Blue Hen Volleyball Preps for Playoffs with Final Home Stand
November 11, 2010
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. - - Viera Court will have some extra activity now that the University of Delaware volleyball team locked up the number one seed and the right to host next weekend’s Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, but that doesn’t mean this weekend won’t be less special. The team welcomes UNC Wilmington and Georgia State to the Carpenter Sports Building this weekend in its final regular season tune-up.
The Blue Hens will play UNCW on Friday at 7 p.m. before trying to avenge their only CAA loss of the season against Georgia State on Saturday at 7 p.m. Saturday’s game will also feature head coach Bonnie Kenny's (at right) four seniors, as they will be playing their final regular season game on home court.
Last Time Out:
The Blue Hens (22-5, 11-1 CAA) extended their winning streak to 11 straight games for the first time since 2007, when they ran off 11 straight from October 19 through November 30 including a CAA Championship and a NCAA First Round win over Princeton. Last year’s squad also held a 10 game winning streak, but had it snapped with a five set loss at James Madison.
The Blue Hens are coming into this final regular season weekend with back-to-back sweeps over VCU and William & Mary.
Paige Erickson led the way offensively over the weekend, turning in 22 kills on 40 swings, with only three errors, for a .475 hitting percentage. She also had a team high nine total blocks in the two victories. Against William & Mary she tallied 14 kills and .500 attack percentage.
Greta Gibboney was named the CAA Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth time this season after posting 56 digs in the six sets, along with not committing one error on 29 service receptions. CVU.com named Gibboney a Top Performer, which includes being named a finalist for the CVU.com National Player of the Week award. Jess Chason averaged 11.8 assists per set over the two games, dishing out 71 total during the span.
Scouting UNC Wilmington:
The Seahawks (7-21, 1-11 CAA) comes to Newark on an eight game losing streak, and last defeated North Carolina Central in five games back on October 12. Their lone CAA victory was another five set match, this time over Towson on October 1 when the Tigers and Blue Hens made their way to Wilmington, N.C. and Atlanta.
Their do-it-all senior, Kelli Clear, leads the Seahawks. She leads the team in kills (255 and 2.58 per set) and points (2.98 per game). She also is second on the team in digs (280 and 2.83 per set) and aces (22). Clear has also recorded 33 block assists on the season.
As a team, the Seahawks are fourth in the CAA in blocks, totaling 212.5 on the season and 2.15 per set.
Last time out for UNCW, the Seahawks were able to take the first set against James Madison, 25-22, but couldn’t recover from a 28-26 third set loss before falling in four games. The Seahawks held a 23-20 advantage following a kill by Clear, but the Dukes rattled off four straight points to retake the lead eventually the set.
Clear led the Seahawks with 14 kills, and recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 11 digs. Freshman Christi Laite was the only other Seahawk to post double-figure kills with 11. Haley Collins recorded a team high 17 digs while Kelsey Bendig finished with 10 to go along with 36 assists for her sixth double-double of the season.
Scouting Georgia State:
The Panthers (14-12, 8-4 CAA) are fighting for their playoff lives this weekend as they are in one of five teams with four conference losses coming into this weekend. The Blue Hens occupy the number one seed, but the other three seeds are yet to be determined and will be figured out when the dust settles on Sunday night.
The Panthers have made a late push, winning four straight with a sweep over James Madison and George Mason last weekend. GSU is now in a four-way tie for third place in the CAA standings with James Madison, Northeastern and George Mason and owns tiebreakers over the Dukes and Huskies.
Senior Ashley Jones led the way for GSU with a 15 kill, 25-dig performance. The 25 digs was the most she has had since the DePaul match earlier in the year and gave her 13 double-doubles on the season. Redshirt-junior Vineece Verdun had 12 kills and two service aces, while junior Muki Kangwa had 14 kills and seven digs. Sophomore Jamiee Freeman had the final double-digit kill total with 11 and six digs. Senior libero Audrey Cantrell had 15 digs to move her to within 61 of the all-time GSU record. Setter Chelsea Perry had her ninth 50-plus assist match of the season and her fourth straight with a 51 assist performance.
Georgia State gave the Blue Hens their only conference loss of the season so far when they defeated Delaware 3-2 on October 1. The Hens grabbed the first two sets of the match but were unable to finish off the Panthers as they stole the next three sets for the five set victory.
The Blue Hens are now 11-0 at home this season, and 13-0 dating back to last season. That is the 12th longest home winning streak in the nation, and they could move up to 11th with a sweep this weekend. Maryland Eastern Shore has won 14 straight at home, but are done with their home schedule for 2010. Penn State, the three-time defending national champions, tops the list with an 86 game home winning streak.
Delaware stands at the top of a number of the categories in the CAA, but they are also continueing to make a splash on the national scene as well. As a team, the Blue Hens are the leaders in hitting percentage, swinging and finishing at a .215 clip. They also only allow their opponents to hit at a .157 mark which is tops in the CAA. They are currently second in blocks as a team, reaching up and knocking down 2.39 balls a game. Additionally, they are second in the conference in service aces, with a total of 145 and averaging 1.46 aces per set. Finally, they are number one in the CAA in digs per game as a team, keeping the 17.05 balls off the floor per set.
Individually, Gibboney (at left) leads all Blue Hens on the national scale, as she moved up to eighth in digs per set, averaging 5.71 a game. Valparaiso’s Taylor Root leads the country with a 5.83 average.
Erickson stands at 30th in the country in blocks per set, as she knocks down 1.26 a frame. Hawaii’s Brittany Hewitt stands above everyone as she blocks 1.74 attacks a set.
Chason moved her assist average up to 10.35 a game and is now 72nd in the nation. Tulsa’s Jordan Clampitt still outshines everyone as she is averaging 13.3 assists a set.
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