Nov. 15, 2012
The Mustangs take on the No. 1 seed and host of the Conference USA Championship Tulsa on Friday at noon in Tulsa, Okla. SMU pushed the three-time regular season champions to four sets on the road in the first conference match of the season on Sept. 19, but were unable to come away with the victory.
SMU Winning Streak Comes To An End At Home Against Tulsa
DALLAS (SMU) - Sophomore Caroline Young and freshman Abbey Bybel each had a match-high 10 kills to lead the Mustangs against Tulsa Friday night in Moody Coliseum, but it wasn't enough to stretch SMU's four-match winning streak to five as the league-leading Golden Hurricane improved to 9-1 in Conference USA matches, 16-8 overall. The Mustangs fell to 8-14, 5-5 in conference matches after the 3-0 loss (25-21, 25-14, 25-17).
The young SMU squad, which includes a sophomore and two, sometimes three, freshmen in the starting lineup, has dropped 16 of 107 set by just two points, including the fifth set at Georgia Tech. The Mustangs also fell by just three points in the fifth at UAB.
Tulsa comes into the matchup with a 21-9 record overall and a 14-2 conference mark, winning eight of its last 10 matches. Tyler Henderson was named C-USA Player of the Year and is second in the NCAA with 5. 09 kills per set. The Mustangs will also be facing the Libero of the Year in Tulsa's Jessica Adams, who is in the top 50 in the country with 5.15 digs per set.
The Mustangs are 19-15 all-time against the Golden Hurricane, facing each other twice a year since the SMU program started in 1996. The two teams have met in the postseason just once before with Tulsa taking a 3-0 win in the 2006 C-USA tournament.
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 94 blocks this season, taking her career total to 569. 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 11 of the last 17 matches, scoring at least 10 in six matches including a career-high 16 kills against Arkansas-Little Rock. She is sixth in Conference USA with a .305 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 121 blocks, ranking fourth in Conference USA with 1.14 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 94 this season. Lozano has had at least four blocks in 18 matches, including 13 of the last 17. She also posted a season-high 15 kills against Memphis for her first double-double, and has reached double figures eight times, including four of the last six matches. Lozano is second on the team with 219 kills.
Six Mustangs have combined for 13 double-doubles this season, led by Olivia Bailey's seven. 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. She posted her seventh of the season with 44 assists and 14 digs at home against Rice on Senior Day. 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 9.52 assists per set, and is averaging 9.81 assists per set in C-USA matches, fourth in the league. 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 11 matches, including seven of the last nine. She is also second on the team with 208 digs and has 44 blocks. Freshman Avery Acker has 209 assists. She has had at least 20 assists in six matches, and is fourth on the team with 159 digs.
Sophomore Caroline Young has been SMU's most dominant and consistent offensive threat this season, scoring at least 10 kills in 19 matches, including 10 of the last 11. She is ninth in Conference USA, averaging 3.34 per set for the season. She has posted at least 20 kills seven 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 20th in the NCAA with 0.43 aces per set, and has 46 aces overall, 16th in the country.
Freshman Abbey Bybel has inserted herself into the SMU offensive attack. The 6-0 middle blocker has at least 10 kills in seven matches, including a season-high 16 kills at 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 has 167 kills on the season, fourth on the team, and also has 20 blocks with 87 digs.
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 17 of the last 19 matches, including the last 11 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 3.50 digs per set, and is averaging 3.72 digs per set in conference matches.