Sept. 18, 2012
The Mustangs take on defending Conference USA champion Tulsa Wednesday night in Tulsa, Okla., in the first C-USA match of the season for both teams. The Golden Hurricane enters the contest with a 7-7 record after losing four of its last five, while the Mustangs are 3-9. SMU edged out Arkansas-Little Rock in its last match, taking a 3-2 victory, with a 17-15 win in the fifth set.
SMU is led offensively by sophomore Caroline Young, who is 11th in Conference USA with 3.49 kills per set. The former C-USA Player of the Week has 150 kills this season, and is also third in the league with 16 service aces. Senior Courtney Manning recorded her 500th career block against Oklahoma on Friday, and is now sixth in C-USA history with 507 blocks. She needs just 24 to break Kendra Kahanek's SMU record of 530 career blocks.
The Mustangs handed Tulsa its only two conference losses last season, winning a pair of five-set matches. SMU is 19-13 all-time in the series, which began on Oct. 26, 1996 with the Mustangs taking a 3-1 victory in Tulsa. SMU went on to win the first five matches in the series, and later won eight in a row from 2000-2004, the longest winning streak by either team in the series.
Tyler Henderson, the two-time defending C-USA Player of the Year, leads the league with 5.44 kills per set, and is second on the team with 25 blocks. The senior has 261 kills on the season. Kellie Culbertson is second on the team with 2.94 kills per set, and Jessica Adams leads the team with 233 digs, ranking second in C-USA with 4.57 per set.
The Mustangs return to Moody Coliseum Friday, hosting East Carolina at 7 p.m. SMU will also face Marshall at home on Sunday at 1 p.m. before going on a four-match road trip. All tickets for Sunday's match are one dollar. For tickets, call 214-SMU-GAME, or visit www.smumustangs.com/tickets.
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 507 total blocks, and ranks sixth in C-USA. Kendra Kahanek holds the school record with 530 blocks, and Stephanie Meinig set the conference mark with 593.
The Mustangs are fifth in Conference USA in blocks per set, averaging 1.95 per set. Junior transfer Maddie Lozano, who is 6-1, has a team-high 45 blocks, and is fifth in the league with 1.05 per set. Six-foot middle blocker Courtney Manning has 32 blocks, needing just 24 to set a new SMU career record. Outside hitter Caroline Young also has 18 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. Over the first 12 matches, the duo has combined for 234 of SMU's 599 digs. Lewis posted a career-high 29 digs in the 3-2 win over UALR in the last match, and freshman setter Avery Acker has added 83 digs this season.
Four Mustangs have combined for five double-doubles this season. 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. Olivia Bailey has two double-doubles, scoring 39 assists with 14 digs against Army and 31 assists and 20 digs in a 3-2 win over Arkansas-Little Rock. Freshman Avery Acker posted her first double-double with 26 assists and 11 digs against Oklahoma, and Caroline Young scored 23 kills and 18 digs against Army for the first double-double of her career.
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. Manning earned her second award of the season, being named to the Oklahoma Invitational All-Tournament Team after recording her 500th career block against the Sooners. She also led SMU to a 3-2 win over Arkansas-Little Rock with 16 kills and three blocks.