Sept. 12, 2012
SMU concludes the tournament season at the Oklahoma Invitational Sept. 14-15, facing Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas-Little Rock. The Mustangs face the Sooners, ranked 29th by RichKern.com, in the first match on Friday at 7 p.m. Sophomore Caroline Young leads the Mustangs with 119 kills, and is seventh in Conference USA averaging 3.72 per set. She is also second in the league with 15 aces.
The Sooner are 8-3 on the season, winning three of their last four. Oklahoma started the season with a four-match winning streak, including a 3-2 win over Tulsa. The Sooners have faced three ranked teams, losing to No. 24 Colorado State and No. 1 Nebraska before beating No. 19 Kentucky 3-1.
Sallie McLaurin and Morgan Reynolds lead the Sooners offensively, each scoring more than 100 kills, and Maria Fernanda has 203 digs. The Sooners have 124.5 blocks as a team, led by McLaurin's 68.
New Mexico enters the tournament with a 10-1 record, winning its last nine matches. Chantale Ribble leads the Lobos with 156 kills, averaging 4.22 per set, and also has a team-high 40 blocks. Elsa Krieg has 72 kills and 38 blocks. New Mexico has swept six of its 11 matches.
Arkansas-Little Rock is 4-5 on the season, dropping four of its last six matches. Edina Begic leads the team with 191 kills, 5.31 per set, and is second on the team with 122 digs. Libero Emily Pepperman leads the team with 148 digs, averaging 4.11 per set. Adisa Hodzic has 42 blocks and is third on the team with 88 kills.
The Mustangs are 2-5 all-time against the field, going just 1-4 against New Mexico. SMU's lone win against the Lobos came in 1999. The Mustangs won their only meeting with Arkansas-Little Rock, taking a 3-2 win in 1997, and SMU is 1-1 against the Sooners. SMU won the first meeting 3-0 in 2001, and Oklahoma evened the series with a 3-0 win last August.
MANNING CHASING CAREER RECORDS
Courtney Manning broke her own SMU single-season blocks record last season with an NCAA-high 185 total blocks. As a sophomore, Manning posted 162 blocks, breaking Natalie Peters' record of 151 set in 2005. Manning is third all-time in Conference USA for a season. The senior is second on the career chart at SMU with 499 total blocks, and ranks seventh in C-USA. Kendra Kahanek holds the school record with 530 blocks, and Stephanie Meinig set the conference mark with 593.
Courtney Manning was named First Team All-Conference USA and All-Midwest Region honorable mention after leading the nation with 185 blocks as a junior. She averaged 1.45 blocks per set, and led the team with a .307 attack percentage. The middle blocker was third on the team with 274 kills and had 79 digs. Manning earned second team All-Conference honors as a sophomore.
Caroline Young became the first Mustang to be named to the C-USA All-Freshmen team since Dana Powell earned the honor in 2008. Powell went on to earn All-Conference USA accolades the next three years, and was twice selected as All-America Honorable Mention. Young finished her first season with 250 kills, hitting .241. She also had 43 digs and 59 blocks.
The Mustangs have led Conference USA in blocks in each of the last three seasons and four times in the past six years, and ranked no worse than third in digs in the past five season. SMU led the conference in digs in 2010, and was second in the league in 2007, 2009 and 2011. The Mustangs were 11th in the nation last season with 2.78 blocks per set, and 40th in digs per set with 17.05. Courtney Manning and Caroline Daly were each in the top-50 in the country in blocks, while Sidney Stewart was 60th with 4.88 digs per set.
Seniors Courtney Manning, Susan Lewis and Olivia Bailey were elected by their teammates to serve as team captains. The trio mixes experience in the program with a fresh take from Bailey, who returns home to Dallas after three seasons at Loyola Marymount in California. Bailey ranks fifth all-time at LMU in assists with 2,340 in three seasons. Courtney Manning, a three-year starter for the Mustangs, has 475 career blocks, and broke her own single-season school-record with 185 blocks last season. She was named first team All-Conference USA, and garnered All-Midwest Region honors as well. Susan Lewis has played in 208 sets in 71 matches as a defensive specialist. She has 261 career digs and 17 assists.
2011 BLOCK PARTY
Caroline Daly became just the fifth Mustang to have at least 150 total blocks in a season. The sophomore finished the year with 155 blocks, ranking third behind a pair of marks set by teammate Courtney Manning. Daly was 45th in the NCAA last season, averaging 1.21 blocks per set. She also had 86 kills, 29 digs and five assists.
After losing four seniors last season, and entering this season with just two returning seniors, the Mustangs added experience to the young roster with transfers Olivia Bailey and Maddie Lozano. Bailey climbed into the top-five at Loyola Marymount in assists with 2,340 in three years. The Dallas native returned home for her senior season, joined by Lozano, who brings PAC 12 experience to the SMU program. The 6-2 middle blocker played in 49 matches at Arizona over her first two seasons, with 72 blocks and 71 kills.
Freshman outside hitter Cailin Bula and senior middle blocker Courtney Manning were named to the Georgia Tech Courtyard Invitational All-Tournament team, leading the Mustangs to a 3-0 win over Charleston Southern, and a five-set loss to Georgia Tech. Bula led the team with 34 kills, hitting .410, and Manning hit .391 with 23 kills and had 12 blocks. Caroline Young was named to the TCU Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team after leading SMU with 53 kills in three matches. Young added a second All-Tournament award to her resume at the SMU Doubletree Classic, averaging 3.55 kills per set. She led the Mustangs with 39 in the three matches. The sophomore also had 17 digs, two blcoks and eight aces.
ARMSTRONG GOES FOR DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Carla Armstrong accomplished the first double-double of the season for the Mustangs, scoring 10 kills with 10 digs against Cal State Fullerton for the first of her career. The sophomore finished the weekend with 27 kills, 20 digs and had six blocks. She also had two assists and five aces, ranking second on the team with 35.0 points scored.
The Mustangs are sixth in Conference USA in blocks per set, averaging 1.88 per set. Junior transfer Maddie Lozano, who is 6-1, has a team-high 31 blocks, and is eighth in the league with 0.97 per set. Six-foot middle blocker Courtney Manning has 24 blocks, needing just one to reach 500 in her career. Outside hitter Caroline Young also has 13 blocks.
FILLING THE VOID
Senior Susan Lewis and sophomore Julianne Scheidler were called upon to fill the void left by the graduation of libero Sidney Stewart, SMU's all-time digs leader. The duo had combined for just 305 digs in four total seasons, less than half of Stewart's single-season record 625 as a senior. In just six matches this season, Lewis and Scheidler have combined for 162 of SMU's 420 digs.
ACE IN THE HOLE
The Mustangs are leading Conference USA, averaging 1.47 aces per set, and they are fourth in the league in total aces with 47 in nine matches. Caroline Young is third in C-USA and tied for 46th in the NCAA, averaging 0.47 aces per set. She has 15 total aces, ranking second in the league.
After missing the first three matches due to injury, senior transfer Olivia Bailey is climbing the conference assists chart. In six matches with the Mustangs, Bailey is third in Conference USA, averaging 9.67 per set. She has 203 assists, and has also recorded 15 kills and 12 blocks.