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Volleyball Heads to Idaho Invitational

Volleyball to face No. 21 Oklahoma and No. 35 Oregon State in second tournament

August 29, 2007 · MT Media Relations
  • Week Two Match Notes

    This Week in Blue Raider Volleyball...
    Middle Tennessee (4-0) heads to Moscow, Idaho, to participate in the Idaho Invitational hosted by the University of Idaho. The Blue Raiders will face No. 21 Oklahoma on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:00 p.m. CDT, before taking on Idaho and Oregon State on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 2:30 p.m. CDT and 7:00 p.m. CDT.

    Scouting the Sooners...
    Oklahoma went 3-0 in its opening weekend hosting the Sooner Invitational, sweeping Denver, Seton Hall and Alabama. The No. 21 ranked Sooners return two starters from their 12th place finishing team in 2006, while losing four and their libero. Santiago Restrepo is in his ninth season as head coach with an 50-45 record at Oklahoma.

    The Sooners are led by seniors Anna Stadel and Sarah Weiland, both averaging 3.89 kills per game. Stadel hit 35 kills, only gave up two errors, while hitting .647. She also tallied eight block assists to lead the team.
    The Series: Oklahoma leads the series 1-0, defeating the Blue Raiders in 2001.

    Scouting the Vandals...
    Idaho had a tough opening weekend after participating in the Cal Tournament, hosted by No. 12 California. The Vandals went 1-2, defeating Northeastern, but falling to Cal and Florida International in 10 total games. Idaho also fell to Washington State in a single-match on Tuesday evening, losing in three straight. The team returns three starters from last season, while losing three, and is led by Debbie Buchanan in her eighth season with an overall record of 103-107.

    Despite the rough outing, junior outside hitter Haley Larsen leads the team averaging 5.38 kills per game and 2.69 digs per game. Defensively, sophomore middle blocker Anna McKinney has tallied 18 total blocks.
    The Series: First meeting.

    Scouting the Beavers...
    After a rough 2006 season, going 3-24, 0-18 Pac-10, Oregon State went 2-1 at the ASICS Rainbow Wahine Invitational, hosted by the University of Hawai'i. The Beavers defeated Colorado State in five games, fell to Michigan in three and then swept No. 16 Hawai'i. Oregon State returns four starters plus the libero, only losing two. Head coach Taras Liskevych is in his third season leading the team with a 16-38 overall record at OSU.

    Sophomore Rachel Rourke leads the team offensively and defensively, averaging 4.09 kills per game and 2.82 digs per game. The 6-5 outside hitter from Aroona, Queensland, Australia also added eight service aces and 14 total blocks.
    The Series: First meeting.

    Looking Back at the Season Opener...
    The Blue Raiders went 4-0 to open up the 2007 campaign for the first time since 1995. Middle Tennessee swept Montana State, host Creighton and 2006 NCAA Tournament team Stephen F. Austin in the Creighton Bluejay Invitational. Junior Ashley Adams was honored with MVP honors, while senior Quanshell Scott received All-Tournament Team honors.

    The team then headed to Iowa State, where it defeated the Cyclones in four games. Sophomore Ashley Mead led the way with 19 kills, and Adams had 14 digs.

    Making History...
    The 2007 Middle Tennessee volleyball team made history on Monday, Aug. 27, when the team received its highest ranking in school history. The Blue Raiders received 29 votes in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, which placed them 33rd overall. The team's previous best was 34th, where it ended the 2006 season.

    Season Openers...
    Middle Tennessee is 3-1 in season openers under head coach Matt Peck, and 5-3 since 2000 when the school joined the Sun Belt Conference. This season, the Blue Raiders swept the Montana State Bobcats at the Creighton Invitational. While last season, the team 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 hosts its home opener on Sept. 7 against Northeastern at the Blue Raider Bash. The team will also face Georgia State and Texas-Arlington in the two-day tournament on Saturday, Sept. 8 before hosting Missouri State for a single-match on Sunday.

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