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Raiders return to Missouri for Mizzou Classic

MT to play Southeast Missouri, Towson and Missouri

September 18, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee volleyball team (6-4) plays in Missouri for the second straight weekend, this time traveling to Columbia for three matches at the Mizzou Classic. The Blue Raiders will face Southeast Missouri of the OVC, Towson of the CAA, and the host Missouri Tigers of the SEC. Samford of the SoCon will also be participating in the weekend invitational, but the Bulldogs and Blue Raiders will not face each other.

MT looks to rebound from a 1-2 weekend at Missouri State, falling to the host Bears and Oklahoma before defeating Alabama A&M. All three matches on the weekend were of the three-set variety.

NOTES (For full notes, view PDF):

Scouting the Southeast Missouri Redhawks
The Redhawks last played Wednesday night against UMKC, outlasting the Roos in five sets. It was the first home match of 2013 for Southeast Missouri, who had previously won neutral-site matches vs. IUPUI, Southern Illinois, Siena and UALR, in addition to a win at Mississippi State.

Through Saturday's match vs. IUPUI, Colleen Yarber was the Redhawks' leader in kills per set at 3.22. Julie Shives had posted a mark of 8.56 assists per set through nine matches, while Berkley Idel's 4.42 digs per set sedged Yarber's 3.72. Idel tallied 27 digs in Wednesday's match vs. UMKC, while Emily Coon hit .516 with 20 kills and seven blocks. Yarber added 20 kills for the Redhawks.

Scouting the Towson Tigers
Towson is coming off a come-from-behind win over Delaware State on Tuesday night, taking the fourth and fifth sets to edge the Hornets. The Tigers sit at 5-8 on the year, also holding wins over Saint Francis U, Coppin State, Binghamton and Northern Arizona. Last weekend in Albuquerque, N.M., the Tigers defeated Northern Arizona while falling to Abilene Christian and host New Mexico.

Saitaua Iosia leads Towson in kills per set with 3.12. Kelsey Polak has posted a team-best 7.14 assists per set, while Paige Sekerak has tallied a team-leading 3.54 digs per set.

Scouting the Missouri Tigers
Missouri still remains among the ranks of the unbeaten after going 3-0 at the Rice Invitational in Houston last weekend. The Tigers did not lose a set, sweeping NC State, Rice and Houston Baptist.

The Tigers lead the nation in hitting percentage at .375 and are second in assists per set with 14.60. Missouri's Whitney Little is the nation's leader in hitting percentage through matches played Sept. 15 at .569, while Molly Kreklow, niece of head coach Wayne Kreklow, leads the nation in assists per set at 12.83.

Lisa Henning leads the Tigers in kills per set with 4.54, while Sarah Meister has posted a team best 3.91 digs per set. Emily Thater has led the Tigers in blocks per set at 1.21.

Mutual Acquaintances
Two of MT's opponents this weekend have faced a mutual non-conference opponent, both with similar results. Virginia Tech downed Towson, 3-1, in the Tigers' season opener, a week before the Hokies swept the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro. Four days after MT defeated Southern Illinois in five sets, Southeast Missouri had the same result against the Salukis.

Redhawk Block
Southeast Missouri leads the OVC (in matches through Sept. 15) in blocks per set at 2.31.

The Show-Up State
Through matches played Sept. 12, Missouri ranks 11th in Division I in home attendance. The Tigers have averaged 2,566 fans per home matches.

Challenging Slate
The Blue Raiders are ranked 81st in this week's Rich Kern Percentage Index (RKPI). Of the four teams MT has lost to so far this season, all have a top-50 RKPI: No. 17 Oklahoma, No. 32 North Carolina, No. 34 Virginia Tech and No. 48 Missouri State. Missouri is No. 7 in this week's RKPI.

Murfreesboro Blockade
The Blue Raiders recorded 15 blocks in Saturday's win over Alabama A&M were the most since MT recorded 15 blocks against Miami on Sept. 15, 2012. The Bulldogs were held without a block, marking the first time since Sept. 12, 2008 vs. South Carolina State that MT held a team without a block.

Chelsea, Lately
Sophomore Chelsea Ross was named to the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn/University Plaza Invitational on Sept. 14 for her performances vs. Missouri State, Oklahoma and Alabama A&M.

15 for 7
Freshman Jale Hervey's season and career-high in kills is 15, accomplished four times so far in her freshman campaign: vs. San Francisco (Aug. 30), at Southern Illinois (Sept. 3), vs. Austin Peay (Sept. 7) and at Missouri State (Sept. 13). The 15 kills against Missouri State were notched in just three sets.

Drive at Five
Four of the Blue Raiders' first 10 matches in 2013 have been of the five-set variety. Remarkably, MT has an unblemished 4-0 record in those matches, with wins over San Francisco (Aug. 30), Southern Illinois (Sept. 3), Austin Peay (Sept. 7) and North Dakota (Sept. 7).

MT to Host C-USA Championship
Conference USA selected Middle Tennessee and Alumni Memorial Gym as the host site for the 2013 Conference USA Volleyball Championship, to take place Nov. 21-24. The top 12 teams in the C-USA standings will qualify for the single elimination tournament, with the top four seeds receiving a first-round bye.

Next Up: Conference Call
Middle Tennessee plays its first two Conference USA matches next weekend, traveling to the Lone Star State for matches at Rice (Sep. 27, 7:00 p.m.) and North Texas (Sep. 29, 12:00 p.m.)

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