Sept. 20, 2012
After four matches on the road, the Mustangs return to Moody Coliseum Friday, hosting East Carolina at 7 p.m. Binkley Ave. is closed due to construction on the north side of Moody Coliseum, but fans can park in Moody Garage and enter the coliseum through the main gate on the west side. SMU will also face Marshall at home on Sunday at 1 p.m. before going on another 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.
The Mustangs enter the weekend 0-1 in Conference USA and 3-10 overall after coming up short at defending C-USA Champion Tulsa. SMU edged out the Golden Hurricane 26-24 in the second set to even the match, but fell 25-23 in the third and Tulsa won the fourth to end the match.
East Carolina is just 1-11 on the season, 0-1 in C-USA after losing to Marshall 3-1, and the Pirates have lost their last 10 matches, including six sweeps. Nicole Willis leads the team with 120 kills, averaging 3.87 per set, and Hannah Allgood has 102 kills. Kelly Derby is leading the conference with 63 blocks, averaging 1.43 per set.
Marshall comes into the weekend 11-4 overall, 1-0 in C-USA, holding opponents to a league-low .165 hitting percentage. Laura Der leads the Thundering Herd with 3.87 kills per set, and Sammie Bane averages 10.15 assists per set.
SMU is 5-4 all-time against East Carolina, winning the last four matches 3-0. The two teams first met on Oct. 28, 2005, with SMU taking a 3-2 victory on the road. The Mustangs are 4-4 overall against the Thundering Herd, winning four of the last five. The first meeting was on Oct. 30, 2005.
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 510 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 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.
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, and has 288 assists this year and is third on the team with 91 digs. Lozano 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. The junior is sixth in C-USA with a team-high 49 blocks, and has 77 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.
The Mustangs are fifth in Conference USA in blocks per set, averaging 1.94 per set. Junior transfer Maddie Lozano, who is 6-1, has a team-high 49 blocks, and is fifth in the league with 1.04 per set. Six-foot middle blocker Courtney Manning has 35 blocks, needing just 21 to set a new SMU career record. Outside hitter Caroline Young also has 19 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 13 matches, the duo has combined for 255 of SMU's 633 digs. Lewis posted a career-high 29 digs in the 3-2 win over UALR in the last match. Senior transfer Olivia Bailey is third on the team with 91 digs, 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 three 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. She finished with 31 assists and 18 digs at Tulsa. 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.