Four Blue Raiders named SBC All-Conference
Team set to begin conference tourney Thursday nightNovember 18, 2009 · MT Athletic Communications
"I'm very please that our four players were honored by the other coaches in conference. I think all four have done a tremendous job to get our program where it is today especially the seniors, Leslie Clark and Ashley Mead. I think everyone realizes we are a very balanced team and rely on a lot of different people to help us win matches. You couldn't ask for four more dedicated and hard working players than the ones who were selected for us," head coach Matt Peck said.
Already Middle Tennessee's all-time assists leader, senior Leslie Clark recorded her 5,000 assist against UALR earlier this season. The Olathe, Kan., native currently has 5,486 assists for her career and is the only player in school history to have 5,000 assists or more. Clark was also the only setter in the league to receive Sun Belt Player of the Week honors.
Currently, Clark is in the Top-25 in the country for assists for the second straight year in addition to being second in the conference. It is the third time in her career she has received First Team All-Sun Belt honors.
Kozon currently leads the team in kills with 360 and posted a season high 19 against Georgia Tech. The Warsaw, Poland native has also recorded seven double-doubles and is currently fifth in the league in kills with 360.
Kozon received Sun Belt Player of the Week honors after leading the Blue Raiders to three wins on the week including a 3-0 win over West Division leader New Orleans. She knocked down a team high 42 kills for a .424 hitting percentage in the three matches. In 85 attack attempts Kozon had just six errors. She also added assistance to the defense with 18 blocks, averaging two per set, and four block assists.
Mead has also been a steady contributor to the Blue Raider offense this season and is currently seventh in the league in kills with 344. The Newnan, Ga., native has 22 matches with double-digit kills which included a season high 24 against Albany.
Oladinni has helped guide the Blue Raider offense throughout the season. The La Vergne, Tenn., native is currently tied for seventh in hitting percentage .410 in the country and is first in the Sun Belt.
Second seeded Middle Tennessee begins the 2009 Sun Belt Championships with seven seed UALR at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 at E.A. Diddle Arena on the campus of tournament host Western Kentucky.
"We are taking this tournament as we do every one which is one match at a time. UALR played us very tough at our place and we expect them to do the same here," Peck said. "We are not looking past anyone and will concentrate on each match as it comes. I think there are some very good matchups in the first round and I wouldn't be surprised if there were some upsets."
Middle Tennessee defeated UALR earlier in the season at home by scores of 28-26, 25-15, 27-25 and was the second win of an 11-match win streak for the Blue Raiders.
The Blue Raiders are on the same side of the bracket as Western Kentucky and Denver who are set to begin play at 5 p.m. before Middle Tennessee's match. The winners of the two matches will play each other on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Results will be posted on www.goblueraiders.com as soon as they become available.
Live stats and web streaming of all tournament matches may also be found on the Tournament Central page at www.sunbeltsports.org.
ALL-SUN BELT CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL TEAM FIRST TEAM Anita Bucur (UALR, Sr., RS/OPP) Cayla Fielder (Arkansas State, So., MB) Emmy Davidsmeyer (Denver, Sr., RH) Yarimar Rosa (FIU, Sr., OH) Natalia Valentin (FIU, Jr., S) Leslie Clark (Middle Tennessee, Sr., S) Izabela Kozon (Middle Tennessee, Jr., OH) Lindsey Loyd (New Orleans, Sr., OH) SECOND TEAM Giuliana De Francesco (UALR Sr., S) Jovana Bjelica (FIU, Fr., OH) Olga Vergun (FIU, Sr., Opp) Ashley Mead (Middle Tennessee, Sr., OH) Stacy Oladinni (Middle Tennessee, r-So., Opp.) Maria Szivos (New Orleans, So., OH) Meghan Gilroy (Troy, Sr., MH) Tiffany Elmore (WKU, So., MH) FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR - Jovana Bjelica, FIU DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Heather Bowman, Arkansas State PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Yarimar Rosa, FIU COACH OF THE YEAR - Danijela Tomic, FIU
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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