Nov. 7, 2012
The Mustangs host Houston and Rice on the final weekend of Conference USA matches; taking on the Cougars on Friday in Moody Coliseum at 7 p.m. SMU will celebrate Senior Day, honoring Olivia Bailey, Susan Lewis and Courtney Manning before the match against the Owls on Sunday, which is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
SMU dropped the first meeting of the season against the two teams, falling on the road late in September, but the Mustangs are a combined 9-3 at home against the in-state rivals since 2006. Against Houston, SMU has won five of the last six matches in Moody, including the last four straight, and the Mustangs are 4-2 against Rice since 2006.
The Mustangs pushed Rice, the No. 2 team in Conference USA, to five sets in Houston in the first meeting, led by freshman Abbey Bybel, who had 16 kills and 13 digs, both season highs. The Mustangs had 15 blocks in the match, which is second this season behind 19 team blocks against Memphis. Courtney Manning had eight and Maddie Lozano added seven. Susan Lewis and Avery Acker each had more than 20 digs in the match.
Houston leads the Mustangs by one match in the standings, taking the first meeting in Houston. Katie Norris leads the Cougars and is fourth in the conference with 3.88 kills per set, and Chandace Tryon is one of five players in the league averaging more than a block per set with 1.09. Nancy Cole leads Rice with 3.59 kills per set, and is second in the league hitting .329.
Sophomore Caroline Young has been SMU's most dominant and consistent offensive threat this season, scoring at least 10 kills in 18 matches, including the last nine straight. She is ninth in Conference USA, averaging 3.31 per set for the season. She has posted at least 20 kills six 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 in second C-USA and 26th in the NCAA with 0.41 aces per set, and has 41 aces overall.
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 has 86 blocks this season, taking her career total to 561. 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 10 of the last 15 matches, scoring at least 10 in five matches including a career-high 16 kills against Arkansas-Little Rock. She is fourth in Conference USA with a .320 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 .287.
TRANSFER TAKING CHARGE
Junior transfer Maddie Lozano is leading the Mustangs with 110 blocks, ranking fourth in Conference USA with 1.12 blocks per set. She recorded 12 blocks, including four solo blocks against Memphis, which is tied for third in a match all-time at SMU. Making the feat even more impressive, two-time single-season record setter Courtney Manning is still posting blocks, recording 86 this season. Lozano has had at least four blocks in 16 matches, including 11 of the last 15. She also posted a season-high 15 kills against Memphis for her first double-double, and has reached double figures six times, including four of the last seven matches. Lozano is second on the team with 197 kills.
Six Mustangs have combined for 13 double-doubles this season, led by Olivia Bailey's six. 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, and added a sixth with 48 assists and 17 digs at UAB. 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. Maddie Lozano recorded her first double-double with 15 kills and 12 blocks agaisnt Memphis, and Cailin Bula posted the most recent with 11 kills and 10 digs at UTEP.
SETTING THE TABLE
Senior transfer Olivia Bailey is fifth in Conference USA, averaging 9.40 assists per set, and is averaging 9.26 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. She has recorded at least 40 assists in nine matches, including five of the last seven. She is also second on the team with 188 digs and has 40 blocks. Freshman Avery Acker has 206 assists. She has had at least 20 assists in six matches, and is fourth on the team with 153 digs.
Freshman Abbey Bybel has inserted herself into the SMU offensive attack. The 6-0 middle blocker has at least 10 kills in five of the last seven matches, and reached double figures seven times this season, including a season-high 16 kills against Rice. She led SMU with 11 in the 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 20 blocks and 87 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 15 of the last 17 matches, including the last nine in a row, 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 10th overall with 3.42 digs per set, and ranks 10th in the league in conference matches, averaging 3.62 digs per set.