Sept. 29, 2009
Northwestern Volleyball Weekly Release - Sept. 29
Northwestern heads east to the Wolverine State for its first Big Ten road games of the year. NU meets up with sixth-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor at 6 p.m. CT Friday, Oct. 2, then travels up the road to East Lansing for a showdown with 23rd-ranked Michigan State at 5:30 p.m. CT Saturday, Oct. 3.
Scouting the Wolverines
Season: Michigan enters the weekend ranked sixth in the nation with a 14-1 record and is 2-0 in Big Ten play ... The Wolverines are coming off road Big Ten victories over Indiana and Purdue. Head Coach: Mark Rosen is in his 11th season in Ann Arbor, boasting a 203-133 (.604) record and is 412-170 (.708) in 17 seasons as a head coach. Outside Hitters: Michigan is 10th nationally in kills per set (14.48) and 15th in hitting percentage (.276) ... Juliana Paz (Sr.) is 18th nationally in kills per set (4.30) with 215 total with 29 service aces and 23 blocks on the year ... Alex Hunt (So.) is averaging 3.10 kills per set (155 total) with 10 blocks and a team-best 31 service aces ... Veronica Rood (Sr.) leads the team in hitting percentage (.350) with 93 kills (2.02 per set) and 29 blocks. Middle Blockers: Courtney Fletcher (So.) leads the Wolverines in blocks (34) and has added 77 kills and 10 service aces ... Megan Bower (Sr.) is second in blocks (31) while adding 74 kills and 23 assists. Setter: Michigan ranks 17th nationally averaging 13.10 assists per set ... Lexi Zimmerman (Jr.) is third in the Big Ten with 11.18 assists per set (559 total) and has added 80 kills and 16 blocks for the Wolverines. Libero: Sloane Donhoff (So.), the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week, is third in the Big Ten in digs per set (4.52) to go along with 38 assists and 12 service aces.
Scouting the Spartans
Season: Michigan State is 12-2 on the season and 0-2 in Big Ten play, ranking 23rd heading into the weekend ... The Spartans dropped their first two Big Ten matches at Purdue and Indiana. Head Coach: Cathy George is 79-62 (.560) in her fifth season in East Lansing and is 429-270 (.614) in her 23rd season as a head coach. Outside Hitters: Michigan State ranks sixth nationally in hitting percentage (.293) and 20th in kills per set (13.96) ... Megan Schatzle (Jr.) leads the Spartans in kills (164), averaging 3.15 per set while adding 32 blocks ... Jenilee Rathje (So.) has added 146 kills to the MSU attack (2.86 per set) along with 24 assists, 73 digs and 33 blocks ... Becca Zlabis (So.) has also cracked 100 kills (119 total) while ranking second in digs (108). Middle Blockers: Mischelle Nelson (Sr.) leads the team in hitting percentage (.380) and blocks (51) and has added 82 kills on the year ... Vanessa King (Sr.) ranks second in both hitting percentage (.359) and blocks (47) with 70 kills. Setter: MSU ranks 16th nationally averaging 13.17 assists per set ... Natalie Emro (So.) is fourth in the Big Ten averaging 10.90 assists per set (567 total), adding 65 kills, 36 blocks and 13 service aces. Libero: Allyson Karaba (Jr.) is fourth in the Big Ten averaging 4.33 digs per set (234 total.)
Northwestern and Michigan get together for the 57th time Friday evening with the Wolverines holding a 32-24 series advantage. Michigan took a three-set victory in both meetings last season, and have won the last three matches between the two in Ann Arbor, with Northwestern's last win at Cliff Keen Arena coming back in 2005. The Wildcats are 31-25 all-time against the Spartans as the teams split the pair of meetings last season. Michigan State rallied to prevail in a five-set thriller in East Lansing on Oct. 10, with Northwestern sweeping the Spartans at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Nov. 1. The Wildcats are seeking their first victory at Jenison Field House since 2006.
Wildcats Among the Big Ten Leaders
As a team, Northwestern ranks among the leaders of the Big Ten in a number of categories, ranking fourth in both opponent hitting percentage (.148) and digs per set (14.21), fifth in blocks per set (2.50) and sixth in hitting percentage. Individually, Sabel Moffett has made a name for herself among the conference leaders, ranking second in blocks per set (1.40), fourth in hitting percentage (.427), fifth in points per set (4.44) and 10th in kills per set (3.48). Naomi Johnson joins Moffett among the hitting percentage leaders, sitting eighth at .389, with Elyse Glab fifth in assists per set (10.54) and Kate Nobilio second in digs per set (4.54).
Follow the 'Cats With Live, In-Match Twitter Updates
Twitter fans can keep up on the Wildcats' matches in the Wolverine State this weekend with live, in-match tweets @NU_SportsLIVE. Northwestern athletics will be with the Wildcats for the matches against nationally ranked Michigan and Michigan State, giving fans up-to-the minute match updates from both Cliff Keen Arena and Jenison Field House.
Northwestern returns to Welsh-Ryan Arena for three of its next four matches, beginning Saturday, Oct. 10 against Purdue. The Wildcats then welcome Indiana to Evanston on Oct. 11 for a rare Sunday afternoon match, with the opening serve against the Hoosiers scheduled for 5 p.m. NU then prepares for its first Big Ten Network match of the 2009 campaign, making the trip downstate for a showdown with rival Illinois at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
For the complete weekly release, click the PDF link above.