1-2.