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
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
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
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?