Women's Volleyball

Mustangs Start Three-Match Homestand Against UTEP Friday

Go smu! Dana Powell
Go smu!
Dana Powell
Go smu!

Nov. 17, 2011

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The Mustangs kick off a three-match homestand Friday night against UTEP at 7 p.m. SMU will also host UCF on Sunday at 1 p.m. before wrapping up the regular season against Tulsa on Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. UCF and UTEP both beat the Mustangs on the first weekend of conference play, while SMU ended Tulsa's 26-match conference winning streak earlier this season, all on the road.

SMU enters the weekend having won five of its last six matches at home and is 7-3 in Moody Coliseum this season. The Mustangs are one of the top defensive teams in the NCAA, as well as Conference USA, led by senior Sidney Stewart and junior Courtney Manning. SMU is 18th in the NCAA and second in C-USA in blocks with 2.75 per set, led by Manning's league-high 1.45 per set, 10th in the NCAA. SMU is also second in the league and 30th in the NCAA with 17.34 digs per set, led by Stewart's 4.99 per set, second in C-USA and 51st in the NCAA.

UTEP comes into the match 19-11 overall and are tied with SMU at 9-8, but are just 5-6 on the road and 3-5 in road conference matches. Xitlali Herrera leads the team and is eighth in the conference with 3.29 kills per set. She also has a team-high 126 blocks and is second on the team with 2.47 digs per set.

UCF enters the weekend 18-10 overall and one match ahead of SMU in the conference standings at 10-7. The Knights have won five of their last six matches after starting the conference schedule 5-6. Angelica Crump leads the team and is third in the league with 4.28 kills per set. As a team, the Knights are second in hitting percentage, .243, and kills per set, 14.10.

The Mustangs are 18-8 all-time against the Miners and 6-2 all-time against the Knights. SMU has won eight of the last 11 against UTEP, but lost 3-2 in El Paso earlier this season. The Knights earned just their second win against SMU in a series which started in 2005 with a win in the first conference game of the season for the Mustangs.

Dana Powell became the first player at SMU to have at least 1,500 kills and 1,500 digs in a career. With 12 kills at Rice on Nov. 13, the senior has pushed her career total to 1,502 (2nd at SMU). She is also second in shcool history behind teammate Sidney Stewart with 1,596 digs. Powell is one of just six players in school history with at least 1,000 in each category. Erin Pryor is the only other Mustang 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.

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 2,167, third all-time in C-USA and is just two digs from climbing to second. Stewart set the school record as a junior, finishing her third season with 1,593 digs. This season, she is third in C-USA and 51st in the NCAA with 4.99 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 18th in the NCAA with 2.75 blocks per set and second in the league and 30th in the country with 17.34 digs per set. Courtney Manning leads C-USA in blocks and is 10th in the NCAA with 1.45 per set, and Sidney Stewart is third in the conference in digs and 51st in the country with 4.99 per set.

Six Mustangs have combined for 45 double-doubles this season. Senior Dana Powell leads the team with 19, and had a string of six-straight starting Sept. 25 at UTEP until Oct. 9 against Tulane. Kelli Becerra has 17, 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.

Kelli Becerra became the second setter in SMU history to achieve at least 4,000 assists and 1,000 digs. She has 1,229 career digs, ranking sixth all-time at SMU and first among setters at the school. The senior is second all-time at SMU with 4,112 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.

Courtney Manning broke her own SMU single-season blocks record with 10 blocks against Houston on Nov. 11, giving her 164 on the season. She now has 167 total blocks this season, which is second in the NCAA. As a sophomore, Manning had 162 total blocks. Manning has 457 career 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.

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 (2,167), Powell is second in kills (1,502) and digs (1,596). Becerra is second in assists (4,112) and sixth in digs (1,229) and Oliver is fifth in blocks (424). The 2010 senior class won 74 matches, more than any other graduating class in program history.

With SMU's 3-1 win at Houston, Lisa Seifert earned her 250th win as a head coach, all at SMU. Seifert started the program in 1996 and has been the only head coach. She has a 250-238 all-time record and set a school record with 25 wins last season.



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