Sept. 27, 2002
REDHAWKS OPEN CONFERENCE PLAY AT WEST DIVISION LEADERS
Starting Mid-American Conference play with a two-week road stretch, Miami opens league play this weekend at West Division leaders Toledo (7-3) and Eastern Michigan (11-1) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Eagles were tabbed to win the West Division title and the tournament crown in the MAC preseason coaches' poll. Last week, the RedHawks battled No. 13 Ohio State, but fell short in four games. Miami then topped Western Ontario in exhibition action in three games.
After opening the season with seven straight wins, Toledo has lost its last three at the hands of Portland, nationally ranked UCLA and Michigan. Heidi Neumeister paces the team averaging 4.00 kills per game, while Mollie Murphy owns a team-best 3.16 digs per game. Kacy Stevens averages 11.26 assists per game, while Natalie Mash adds 1.08 blocks per game. Offensively, Toledo is posting 15.3 kills per game while giving up 11.7 to its opponents.
SERIES VERSUS THE ROCKETS
Miami owns a 33-5 lead in the series with Toledo. The RedHawks are 8-4 when playing at Toledo and are on an nine-match winning streak against the Rockets. Miami lost the opening match of the series in three games in 1977. In the most-recent meeting, the RedHawks posted a three-game win in Oxford. In its last trip to Toledo (2000), Miami captured a four-game win. Miami's last loss came in 1994, falling in four games at Toledo.
ABOUT EASTERN MICHIGAN
On a blistering 11-match win streak, Eastern Michigan enters the weekend with an 11-1 mark, which leads all conference schools. Over its last 11 matches, the Eagles have lost only two games, one to Xavier and one to Iowa. Four Eagles are averaging over 3.00 kills per game, led by Jennifer Nighswander's 3.20 per game. Nighswander also posts a team-high 4.00 digs per game. Katie Wagenmaker owns a team-high 1.14 blocks per game and Camila Olaio adds 13.09 assists per game.
SERIES VERSUS THE EAGLES
The RedHawks own a 28-9 lead in the series with the Eagles and are 9-4 against EMU when playing in Ypsilanti. Last season, the RedHawks inched out an important five-game win in Oxford. In its last trip to EMU (2000), Miami recorded a 3-1 win, after falling in three games at Eastern Michigan the year before.
No. 13 OHIO STATE 3, MIAMI 1
In a four-game match, Miami fell to No. 13 Ohio State, 31-29, 28-30, 24-30 and 21-30. The RedHawks lead by as many as four in the first game with its last four-point advantage at 27-23. Ohio State came back to knot the game, 29-29, but the RedHawks iced the game off kills from senior outside hitter Kelly McCullough (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and sophomore outside hitter Tara Buroker (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton). Buroker's game-winning kill, which bounced of an OSU defender to the back of the arena, was set up off a solid dig from McCullough and a precise assist from freshman setter Megan Clark (Solon, Ohio/Solon).
Early in the second game Miami took a 9-4 edge, but the Buckeyes crept back to cut the Miami lead to one, 13-12. Rattling off six unanswered points, Miami notched its largest lead of the match, 19-12. But again OSU chipped away at the Miami lead and eventually tied the game, 25-25. Senior outside hitter Erika Eagan (Bloomington, Ill./Tri-Valley) recorded a kill and an ace to hand Miami the 27-25 edge, but the Buckeyes had four straight kills to end the game, 30-28.
The third game was very close until the end with no team owning more than a three-point edge until Ohio State recorded seven unanswered points to take a 29-23 edge. With game-point on the line, Buroker drilled a kill to halt the OSU scoring frenzy, but the Buckeyes answered with a kill to end the third game, 30-24.
After starting at a 3-0 disadvantage, Miami came back to tie the game, 3-3. A kill from Susan Poll (Grand Rapids, Mich./East Kentwood) knotted the game, 6-6, but that would be as close as Miami would get as Ohio State posted a 30-21 win in the fourth game.
Four RedHawks were in double figures for kills with Eagan, McCullough and Buroker each tallying 11. Poll added 10 kills. Buroker also had 11 digs, while Eagan served up two aces. Clark had 42 assists.
MIAMI 3, WESTERN ONTARIO 0
In a three-game match, Miami topped Western Ontario in exhibition action, 30-16, 30-22, 30-24. The RedHawks iced games one and two with service aces by freshman middle hitter Lindsey Sullenberger (Piqua, Ohio/Piqua) and freshman outside hitter Kristen Walters (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee), respectively. Sullenberger paced the Red and White with a match-high 10 kills and .562 hitting percentage.
The RedHawks dominated the first two games, never allowing the Mustangs to lead in any of the three sets. In the third game, Miami rattled off seven-straight points to capture a 13-3 advantage. Western Ontario was able to pull within one, 24-25, but the RedHawks ended the game scoring five straight points to end the match with a 30-24 game three win.
In addition to Sullenberger's 10 kills, senior outside hitter Erika Eagan notched nine kills and two service aces, while sophomore outside hitter Angie Zent (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrup) added eight kills. Freshman middle hitter Natalie Kapteyn (Grand Rapids, Mich./East Kentwood) recorded a match-best three service aces, while Walters amassed a team-best eight digs.
Six of Miami's 12 non-conference opponents advanced to the 2001 NCAA Tournament: Louisville, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Cincinnati, San Jose State and Florida A&M. Four of those six reached the second round, while Ohio State went on to the regional semifinal. Two teams are ranked in the AVCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll and three others are receiving votes. Ohio State is ranked No. 11, while Georgia Tech is No. 25. Louisville, Cincinnati and Washington are receiving votes.
Following the Miami Best Western/Sycamore Inn Classic, the RedHawks host only one home match over a five-week span. Miami played in the Georgia Tech and TCU tournaments and at Cincinnati, No. 13 Ohio State and Dayton over the first two and a half weeks of that stretch. The RedHawks returned home to host Western Ontario on Sept. 21 before opening league action on the road for two straight weekends.
EATON NINTH ON ALL-TIME BLOCK ASSIST CHART; McCULLOUGH CLOSING IN ON TOP 10
Senior middle hitter Jennifer Eaton moved into ninth on Miami's all-time block assist chart with 260. Senior outside hitter Kelly McCullough owns 254 career block assists and needs just three more to place her name on the career chart. Both are chasing Miami's career standard of 347. Eaton needs just three more to move into eighth place. The Mid-American Conference's top blocking duo in 2001 have picked up where they left off as the top blocking tandem in 2002. In the latest MAC statistics (9/23), Eaton ranked third in the MAC in blocks per game (1.23), while McCullough ranked 13th (0.95).
SENIOR TRIO EMBARKING ON CAREER MILESTONES
Kelly McCullough, Erika Eagan and Jennifer Eaton are all embarking on career milestones this season. McCullough needs 87 kills to reach the 1,000-kill plateau, while Eagan needs 174 digs to reach 1,000 career digs. Both Eaton and McCullough are chasing Miami's career block assist record. Eaton owns 260 block assists, while McCullough sits six behind Eaton with 254. Eaton needs 88 block assists to surpass Kristin Wagner's (1989-92) 347 career block assist total.
BUROKER RANKS AMONG CONFERENCE LEADERS IN DIGS
Sophomore outside hitter Tara Buroker ranks sixth among league leaders in digs in the latest MAC statistics, averaging 3.58 digs per game.
CLARK ON THE MARK
Freshman setter Megan Clark is Miami's starting setter. As a true freshman, Clark is the youngest setter to start for head coach Carolyn Condit in her 19-year Miami tenure. Clark is currently averaging 10.10 assists per game to rank sixth among MAC leaders. At the TCU Invitational, Clark averaged 11.23 assists per game as she orchestrated the offense in Miami's first tournament win since the 1999 season.
Boasting a .268 hitting percentage, junior middle hitter Susan Poll ranks 12th among Mid-American Conference leaders in hitting percentage.
ACES ARE WILD
Three RedHawks set career records from the service line at the TCU Invitational. Senior outside hitter Erika Eagan paced the RedHawks with a team-best 10 aces that week, including a career-best five against Stephen F. Austin. Senior outside hitter Kelly McCullough tied a career-high with three aces against Dayton and then came back to launch four service aces against Stephen F. Austin. McCullough notched nine service aces during the week. Never having served up an ace in her career, junior middle hitter Susan Poll registered four over four matches, including a career-high two against San Jose State. Eagan ranks sixth in the MAC in aces per game (0.48), while McCullough ranks 13th (0.39).
POLL NAMED MAC EAST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Following a weekend where she earned TCU Invitational MVP laurels, Miami University junior middle hitter Susan Poll was named Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week. Poll earned tournament MVP honors, the first of her career, and was on only the second all-tournament team of her career. Earlier this season, Poll was named to the Miami Classic All-Tournament Team. For the week, she averaged 3.60 kills and had a .350 hitting percentage to lead the team. Never having served up an ace in her career, Poll registered four last week, including a career-high two against San Jose State. Against the Horned Frogs, she paced the team with 4.00 kills per game and a .394 hitting percentage. In the opening match of the tournament against Stephen F. Austin, Poll averaged 3.50 kills per game and produced a .440 hitting percentage. This is the first player of the week honor for Poll.
BUROKER NAMED TO THIRD ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
For the third straight week, sophomore outside hitter Tara Buroker (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) was named to an all-tournament team, earning TCU Invitational All-Tournament Team honors. Buroker has been named to every all-tournament team this season.
On Sept. 14, the RedHawks' endurance was tested as the squad played nine games over a seven-hour stretch. Miami upended San Jose State in a grueling five-game match, which started at 10 a.m. and lasted two hours and 15 minutes. The RedHawks then had to turn around and face host TCU at 3 p.m. with little recovery time but came up short in a four-game loss to the Horned Frogs in a two-hour match. With the morning win over San Jose State, Miami assured itself the tournament title.
750 AND THEN SOME
Miami head coach Carolyn Condit coached her 750th career match in Miami's season opener against IPFW. In her 23rd season as a head coach, Condit owns a 455-306 record. In January, Condit, who boasts a league-best 187 career MAC wins, was inducted into Miami's Athletic Hall of Fame.
BUROKER NAMED MAC EAST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore outside hitter Tara Buroker wasted no time making her presence felt on the court for the RedHawks in their season-opening weekend and earned Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week honors for her efforts. For the weekend, Buroker, who earned Miami Classic All-Tournament Team laurels, paced the RedHawks averaging 4.20 digs and 3.40 kills per game. This is the first player of the week honor for Buroker.
MIAMI CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Three players earned all-tournament team laurels at the Miami Best Western/Sycamore Inn Classic: sophomore outside hitter Tara Buroker, senior outside hitter Erika Eagan and junior middle hitter Susan Poll. This was the first time any of the three players have earned all-tournament team honors.
BUROKER'S "BUR"-EAK OUT
Sophomore outside hitter Tara Buroker, the youngest captain named during head coach Carolyn Condit's 19-year tenure, burst out of the gates in Miami's season opener against IPFW to amass a career-best 29 digs, 17 kills and a .385 hitting percentage to lead the RedHawks in all three categories. In the first game against the Mastodons, Buroker compiled an impressive 15 of her 29 digs. For the weekend, Buroker paced the RedHawks averaging 4.20 digs and 3.40 kills per game.
NEWCOMERS CONTRIBUTE IN OPENING WEEKEND
Four of Miami's newcomers made contributions over the first weekend of play. In addition to freshman setter Megan Clark, who started two matches for the RedHawks, Suzy Wolford (Batavia, Ill./Batavia), Kristen Walters (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee), Lindsay Simpson and Lindsey Sullenberger (Piqua, Ohio/Piqua) all earned playing time in the Miami Best Western/Sycamore Inn Classic. Wolford, who saw action in five games, played various roles for the RedHawks seeing time as a setter and libero. Walters and Simpson were also used as liberos, while Sullenberger saw time at middle hitter. Also seeing court time for the first time in her career was sophomore outside hitter Angie Zent (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrup). Zent, who has been plagued with injuries over the past two seasons, played in six of Miami's 10 games over the weekend.
Earning first team honors last season, senior outside hitter Kelly McCullough is one of only two returning first-team All-MAC performers in the league. McCullough became the 10th junior in Miami volleyball history to attain first-team all-MAC distinction.
Two single-season records fell last season as outside hitter Erika Eagan captured the record for digs per game (3.98) and middle hitter Jennifer Eaton claimed the block assist record (128). Eagan's 410 digs also ranked fourth on Miami's single-season chart, while outside hitter Kelly McCullough placed her name on Miami's single-season kills per game list (3.89-t-4th) and block assist chart (105-t-6th).
At the conclusion of the 2001 season, middle hitter Jennifer Eaton and outside hitter Erika Eagan ranked among national leaders in blocks and digs, respectively. Eaton, who averaged 1.52 blocks per game, ranked 13th nationally in blocks per game, while Eagan's 3.98 digs per game ranked 22nd nationally. As a team, the RedHawks finished the season 29th among national leaders in blocks per game, averaging 2.82. Miami also ranked among the top 25 percent for attendance during the 2001 campaign.
MIAMI'S TRIPLE CROWN
Last year, middle hitter Jennifer Eaton tied the most triple-doubles produced nationally during the 2001 season, achieving the feat four times. She also recorded the first back-to-back triple-doubles on record for the Miami University volleyball program and became the first in the program's history to produce four triple-doubles in the same season and in a career. All of Eaton's triple-doubles came in four-game matches, amassing double figures in kills, blocks and digs for all four.
EATON UP THE HONORS
In addition to producing four triple doubles last season, Jennifer Eaton was named to the MAC all-Tournament Team, earned second-team all-MAC recognition and was a second-team Verizon Academic all-District IV selection.
MAC'S TOP BLOCKING DUO FROM 2001 RETURNS
Middle hitter Jennifer Eaton and outside hitter Kelly McCullough have been quite the blocking duo for Miami. Eaton, who led the league in blocks with 1.52 blocks per game, and McCullough, who was the league's top blocking outside hitter, accounted for 50 percent of the RedHawks' league-best 2.82 block-per-game average last season. No other tandem in the league teamed up for as many blocks per game.
NUMBER OF NEWCOMERS
Although Miami has a strong nucleus of returning players, it also boasts eight newcomers to its roster: redshirt freshman Kristen Walters, OH and true freshmen Megan Clark, S ; Natalie Kapteyn, MH (Grand Rapids, Mich./East Kentwood); Lindsay Simpson, L/OH; Lauren Slusser, MH (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove); Lindsey Sullenberger, MH; Suzy Wolford, S; and Linda Young, OH (Minster, Ohio/Minster).