Oct. 23, 2012
With just six matches remaining before the Conference USA Championship, the Mustangs are one of six teams within three matches of UAB, currently in third in the league with a 7-3 record, going into a contest with the Blazers in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday at 7 p.m. SMU enters the week with a 5-5 record in conference matches, sitting two matches behind the Blazers. The Mustangs also face Memphis this week, hosting the Tigers on Sunday at 1 p.m. Memphis is 4-6 in league play, one match behind the Mustangs and three matches behind the Blazers.
The Last Meeting
October 28, 2011
The Last Meeting
October 30, 2011
UAB is 15-11 overall, 7-1 at home, and is on an eight match winning streak, including a pair of non-conference wins. Sam Serley leads the team with 2.66 kills per set, ranking 18th in the league, but the defensive side of the net is where the Blazers stand out. UAB leads the conference with 2.44 blocks per set, with Serley averaging a league-high 1.32. The Blazers are third in the league with 16.08 digs per set. Rachel Fairbanks is second in the conference with 4.81 digs per set.
Memphis has won its last three C-USA matches to improve to 4-6 in the league and 9-16 overall. Altrese Hawkins leads the team and is fifth in the league with 3.79 kills per set, and Aleksandra Petronijevic is fifth in the conference in digs, 4.28 per set, and seventh in aces, 0.26 per set.
The Mustangs are 8-2 all-time against the Blazers and have won the last five straight, all 3-0, including three straight in Birmingham. The losing team hasn't won a set in the match since the two matches in 2005, the first year the two teams faced each other. SMU is 5-4 all-time against Memphis, going 5-1 against the Tigers in Moody Coliseum.
MANNING SETS CAREER RECORD
Courtney Manning broke Kendra Kahanek's SMU career blocks record with her first block at Southern Miss on Oct. 7, 2012, leading SMU to a come-from-behind win in the first set and eventually a sweep of the Golden Eagles. The senior 71 blocks this season, taking her career total to 543. As a junior, Manning broke her own SMU single-season blocks record with an NCAA-best 185 total blocks, which ranks third all-time in a season in Conference USA. During her sophomore campaign, she recorded 162 blocks, breaking Natalie Peters' record of 151 set in 2005. Manning is third all-time in C-USA history. Stephanie Meinig set the conference mark at 593 while playing at Cincinnati from 1997 to 2000.
MANNING GETS OFFENSIVE
Courtney Manning has made a name for herself as a blocking beast, but the senior middle blocker is also a tremendous threat on the offensive side, as well. She has had at least eight kills in eight of the last 11 matches, scoring at least 10 in five including a career-high 16 kills against Arkansas-Little Rock. She is fourth in Conference USA with a .318 hitting percentage. She hit .833 with 10 kills and no errors in 12 attempts at Southern Miss. She has hit at least .400 in nine matches, and is on pace to set the SMU career record, hitting .286.
TRANSFER TAKING CHARGE
Junior transfer Maddie Lozano is leading the Mustangs with 89 blocks, ranking fourth in Conference USA with 1.09 blocks per set. Making the feat even more impressive, two-time single-season record setter Courtney Manning is still posting blocks, recording 71 this season. Lozano has had at least four blocks in 14 matches, including nine of the last 11, and scored a season-high seven blocks at Rice. She also posted a season-high 12 kills against ECU and has reached double figures four times, including three of the last five matches. Lozano is third on the team with 154 kills.
Five Mustangs have combined for 10 double-doubles this season, led by Olivia Bailey's five. Bailey scored 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, and added 51 assists and 13 digs against Marshall. The senior setter posted her fifth double-double of the year with a season-high 53 assists and 11 digs at UCF. 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. Freshman Avery Acker has two, posting her first double-double with 26 assists and 11 digs against Oklahoma, and adding a second with 23 assists and 22 digs at Rice. Caroline Young scored 23 kills and 18 digs against Army for the first double-double of her career, and freshman Abbey Bybel got her first with 16 kills and 13 digs at Rice.
SETTING THE TABLE
Senior transfer Olivia Bailey is fifth in Conference USA, averaging 9.21 assists per set, and is averaging 9.46 assists per set in C-USA matches. She has at least 25 assists in every match she has played in except two, including a season-high 53 at UCF, eclipsing 50 for the second time this season. She also recorded 51 assists against Marshall, and had over 40 in both home wins this weekend, reaching 40 assists in three of the last four matches. She is also second on the team with 163 digs and has 29 blocks. Freshman Avery Acker has 202 assists, averaging 3.16 per set. She has had at least 20 assists in six matches, and is fourth on the team with 132 digs.
Sophomore Caroline Young has been SMU's most dominant and consistent offensive threat this season, scoring at least 10 kills in 14 matches, including eight of the last 11. She is 11th in Conference USA, averaging 3.28 per set for the season. She posted at least 20 kills five times, including a career high 26 at UCF. Young had nine kills in the second set alone against the Knights. She also had a career-high 18 digs with 23 kills against Army for her first double-double. Young leads C-USA and is tied for 18th in the NCAA with 0.43 aces per set, and leads the league with 35 aces overall. Young has scored at least three aces in three of the last four matches, including one on set point in the second set to lead SMU to a 3-1 win over UTEP. She is also third on the team with 42 blocks.
Freshman Abbey Bybel has inserted herself into the SMU offensive attack. The 6-0 middle blocker has at least five kills in 12 of the last 14 matches she has played in, and reached double figures in four of the last seven, including a season-high 16 kills against Rice. She has scored at least 10 kills five times this season, and led SMU with 11 in a 3-1 win against UTEP. Bybel also finished with 13 digs at Rice for her first double-double. She hit .400 against Texas State, scoring five kills, including the first kill of her collegiate career, with just one error in 10 attempts. She also has 14 blocks and 70 digs for the season.
LEWIS DIGS DEFENSE
Senior Susan Lewis won the starting libero position after three different players saw action in the different colored jersey early in the season. In 11 of the last 13 matches, Lewis has recorded at least 10 digs, including a career-high 29 against Arkansas-Little Rock, which is the ninth most in a match by a C-USA player this season. She ranks 11th overall with 3.52 digs per set, and ranks ninth in the league in conference matches, averaging 3.92 digs per set.