Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Look Ahead: October 31st-November 4th

 by Jen Armson-Dyer
Jennifer Armson-Dyer is currently the member services coordinator for the Badger Region Volleyball Association, and previously worked for eight years as the Media Relations director for the Penn State men’s and women’s volleyball programs. Armson-Dyer played volleyball at Northwestern University, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism, and currently lives in Milwaukee, WI with Marquette Assistant Volleyball Coach, Craig Dyer and their son, Liam.

With five weeks or less remaining in most conference action, the remaining match-ups carry the same weight as the early season ones, but the pressure increases with each contest. Here are some important battles this week:

#1 Stanford (20-2, 12-0) vs. #2 Oregon (20-1, 11-1)
It’s the second 1-2 match-up for the conference, as UCLA and USC squared off as the top two teams in the AVCA poll back in September. Undefeated in Pac-12 play and off to its best conference start since 1998, the Cardinal travel to Eugene to face the Ducks on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. PT in a match that will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. The previous meeting this season between the two teams was a five-set battle, with Stanford claiming the victory. The Cardinal use a balanced attack, with four players averaging more than 2.00 kills per set, led by Carly Wopat with 2.90 kills per set (223 kills) and Jordan Burgess with 2.87 kills per set (235 kills). Kyle Gilbert leads the defense with 4.10 digs per set (344 digs) and Wopat also leads the block with 1.49 blocks per set (115 total blocks). For Oregon, Alaina Bergsma leads the squad with 4.56 kills per set (301 kills) while Haley Jacob picks up 4.20 digs per set (277 digs) and Canace Finley collects 0.82 blocks per set (50 total blocks). Links to multimedia can be found here: http://www.goducks.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&SPID=234&SPSID=4284

Creighton (20-3, 11-1) vs. Northern Iowa (20-7, 11-2)
Off to their best start in program history and receiving 31 points in the AVCA poll, the Bluejays travel to Cedar Falls to meet up with the Panthers on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. CT. The teams currently sit 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Leah McNary leads Creighton with 2.95 kills per set (248 kills) while Kelli Browning adds in 2.94 kills per set (247 kills). Kate Elman heads up the defense with 4.99 digs per set (419 total digs) while Browning tops the blocking list with 1.73 blocks per set (145 total blocks). For Northern Iowa, Megan Lehman leads the team with 3.17 kills per set (304 kills), Candice Burke tops the defense with 5.17 digs per set (496 digs) and Shelby Kintzel leads the blocking list with 1.19 blocks per set (114 total blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.unipanthers.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=26200&SPID=90713&SPSID=627864 

Utah State (17-7, 12-2) vs. New Mexico State (17-3, 10-3)
It’s a battle of the Aggies and the lead in the Western Athletic Conference as Utah State travels to New Mexico State on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. MT. The two squads currently sit atop the standings, with Utah State holding a one-match lead due to a three-set win earlier this season. Shay Sorensen leads Utah State with 3.19 kills per set (284 kills), Ashlan Rogers heads the defense with 3.79 digs per set (337 digs) and Elle Brainard leads the blocking front with 1.48 blocks per set (132 total blocks). For New Mexico State, Meredith Hays sits atop the offensive list with 4.04 kills per set (376 kills), Hannah Walker leads the defense with 2.85 digs per set (265 digs) and Desiree Scott tops the blocking chart with 1.30 blocks per set (121 total blocks). Click here for links to multimedia: http://www.nmstatesports.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=1900&SPID=584&SPSID=9560

Portland State (17-8, 13-1) vs. Northern Arizona (19-4, 11-3)
Sitting third in the Big Sky Conference but undefeated at home , Northern Arizona hosts league-leading Portland State on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Vikings claimed the previous meeting this year in three sets and are led by Jaklyn Wheeler with 4.03 kills per set (367 kills), Kasimira Clark with 5.33 digs per set (485 digs) and Katie O’Brien with 1.05 blocks per set (86 total blocks). Kelli Dallmann leads Northern Arizona with 3.26 kills per set (277 kills) as Anna Gott collects 5.07 digs per set (431 digs) and Payton Bock tallies 1.27 blocks per set (107 total blocks). Click here for links to multimedia: http://nauathletics.com/sports/wvball/2012-13/schedule

Liberty (18-7, 8-2) vs. High Point (18-8, 7-3)
Just one match out of first place in the Big South Conference and winners of its last four contests, High Point hosts first-place Liberty on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. ET. The previous meeting between the two schools was a 3-0 Liberty win in Lynchburg, Va. Caroline Douglas leads the Flames with 3.49 kills per set (335 kills) as Gabrielle Shipe notches 3.93 digs per set (377 digs) and Kendle Rollins tops the blocking list with 1.06 blocks per set (102 total blocks). For High Point, Courtney Johnk leads the offense with 3.40 kills per set (347 kills), Annemarie Chin leads the defense with 3.55 digs per set (348 digs) and Jamie McDonald heads the blocking chart with 1.06 blocks per set (99 total blocks). Click here for links to multimedia: http://www.highpointpanthers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wvball

Which matches are you going to be following this week?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Look Ahead: Oct. 24th-28th



 by Jen Armson-Dyer
Jennifer Armson-Dyer is currently the member services coordinator for the Badger Region Volleyball Association, and previously worked for eight years as the Media Relations director for the Penn State men’s and women’s volleyball programs. Armson-Dyer played volleyball at Northwestern University, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism, and currently lives in Milwaukee, WI with Marquette Assistant Volleyball Coach, Craig Dyer and their son, Liam.

There are some huge matches this week, not only for poll and conference standings, but also for NCAA seeding down the road.

#1 Penn State (20-1, 10-0) vs. #4 Nebraska (17-2, 9-1)
Perhaps the biggest remaining match in the Big Ten and the history of the Nebraska Coliseum will be Sunday when the Nittany Lions visit the Huskers for a 1:00 p.m. CT match that will be televised on the Big Ten Network. The teams sit one-two in the Big Ten, with Penn State claiming the earlier meeting this season in four. Ariel Scott leads the Nittany Lions with 3.68 kills per set (272 kills) as Dominique Gonzalez leads the defense with 3.45 digs per set (255 digs) and Katie Slay tops the blocking list with 1.41 blocks per set (100 total blocks). For Nebraska, Gina Mancuso tops the squad with 3.42 kills per set (229 kills) as Hannah Werth leads the defense with 3.31 digs per set (222 digs) and Hayley Thramer heads the blocking chart with 1.24 blocks per set (82 total blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.huskers.com/SportSelect.dbml?spid=23&spsid=13&db_oem_id=100

#5 Washington (16-2, 7-2) vs. #7 USC (18-3, 6-3), #6 UCLA (15-4, 7-3)
While Stanford and Oregon sit atop the Pac-12 standings, Washington, UCLA and USC are right behind, battling for NCAA seeding positions. This week’s matches certainly will have an impact on that. The Huskies face the Women of Troy on Friday at 6:00 p.m. PT at the Galen Center and then travel to play the Bruins on Sunday at noon PT at the John Wooden Center. Both matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. For Washington, Krista Vansant leads the squad with 4.23 kills per set (275 kills), Jenna Orlandini leads with 3.79 digs per set (235 digs) and Amanda Gil with 1.60 blocks per set (104 total blocks). For USC, Samantha Bricio tops the team with 4.00 kills per set (284 kills), Natalie Hagglund leads the defense with 4.58 digs per set (330 digs) and Alexis Olgard heads the blocking list with 0.95 blocks per set (57 total blocks). For UCLA, Tabi Love leads the offense with 4.30 kills per set (297 kills), Bojana Todorovic leads the defense with 3.88 digs per set (252 digs) and Zoe Nightingale leads the blocking list with 1.39 blocks per set (96 total blocks). Click here for multimedia of Washington-USC: http://www.usctrojans.com/sports/w-volley/sched/usc-w-volley-sched.html and click here for multimedia of Washington-UCLA: http://www.uclabruins.com/sports/w-volley/sched/ucla-w-volley-sched.html

#11 Florida (17-2, 11-0) vs. #12 Florida State (18-2, 10-1)
The battle for Florida takes place Wednesday in Tallahassee as the Gators travel to face the Seminoles at 6:00 p.m. ET in a match that can be seen on ESPN3.com. SEC Offensive Player of the Week Chloe Mann leads Florida with 3.87 kills per set (236 kills) and 1.10 blocks per set (67 total blocks) while Taylor Unroe picks up 4.34 digs per set (291 digs). For Florida State, Fatma Yildirim the squad with 2.92 kills per set (207 kills) while Katie Mosher picks up 4.33 digs per set (312 digs) and Ashley Neff tops the blocking list with 1.66 blocks per set (121 blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.seminoles.com/sports/w-volley/sched/fsu-w-volley-sched.html

Bowling Green (14-8, 9-1) vs. Ohio (14-8, 9-1)
Tied for the lead in the MAC East, Bowling Green travels to face Ohio on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Paige Penrod leads Bowling Green with 4.05 kills per set (344 kills) while Ashley Dunn collects 4.45 digs per set (378 digs) and Kaitlyn Skinner heads the blocking list with 1.19 blocks per set (87 total blocks). For Ohio, Kelly Lamberti leads the squad with 3.89 kills per set (292 kills) as Meredith Ashy picks up 4.69 digs per set (352 digs) and Serena Warner tops the blocking chart with 1.32 blocks per set (98 total blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.ohiobobcats.com/sports/w-volley/sched/ohio-w-volley-sched.html

Georgia Southern (18-6, 9-1) vs. College of Charleston (18-6, 9-1)
Sitting tied atop the Southern Conference South division, Georgia Southern travels to College of Charleston on Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Meredith Paskert leads the Eagles with 3.27 kills per set (275 kills), Alexandra Beecher tops the defense with 4.63 digs per set (389 digs) and Kym Coley tops the blocking list with 0.82 blocks per set (64 total blocks). For College of Charleston, Darcy Dorton leads the squad with 4.25 kills per set (357 kills), Emily Shelton picks up 5.36 digs per set (461 digs) and Kerstin Koehler heads the blocking list with 0.90 blocks per set (74 total blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.cofcsports.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=14800&SPID=7054&SPSID=64082

Which matches are you going to be following this week?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tips on Leg Strength for Volleyball Players



by Holly Brucken, AVCA Intern and fitness guru

All athletes need strong legs, and volleyball players are no exception!  Whether you are making a dig or jumping, you are engaging your legs in every practice and every match.   
Here are some simple excercises that will help you improve leg strength. All of these excercisese can be used without equipment, but once you’ve mastered them, you can add weights to increase the challenge.  

Plyometric Squat
Start by placing your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down and bend your knees at a 90 degree angle. Jump up and land gently in the squat position. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Make sure you are using the strength in your legs and butt to jump, and land gently while keeping your knees bent and your weight back and over your heels.
*Keep an upright posture and try not to lean forward during the exercise.


Single Leg Circle
Lie back with your arms at your sides, palms facing down.
Point one foot toward the ceiling and rotate your leg slightly outward. Trace a circle on the ceiling with your leg. Keep your hips still as you rotate the leg. Do not lift your hip off the floor. Repeat the circular motion five times in a clockwise, five times counter-clockwise. Switch legs and repeat.
Lunges
Stand feet together and use your abdominal muscles to stay straight.
Step forward with one foot, keeping your toes pointed straight ahead and your legs aligned. Your knee should form a 90 degree angle with your foot. Lower your back knee towards the floor.
 Push up, back into the starting position. Use your glutes to push yourself upand keep your abdominals tight..
*Keep an upright posture and try not to lean forward during the exercise.
Cross-Body Lunge
Stand with your feet together and, using your abdominal muscles, keep your body straight.
Take your right foot and step across your body. When your foot is firmly on the floor, bend at the hip and shift your weight onto your right foot until your right knee and right foot are parallel. Rotate your torso in the opposite direction of the lunge.
Push off the ground with your front leg, and return to the starting position. Repeat.
*Keep an upright posture and try not to lean forward during the exercise.
Calf Raises
 Stand up straight and place your feet hip width apart.
Raise your heels until you are on your toes, balancing your weight on the balls of your feet. Hold; then lower. Repeat.
You can perform calf-raises either with both legs simultaneously or with each leg individually.



These exercises should help you become a stronger volleyball player!




Images courtesy of: fitbie.msn.com, exercise.about.com, dailyhealthmantra.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Look Ahead: October 17th-21st



by Jen Armson-Dyer

As the season nears the halfway mark, several contests this week will impact not only the rankings, but also many conference standings as teams fight for the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament or seeding for their league tournaments. Read on to learn about some impactful matches this week:

#2 Stanford (16-2, 8-0) vs. #5 Washington (16-1, 7-1)
The gauntlet of the Pac-12 continues as league undefeated Stanford travels to face second-place Washington in Seattle on Friday at 6:00 p.m. PT in a match that will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. The Cardinal are coming off a thrilling five-set win over UCLA (including a 16-14 fifth set) while the Huskies are looking to rebound after their first loss of the year to Oregon in four in Eugene. Carly Wopat (176 kills) and Jordan Burgess (190 kills) both put down 2.92 kills per set for the Cardinal while Kyle Gilbert leads the defense with 3.96 digs per set (265 digs) and Wopat also leads the blocking list with 1.65 blocks per set (99 total blocks). For Washington, Krista Vansant carries the offensive load with 4.23 kills per set (241 kills), Jenna Orlandini picks up the defense with 3.74 digs per set (202 digs) and Amanda Gil heads the blocking chart with 1.63 blocks per set (93 total blocks). Click here for link to Gametracker: http://www.gohuskies.com/sports/w-volley/sched/wash-w-volley-sched.html

#11 Florida (15-2, 9-0) vs. Texas A&M (15-3, 7-2)
The Gators take their unblemished SEC record to College Station and Texas A&M for a Sunday 1:00 p.m. CT contest that will be televised on ESPNU. Each team leads their respective division within league play. Ziva Recek leads Florida with 3.92 kills per set (231 kills), Taylor Unroe tops the defense with 4.34 digs per set (256 digs) and Chloe Mann heads the blocking chart with 1.15 blocks per set (61 total blocks). For the Aggies, Alisia Kastmo leads the offense with 3.58 kills per set (211 kills), Megan Pendergast leads the defense with 3.93 digs per set (236 digs) and Lindsey Miller heads the blocking chart with 1.14 blocks per set (64 total blocks). Click here for links to multimedia: http://www.aggieathletics.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=27300&SPID=93242&SPSID=636263

#14 Kansas State (17-2, 4-2) vs. #21 Kansas (17-3, 5-1)
Facing off as ranked opponents for the first time ever in this long rivalry, the Wildcats head to Lawrence to take on the Jayhawks on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CT. Kansas State leads the all-time series 61-36, including 28-16 in Lawrence. Kaitlynn Pelger leads Kansas State with 3.92 kills per set (243 kills), Kuulei Kabalis tops the defense with 3.13 digs per set (194 digs) and Alex Muff leads the blocking front with 1.49 blocks per set (85 total blocks). For Kansas, Caroline Jarmoc leads the squad with 3.55 kills per set (266 kills) and 1.27 blocks per set (95 total blocks) while Brianne Riley tops the defense with 5.45 digs per set (409 digs). Click here for links to multimedia: http://www.kuathletics.com/sports/w-volley/sched/kan-w-volley-sched.html

#15 Louisville (18-3, 7-1) vs. Marquette (17-3, 7-0)
Sitting one-two atop the Big East standings, the Cardinals head to Milwaukee to take on the conference undefeated Golden Eagles on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CT. Lola Arslanbekova carries the offensive load for Louisville with 4.95 kills per set (391 kills) while Caitlin Welch leads the defense with 5.27 digs per set (416 digs) and Gwen Rucker tops the blocking list with 1.34 blocks per set (86 total blocks). For Marquette, Holly Mertens leads the squad with 3.01 kills per set (229 kills), Julie Jeziorowski tops the defense with 4.67 digs per set (355 digs) and Kelsey Mattai heads the blocking list with 1.15 blocks per set (83 total blocks). Click here for links to multimedia: http://www.gomarquette.com/sports/w-volley/sched/marq-w-volley-sched.html

Towson (19-3, 6-0) vs. Northeastern (17-3, 6-0)
Both undefeated atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings, Northeastern travels to Towson on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. Led by Katy Buck with 3.29 kills per set (253 kills), Towson has win its last 12 matches, including a five set win at James Madison last weekend. Paige Sekerak leads the defense with 3.78 digs per set (291 digs) while Alysha McCreary tops the blocking list with 0.99 blocks per set (74 total blocks). Winners of nine straight, Northeastern is led by Kelly Bacon with 3.46 kills per set (239 kills), Natalia Skiba with 5.48 digs per set (378 digs) and Nicole Bishop with 0.90 blocks per set (62 total blocks). Click here for links to multimedia: http://www.towsontigers.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=21300&SPID=12506&SPSID=106304
 

Morehead State (16-6, 8-0) vs. Southeast Missouri (16-7, 8-0)
Arguably the biggest match of the Ohio Valley Conference season, Southeast Missouri travels to Morehead State on Friday at 7:00 p.m. Each school is undefeated in their side of the league bracket and this contest will be the only regular season meeting between the two, and very well could determine conference tournament hosting and seeding. One a 14-match win streak, Morehead State is led by two-time OVC Conference Player of the Week Ellie Roberson with 4.28 kills per set (325 kills), Leslie Schellhaas with 4.92 digs per set (408 digs) and Annie Gruenschlaeger with 1.17 blocks per set (98 total blocks). Winners of 10 of their last 11 matches, Southeast Missouri is led by Colleen Yarber with 3.44 kills per set (299 kills), Berkley Idel with 4.28 digs per set (381 digs) and Emily Coon with 1.12 blocks per set (100 total blocks). Click here for links to multimedia: http://www.msueagles.com/schedule.aspx?path=wvball

Which matches are you going to be following this week?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Look Ahead – Oct. 10-14



by Jen Armson-Dyer

There are some pretty big matches this week as far as the poll is concerned, but there are several more with implications in some conference races that will be instrumental in determining the final league standings and NCAA bids.

Important Top 10 Matches
#2 Washington vs. #5 Oregon - The Huskies look to remain the lone unbeaten as they travel to Eugene to face the Ducks on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PT. Links to multimedia: http://www.goducks.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&SPID=234&SPSID=4284

#3 Nebraska vs. #10 Minnesota – The Huskers welcome the Golden Gophers into the Coliseum on Sunday for a 2:00 p.m. CT contest televised on ESPN2. Links to multimedia: http://www.huskers.com/SportSelect.dbml?spid=23&spsid=13&db_oem_id=100

#4 Stanford vs. #6 USC & #7 UCLA – The Cardinal welcome two tough tests this week as they face the Trojans on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. PT before hosting the Bruins on Friday at 6:00 p.m. PT. Both matches will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks. Links to multimedia: http://www.gostanford.com/sports/w-volley/sched/stan-w-volley-sched.html

#9 Texas vs. #21 Kansas – Fresh off a five-set thriller Monday night at Louisville, the Longhorns host the Jayhawks in a battle of conference unbeatens on Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT in a match that will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network. Links to multimedia: http://www.texassports.com/sports/w-volley/sched/tex-w-volley-sched.html 

#24 Pepperdine (11-7, 1-4) vs. Santa Clara (14-5, 4-1)
The Waves host the Broncos on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. PT and will be looking to even the season series as Santa Clara claimed the first meeting this season in four sets on Sept. 29. Jazmine Orozco leads Pepperdine with 3.53 kills per set (226 kills), Michaela Christiaansen leads the defense with 3.89 digs per set (249 digs) and Victoria Adelhelm tops the blocking list with 1.20 blocks per set (77 total blocks). For Santa Clara, Taylor Milton leads the squad with 2.84 kills per set (219 kills), Katherine Douglas directs the defense with 2.40 digs per set (185 digs) and Megan Anders leads the blocking list with 0.96 blocks per set (74 total blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.pepperdinesports.com/sports/w-volley/sched/pepp-w-volley-sched.html

Colorado State (10-5, 3-1) vs. UNLV (12-6, 4-1)
Sitting atop the Mountain West Conference, UNLV hosts second-place Colorado State on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. MT in a match that will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Dana Cranston leads the Rams with 3.21 kills per set (180 kills) while Izzy Gaulia tops the defense with 4.18 digs per set (234 digs) and Megan Plourde leads the blocking chart with 1.61 blocks per set (90 total blocks). For the Rebels, Madeline Westman tops the squad with 2.80 kills per set (193 kills) and 1.51 blocks per set (104 total blocks) while Allison Davies leads the defense with 3.91 digs per set (270 digs). Click here for multimedia: http://www.unlvrebels.com/sports/w-volley/sched/unlv-w-volley-sched.html

Bowling Green (10-7, 6-0) vs. Central Michigan (11-6, 5-1)
Leaders of the East and West divisions of the Mid-America Conference, Central Michigan hosts Bowling Green on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET. For the Chippewas, Kaitlyn McIntyre tops the squad with 3.71 kills per set (234 kills) while Jenna Coates leads the defense with 4.98 digs per set (314 digs) and Angelique White tops the blocking list with 1.05 blocks per set (63 total blocks). For Bowling Green, Paige Penrod leads the offense with 4.08 kills per set (253 kills), Ashley Dunn tops the defense with 4.24 digs per set (263 digs) and Leah Shaw heads the blocking list with 1.07 blocks per set (63 total blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.cmuchippewas.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=10500&SPID=4209&SPSID=46431 

Idaho State (13-4, 7-1) vs. Portland State (12-7, 8-0)
Sitting one-two in the Big Sky Conference, Idaho State hosts Portland State on Friday at 7:00 p.m. Tressa Lyman leads the ISU Bengals with 3.38 kills per set (220 kills), Kylee Searle tops the defense with 3.64 digs per set (244 digs) and Jaclyn Hone posts 1.02 blocks per set (67 total blocks). For Portland State, Jaklyn Wheeler tops the offensive chart with 4.23 kills per set (296 kills), Kasimira Clark leads the defense with 5.29 digs per set (370 digs) and Katie O’Brien heads the blocking list with 1.13 blocks per set (69 total blocks). Click here for multimedia: http://www.isubengals.com/schedule.aspx?path=wvball

Which matches are you going to be following this week?