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Volleyball Set to Open 2007 Season

The 2007 volleyball season begins in Omaha, Neb.

August 22, 2007 · MT Media Relations
  • Week One Match Notes

    This Week in Blue Raider Volleyball...
    Middle Tennessee begins its season in Omaha, Neb., taking part in the Third Annual Creighton Bluejay Invitational. The Blue Raiders will face Montana State, Creighton and Stephen F. Austin in the two-day tournament with the first competition scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 24, against the Montana State Bobcats.

    The team then will travel to Ames, Iowa, to face the Iowa State Cyclones at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

    If You Can't Make the Trip...
    Live stats will be available for the Creighton Bluejay Invitational through Creighton's Athletic Web Site at www.gocreighton.com under the "Live Stats" button under "Multimedia" on the left-hand side.

    Live stats and live streaming video will be available for Sunday's match against Iowa State at 5:00 p.m. CDT. Links to both resources can be found at www.cyclones.com under the "Multimedia" button on the left-hand side.

    Scouting the Bobcats...
    Montana State returns four starters from its 2006 squad, after a ninth place Big Sky Conference finish with a 3-13 conference, 7-20 overall record. Head coach Miya Malauulu begins her fifth season leading the Bobcats, posting a 59-54 overall coaching record.

    Top returnees for the Bobcats are junior outside hitter Laura Viren and senior middle blocker Monique Schaal.

    The Series: First meeting.

    Scouting the Bluejays...
    Creighton is coming off of a fourth place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2006, with all six starters plus libero returning. The Bluejays finished 21-10, 12-6 in conference play. The team is led by Kirsten Bernthal Booth, who is in her fifth season as head coach with a 67-53 overall record.

    The Bluejays were picked to finish third in the Missouri Valley Preseason Poll with senior middle blocker Kelly Goc being named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.

    The Series: Creighton leads 1-0 with the only meeting being in 2006.

    Scouting the Ladyjacks...
    Stephen F. Austin returns five starters, losing one and its libero, after making its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. The Ladyjacks posted a perfect 16-0 record in the Southland Conference, 31-4 overall, before defeating Alabama in five games in the first round of the tournament. No. 8 Texas knocked the team out of the tournament in the second round. Head coach Debbie Humphreys is in her 20th season at the helm of the program with a 437-200 overall record.

    The Ladyjacks were picked to take the Southland Conference title in the preseason poll. Seniors Traci Rohde and JJ Jones and juniors Lauren Railey and Shelly Swendig earned Preseason First-Team All-Southland honors.

    The Series: First meeting.

    Scouting the Cyclones...
    The Blue Raiders will face their second 2006 NCAA Tournament team of the weekend as they travel to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State. The team received 39 votes in the AVCA Preseason Poll, good for 33rd overall. In 2006, the Cyclones posted a 21-11 overall record, 12-8 in the Big 12, good to tie for fourth. The team advanced to the second round of the tournament after shutting out Wisconsin-Milwaukee, before falling to No. 10 Wisconsin in three games. Iowa State returns three starters, losing three and its libero, and is led by head coach Christy Johnson in her third season. She has a 37-26 overall record.

    The Cyclones were picked sixth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll with senior outside hitter Erin Boeve and sophomore setter Kaylee Manns named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team.

    The Series: First meeting.

    Season Openers...
    Middle Tennessee is 2-1 in season openers under head coach Matt Peck, and 4-3 since 2000 when the school joined the Sun Belt Conference. Last season, the Blue Raiders won the first three matches to claim the Broyhill Inn Appalachian Classic Championship, hosted by Appalachian State.

    Preseason Points...
    The Middle Tennessee volleyball team received preseason votes in the 2007 AVCA Preseason Poll, placing it 44th overall with nine total votes. The 2006 squad finished 34th in the final AVCA poll.

    First in the East...
    After finishing in a three-way tie for first last season with Western Kentucky and Florida International, Middle Tennessee has emerged as the preseason favorite to win the Eastern Division. The Blue Raiders captured nine of the 13 first place votes with 74 total points for a clear 10-point margin over second place Florida International.

    A Few More Firsts...
    Senior Quanshell Scott (Bakersfield, Calif.) and juniors Ashley Adams (Columbus, Ohio) and Ashley Asberry (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) were named to the 2007 Preseason All-Sun Belt Team. All three earned First Team All-Sun Belt honors last season, and Scott earned Sun Belt Tournament honors, while Adams was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

    Double Defense...
    Senior libero Alicia Lemau'u (Long Beach, Calif.) was named the 2007 Preseason Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. In 2006, Lemau'u posted solid numbers after making the transition to middle back with 492 digs, averaging 4.00 digs per game.

    All-American Adams...
    Junior opposite hitter Ashley Adams (Columbus, Ohio) became the second player in school history to earn AVCA All-America honors. Adams accounted for one-quarter of the team's kills last season, averaging 4.45 kills per game with 547 total kills. She also was named to the All-South Region team and was a two-time Sun Belt Player of the Week selection.

    Introducing the 2007 Blue Raiders...
    The team returns four starters plus the libero along with seven other letter winners from 2006. Seniors Alicia Lemau'u (Long Beach, Calif.) and Quanshell Scott (Bakersfield, Calif.) are the lone seniors leading the team. Five freshmen join the team this season: Laura Brock (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Alyssa King (Rochelle, Ill.), Izabela Kozon (Warsaw, Poland), Stacy Oladinni (La Vergne, Tenn.) and Rachel Randolph (Murfreesboro, Tenn.).

    Local Ladies...
    Three players (Megan Carter, Ashley Asberry and Rachel Randolph) on the 2007 squad are from Murfreesboro, while three others are from surrounding cities. Freshman Stacy Oladinni is from nearby La Vergne, freshman Laura Brock is from Chattanooga and redshirt sophomore Katie Brush is from Jackson.

    2006 Postseason Recap...
    After defeating Florida International in the Sun Belt Championship match in three games, the Blue Raiders made their second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, advancing to the second round with a win over Louisville in front of a crowd of 1,166. Middle Tennessee nabbed game one against No. 18 Ohio State, snapping a 30-game win streak for the Buckeyes, but fell in the next three to be knocked out of the tournament. The team finished 27-8 overall, 14-3 in the Sun Belt. In conference play, Middle Tennessee finished in a three-way tie for first in the Eastern Division with Florida International and Western Kentucky.

    Head Coach Matt Peck...
    Matt Peck is in his fourth season at the helm of the Blue Raider volleyball program.

    Last season, Peck continued to build on the success of the program in 2005, leading the Blue Raiders to a NCAA Tournament berth and a first round win on the road at Louisville after winning the Sun Belt Tournament. The team fell to No. 18 Ohio State in the second round but posted a 27-8 overall record while finishing conference play in a three-way tie for first with a record of 14-3. The win in game one against OSU snapped a 30-game winning streak for the Buckeyes.

    Middle Tennessee picked up its second All-American honor under Peck in sophomore Ashley Adams. Adams earned the honor after being named First Team All-Conference, Most Valuable Player of the Sun Belt Tournament, and All-South Region.

    In just his second year, Peck led the Blue Raiders to their first Sun Belt Tournament Championship match appearance since joining the league. Middle Tennessee's No. 2 seed in the tournament in 2005 and 10-2 record in Sun Belt matches is the best mark in school history, and the Blue Raider's 28 wins is a tie for second-most wins in school history.

    With Peck at the helm, Middle Tennessee garnered its first All-American when Andressa Lyra was named Honorable Mention All-American in 2005. He also helped Alicia Lemau'u to a Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year award. It was also during Peck's watch that Ashley Adams became the first Blue Raider volleyball player in school history to be named AVCA National Player of the Week.

    With 23 years of coaching experience, Peck has an overall career record of 615-222. Prior to arriving at Middle Tennessee in February 2004, Peck spent nine seasons at the University of North Alabama.

    Coming Up...
    Middle Tennessee heads to Moscow, Idaho, August 31-September 1 to compete in the Idaho Invitational hosted by the University of Idaho. Also participating in the tournament are host Idaho, No. 22 Oklahoma and Oregon State.

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