Oct. 2, 2013
The Mustangs return home for the first time since the first weekend in September to host Louisville, the American Athletic Conference preseason favorite, Friday a 7 p.m., and will conclude the first home weekend of conference matches against Cincinnati Sunday at 1 p.m.
The matchup with Louisville will put the two-time defending conference Player of the Week, SMU's Caroline Young, against the two-time defending conference Freshman of the Week, Maya McClendon. Young led the Mustangs to a 2-0 record and the league's first win, a sweep at Connecticut, and is fifth in the American with 3.46 kills per set, scoring 32 in two conference matches. The junior is also 10th in hitting percentage, .268, and tied for third with 18 aces.
SMU is third in the league in kills as a team, averaging 13.45 per set, and the Mustangs are second in hitting percentage, .237. Freshman Janelle Giordano leads the team and is fouth in the American, hitting .312. SMU is in the top five in the league in six of seven statistical categories overall. In conference matches only, the Mustangs are in the top three of all seven categories and either first or second in five categories.
Louisville, the 2012 BIG EAST tournament champion, is one of three teams with a 2-0 record after the first weekend of league matches, and the Cardinals are 6-6 overall. McClendon leads the team with 3.00 kills per set, but is hitting just .191. As a team, Louisville is third in the league with a .221 attack percentage and fourth with 11.98 kills per set.
Cincinnati enters the weekend winless in 15 matches this season, and has been swept 10 times. The Bearcats play at Houston Friday before coming to Dallas for Sunday's match. Ciara Hill leads the team with 2.67 kills per set, but the Bearcats are last in the league in attack percentage, .097, kills, 10.04, and assists, 9.15.
SMU is playing both Louisville and Cincinnati for the first time in program history. All home matches are played at the Dedman Center on campus, and there is no charge for admission.
SMU recorded the first conference win in the history of the American Athletic Conference, defeating Connecticut 3-0 in 1:25, eight minutes faster than Houston swept Rutgers on Friday, Sept. 27. Caroline Young had 15 kills, SMU hit .317 as a team, and three players had at least 10 digs. SMU held UConn to a .178 attack percentage, and had 44 digs to 32 by the Huskies.
ON THE MARK
The Mustangs are the American Athletic Conference's second-most efficient hitting team, with a .237 attack percentage. In conference matches, SMU is hitting a league-best .269. Three Mustangs are in the top 10 individually, led by freshman Janelle Giordano, who is hitting .312. Maddie Lozano ranks sixth, hitting .283, and Caroline Young climbed to 10th, raising her attack percentage to .268 after hitting .365 in the first two conference matches.
Avery Acker is third in the American Athletic Conference and 35th in the NCAA, averaging 10.96 assists per set. She has 559 on the season, and recorded a career-high 57 in a four-set win against Davidson. She has finished with at least 50 assists in four matches this season, including one American match. The sophomore also has a team-high six double-doubles, including the first two conference matches, scoring a season-high 17 digs at Rutgers with 51 assists. The sophomore is second on the team with 129 digs and has 27 blocks.
OFF THE BLOCK
The Mustangs are fifth in the American Athletic Conference with 2.21 blocks per set, but had 23 in seven sets during the first two matches of conference play. Maddie Lozano is second in the league and ranks in the top 100 nationally with 1.16 blocks per set, and is third with 64 total blocks. Freshman Jenelle Giordano is seventh in the conference with 47 blocks. Caroline Young has 34, and Avery Acker has 27. SMU has 124.0 blocks on the season, including a season-high 13.5 against San Francisco.
Maddie Lozano is second on the team in attack percentage among Mustangs with at least 100 attempts, .283, and kills, 128. She is in the top 10 in the American Athletic Conference in both hitting percentage and blocks per set, with 64 blocks, ranking 90th in the country with 1.16 per set. Lozano has 196 in just her second season on the Hilltop, and is closing in on the top 10 all-time at SMU. She needs 19 to pass Kelly Larkan (214, 2001-05).
Caroline Young leads the Mustangs in kills, 194, aces, 18, and points, 229.5. She ranks fifth in the American with 3.46 kills per set, and her 18 aces are tied for third. The junior also has 81 digs, including a season-high 15 at Rutgers for her second double-double of the season, and 34 blocks. As a sophomore, Young earned All-America honorable mention, and she is on pace to climb into the top 10 all-time in kills at SMU.
THE DIFFERENT JERSEY
While the Mustangs are averaging just 13.14 digs per set this season, Morgan Heise is averaging more than 25 percent of the team's digs. The freshman libero has 190 digs, ranking 10th in the American with 3.39 per set. She posted at least 10 digs in 11 matches, including nine of the last 10, with a season-high 18 at College of Charleston. She earned her first all-tournament award, taking home Best Libero honors at the SMU Invitational with 36 digs in 10 sets.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Caroline Young was named American Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, becoming the first player in league history to earn multiple honors. She earned the first award in conference play after leading the SMU volleyball team to a 2-0 record on the league's first weekend. Young had 32 kills in seven sets against UConn and Rutgers, and was one of just two players in the conference to average 5.0 kills per set in a match with her 15 in Storrs, Conn. Young scored her second double-double of the season with 17 kills and 15 digs in a 3-1 win at Rutgers as the Mustangs picked up their 10th win of the season. The outside hitter had a .365 attack percentage for the weekend, and also had seven blocks.
START OF A NEW ERA
Joining the American Athletic Conference for its inaugural season, the SMU volleyball team is competing in its third conference since the program's inception in 1996. The American consists of 10 teams during its first season, highlighted by preseason favorite Louisville, a team that went 30-4 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. The league includes former BIG EAST members Temple (19-11), Connecticut (19-12), Rutgers (18-12), USF (17-15) and Cincinnati (12-20), as well as former Conference USA members Memphis (20-13), UCF (18-15) and Houston (9-19).
A TEMPORARY HOME
SMU will play its home matches in the Dedman Center on campus while the renovation project is completed on Moody Coliseum, the home of SMU volleyball and men's and women's basketball. The Dedman Center, located directly south of Moody Coliseum, serves as a multi-sport and recreational activity facility for SMU students and members of the community. The $47-million renovation project will be completed in time for SMU's December Commencement ceremony, and the Mustangs will return for the 2014 volleyball season.