Nov. 9, 2011
The Mustangs close out a four-match road trip in Houston against the Cougars Friday night and against Rice on Sunday, before returning home for three matches to close out the regular season. Both Houston and Rice are 10-5 in Conference USA, two games ahead of the Mustangs. SMU split the first two matches of the road trip at Southern Miss, with both matches going five sets, to improve to 5-2 in the last seven matches.
Courtney Manning and Sidney Stewart lead the way defensively, both near the top of the conference in their respective statistical categories. Manning is first in the league and 16th in the NCAA with 1.43 blocks per set, and needs just nine more to break her own single-season school record of 162, which she set last season. Stewart is second in the conference and 40th in the NCAA with 5.06 digs per set. As a team, the Mustangs are second in the conference in both digs (17.47/set) and blocks (2.72/set).
After a six-match winning streak, which started after SMU won 3-2 in Dallas, Houston has won just one of its last four matches entering the contest with the Mustangs. Lucy Charuk leads the team with 3.18 kills per set, scoring 315 on the season, and is second in the conference with 1.34 blocks per set. Charuk leads the conference, hitting .403 on the season. As a team, Houston is second in the league, hitting .247. Katie Norris has also recorded 300 kills this season.
The Owls come into the weekend having swept six of their last nine matches and winning seven of their last 10. Nancy Cole leads the team and is 10th in the conference with 3.19 kills per set, scoring 309 kills on the season. The Owls also pose a threat at the net on defense, led by Jillian Humphrey, who is fifth in the league with 1.14 blocks per set.
IN THE PAST
The Mustangs are 8-10 all-time against Houston, and after a 3-2 victory in the first meeting this season, SMU has won five of the last six matches with the Cougars. SMU is 11-20 all-time against Rice, but the Owls snapped a three-match winning streak by the Mustangs with a 3-1 win in Dallas earlier this season.
MANNING CLOSES IN ON BLOCKS RECORD;OLIVER CLIMBS CAREER CHART
As a sophomore, Courtney Manning broke the SMU single-season blocks record with 162 total blocks. The previous record was set in 2005 when Natalie Peters had 151 total blocks. This season, Manning has 154 blocks, pushing her career total to 444 blocks, ranking third in school history. Jessica Oliver is fifth with 402. The career record at SMU is 530 blocks, set by Kendra Kahanek from 2006-09. In Conference USA history, 21 players have achieved at least 400 blocks.
STEWART IS FIRST MUSTANG TO 2000 DIGS
Sidney Stewart became the first Mustang and fourth player in Conference USA history to record 2,000 digs in her career. With 27 at UAB on Oct. 16, Stewart pushed her career total to 2,008. The senior currently has 2,140, third all-time in C-USA. Stewart set the school record as a junior, finishing her third season with 1,593 digs. This season, she is second in C-USA and 40th in the NCAA with 5.06 digs per set. Stewart also set the SMU record for digs in a match with 42 against Alabama, one shy of the C-USA mark.
In 2011, SMU has established itself as one of the top defensive teams in the league once again. The Mustangs are second in the conference and 20th in the NCAA with 2.72 blocks per set and second in the league and 26th in the country with 17.47 digs per set. Courtney Manning leads C-USA in blocks and is 16th in the NCAA with 1.43 per set, and Sidney Stewart is second in the conference in digs and 40th in the country with 5.06 per set.
TWICE AS NICE
Dana Powell became the first SMU volleyball player to receive All-America honors, being named honorable mention in 2009 after her sophomore season. Last year, Powell was again named Honorable Mention All-America after leading the team in digs for the second straight season with 416. She also had 445 digs and 75 blocks.
Six Mustangs have combined for 42 double-doubles this season. Senior Dana Powell leads the team with 17, and had a string of six-straight starting Sept. 25 at UTEP until Oct. 9 against Tulane. Kelli Becerra has 16, and freshman Savannah Myklebust has three double-doubles. Kendrick Koch recorded the first two of her career against ECU and Marshall and added a pair against Southern Miss for four total. Courtney Manning and Jessica Oliver each have one.
BECERRA CLOSES IN ON TOP-FIVE IN DIGS
Kelli Becerra became the second setter in SMU history to achieve at least 4,000 assists and 1,000 digs. She has 1,206 career digs, ranking sixth all-time at SMU and first among setters at the school. The senior is second all-time at SMU with 4,074 assists, one of just five Mustangs to have at least 3,000 assists. She is only the second player in SMU history and 17th player in Conference USA history with at least 4,000 assists.
The Mustangs have four seniors leading the charge in 2011. Dana Powell, Jessica Oliver, Sidney Stewart and Kelli Becerra have combined to go 58-35 over the past three seasons. Each of the four seniors has already written their name in the SMU record book. Stewart owns the career digs record (2,140), Powell is second in kills (1,465) and third in digs (1,571). Becerra is second in assists (4,015) and sixth in digs (1,206) and Oliver is fifth in blocks (413). The 2010 senior class won 74 matches, more than any other graduating class in program history.
TAKING OUT THE TOP
The Mustangs have beaten each of the top three teams in Conference USA up to this point, sweeping UAB twice and taking a road win at Tulsa. SMU snapped Tulsa's 26-match conference winning streak, one that dated back to 2009, with a 3-1 victory. Tulsa is at the top of the C-USA standings with an 14-1 league mark. SMU also handed Houston its second league loss of the year. Houston is in a three-way tie for second with UAB and Rice at 10-5.
The Mustangs are 5-2 in their last seven matches, including three victories in straight sets. SMU extended its winning streak over second-place UAB to five matches, all sweeps, and moved into a tie for fifth two games behind three teams tied for second with five matches left.
POWELL CHASES ANOTHER MILESTONE
Dana Powell needs just 35 kills to become the first player at SMU to have 1,500 kills and 1,500 digs in a career. The senior has 1,571 digs (3rd at SMU) and 1,465 kills (2nd at SMU), and is one of just six players in school history with at least 1,000 in each category. Erin Pryor is the only Mustangs with more than 1,500 kills, setting the school record with 1,789 in 1999. Only three players have more than 1,500 digs in a career.