Oct. 23, 2013
The Last Meeting
November 9, 2012
Lozano And Manning Lead Mustangs To 3-1 Win Over Houston
DALLAS (SMU) - Maddie Lozano and Courtney Manning each had 10 kills to lead the Mustangs to a thrilling 3-1 win over Houston (25-22, 27-29, 25-20, 25-22) in Moody Coliseum Friday night. Lozano had six blocks, and Manning finished with four to take her career total to 365 and now just needs 13 blocks to climb to second all-time in C-USA history.
The Mustangs host Houston Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Dedman Center, marking the midpoint of the American Athletic Conference schedule. The two teams are tied for fourth in the league, with 5-3 records in the American after facing each of the other eight teams in the conference.
Each team lost to Temple, Louisville and South Florida in conference matches, pitting the travel partners against each other for the midway advantage in the league. The former Conference USA rivals have faced each other 21 times, and the Cougars hold an 11-10 lead in the all-time series, but the Mustangs have won 10 of the last 14, including five straight in Dallas.
Against conference opponents, the Mustangs enter the match second in the American in hitting percentage, .238, kills per set, 13.45, and opponent hitting percentage, .149. Caroline Young leads the team with 3.46 kills per set, and is second against conference foes with 3.72 per set, hitting .344 in league matches.
The Cougars are in the bottom half of the league offensively, but freshman Sarita Mikals has a team-high 281 kills and is sixth in the conference overall with 3.35 per set. In conference matches, Houston is four spots ahead of SMU in the league, ranking fifth with 16.70 digs per set, and the two teams are at the top of the American in aces against league opponents, with 43 each.
SMU will get Sunday off before hosting Rutgers and Connecticut on the first weekend in November. After the homestand, the Mustangs will play five of their last seven matches on the road.
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 tied for second in the American Athletic Conference, hitting .235 as a team. In conference matches, SMU is hitting .238. Three Mustangs are in the top 10 individually, led by junior Caroline Young, who is fifth in the league at .286, and is hitting .344 in American matches. Freshman Janelle Giordano is sixth with a .279 attack percentage, and Maddie Lozano is 10th in the conference, hitting .238.
Avery Acker is second in the American Athletic Conference and 33rd in the NCAA, averaging 10.99 assists per set. She has 802 on the season, and recorded a career-high 57 in a four-set win against Davidson. The sophomore is the only player in the American with more than 300 assists in league matches, recording 331 through eight matches. She is averaging 11.41 assists per set in conference play, just 0.05 behind Katie George at Louisville, who leads the league with 11.46 per set. She has finished with at least 50 in a match five times, including two American matches. Acker has a team-high nine double-doubles, including five conference matches, scoring a season-high 17 digs at Rutgers with 51 assists.
OFF THE BLOCK
The Mustangs are fifth in the American Athletic Conference with 2.22 blocks per set, and with 72.5 blocks in American matches, SMU is second behind league-leader Connecticut. Maddie Lozano is tied for second in the league with 1.11 blocks per set, and is fifth with 82 total blocks. She has 214 in just two seasons on the Hilltop, matching Kelly Larkan for 10th all-time at SMU. Freshman Janelle Giordano is seventh in the league with 70 blocks. SMU has 173.0 blocks on the season, including a season-high 13.5 against San Francisco.
Caroline Young leads the Mustangs in kills, 270, aces, 27, and points, 321.0. She ranks fifth in the American with 3.46 kills per set, and is second the league with 3.72 per set in conference matches. Her 27 aces are tied for second overall. The junior also has 130 digs, including a season-high 15 at Rutgers for her second of four double-doubles on the season, and 47 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. She has earned two conference Player of the Week awards this season.
THE DIFFERENT JERSEY
While the Mustangs are averaging just 13.38 digs per set this season, Morgan Heise is averaging more than 25 percent of the team's digs. The freshman libero has 277 digs, ranking 10th in the American with 3.55 per set. She has posted at least 10 digs in 17 matches, including 15 of the last 16, with a season-high 18 at College of Charleston and at Memphis. She has 110 digs in American matches, averaging 3.79 per set. She earned Best Libero honors at the SMU Invitational with 36 digs in 10 sets.
The Mustangs have three freshmen in the regular rotation, with Janelle Giordano and Morgan Heise starting every match. Kristen Stehling has played in 19 matches with six starts, and has scored 94 kills as one of four players to see time as a left side hitter. She also has 42 digs and 15 blocks. Morgan Heise has played every set at libero for SMU this season, and ranks 10th in the American with 3.55 digs per set. Janelle Giordano has also started every match, splitting rotations with senior middle blocker Maddie Lozano. Giordano has 70 blocks, seventh in the league, and is sixth in the conference with a .279 attack percentage.
MAKING IT COUNT
In her first start of the season, senior Caroline Daly scored season highs with five kills and five blocks in SMU's 3-0 win against UCF. She numerous blocks that were continued by the Knights during the match, holding one of the most efficient attacking offenses in the American Athletic Conference to a .164 attack percentage, nearly 100 points below its league-leading season average.
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.