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Blue Raiders Ready for League Play

Volleyball team recieves national recognition as it prepares for Sun Belt season

September 19, 2007 · MT Athletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee will look to extend its three-game win streak on Friday as it begins Sun Belt Conference play.

The Blue Raiders (13-1) will open league play at South Alabama (5-4) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. Then Middle Tennessee with travel up the road on Saturday to play Troy (9-7) at 7 p.m.

Middle Tennessee won the UConn Toyota Classic last weekend as it went undefeated and had three members named to the All-Tournament team. Junior Ashley Adams was named Tournament MVP for the fourth time this season. Junior Ashley Asberry and freshman Izabel Kozon were also named to the team.

This season, Adams has recorded 236 kills and averages 4.72 kills per game. Defensively, Adams has 62 blocks for the season as she averages 1.24 blocks per game.

"We are very excited to start conference play. We have to start it on the road which is okay with me. South Alabama challenged us at their place last year and Troy challenged us at home so these teams are both very capable of playing us well," head coach Matt Peck said. I think our players realize we are starting conference now and we want to be the No. 1 seed and play well."

In addition to winning four tournaments this season, the Blue Raiders are receiving attention on a national level. Middle Tennessee is currently ranked 28th in the CSTV/AVCA Poll after receiving 54 votes.

"We were a little disappointed we didn't get back in the poll. This was a good tournament we played in last weekend, UConn and Hofstra had RPI's below 100 and Long Island is at 160. All we can do is take care of business," Peck said. "If we continue to win and don't slip up here along the way I'm pretty confident we will get back in the national poll. It is great for our program and conference to be recognized."

The Blue Raiders are currently 12th in the RPI behind Nebraska, Stanford, USC, Texas, UNLV and Michigan just to name a few.

"We are not going to get sidetracked by rankings and numbers. We want our team to play well and our players to continue to improve. We want our team to be playing its best ball at the end of the season when it will matter the most. I think that is the goal of our team right now as we begin play in the Sun Belt," Peck said.

Middle Tennessee also appears in the NCAA Rankings as one of the top teams. The Blue Raiders are second in assists per game, fourth in blocks per game, 31st in hitting percentage, fifth in kills per game and eighth in match win/loss percentage.

Sophomore Leslie Clark, senior Quanshell Scott, juniors Ashley Asberry and Ashley Adams are in the NCAA National Rankings. Clark is first in assists per game as she averages 14.67 per game ahead of Stanford's Bryn Kehoe who is second with 13.91.

"I think it reflects some of the things we have been doing with our team. For example, Leslie Clark is leading the nation in assists. We are a very offensive minded team and focus a lot on our play at the net, blocking and hitting," Peck said.

Scott and Asberry are listed at 18th and 20th respectively in blocks per game. Scott is averaging 1.58 and Asberry 1.56 blocks per game.

Adams ranks 59th in hitting percentage with .367 and 32nd in kills per game with 4.72 per game.

"To have our team and players mentioned in so many categories is just attests to the fact that our program has come a long way and we are doing a very good job as a team playing well. We are being mentioned in these categories along with some of the best teams in the country," Peck said.

Radio broadcast will be available on www.goblueraiders.com on Saturday as the Blue Raiders face Troy.

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