Schedule note: Court 1
@ St. Ambrose
St. Ambrose Tournament
|Saints Invitational (Ashford)|
Fri, Sep 12 - Sat, Sep 13
Game Time...Fifth-ranked Northwestern heads to play in the Saints Invitational, hosted by Ashford University (Iowa), this weekend. The Red Raiders will begin pool play on Friday morning, Sept. 12, against Saint Ambrose (9am) and William Woods (1:30pm). Teams will then be matched up, based on they finish in pool play, and play in a four-team tournament on Saturday, Sept. 13. Follow the tournament live at the following link: Ashford Website!
All-Time...Northwestern is 13-1 all-time against Saint Ambrose but have not played since the 2006 season. The Red Raiders are now 4-0 against William Woods, having defeated the Owls 3-0 earlier this season.
Saint Ambrose...The Fighting Bees were picked fourth out of seven teams in the Midwest Collegiate Conference preseason volleyball poll. They are 8-4 so far this season, played against all non-conference teams. Last weekend, SAU went 4-0 at the Rose-Hulman Tournament, hosted by Defiance College, defeating four NCAA D-III teams. The Bees have won six straight matches heading into the weekend.
Long time coach Bruce Billingsley is in his 18th season as the head of the SAU volleyball program, beginning his tenure in 1997. With over 600 wins, he is the program's all-time leader that category and has guided SAU to nine conference titles (most recently in 2010) and three NAIA national championships (most recently in 2010). Billingsley returns seven rotation players off a 2013 team that finished fourth in the MCC with a 3-3 record, 15-22 overall.
The Fighting Bees are hitting .234, averaging 12.1 kills and 1.8 blocks per set. They have 62 aces on the year.
SAU returns four players who earned all-conference honors in 2013, led by senior middle hitter Maddie McElroy who earned first team accolades. McElroy, the reigning MCC player of the week, averages over three kills per set, hits .364 and leads the team with 32 blocks. Freshman Emily Hermiston is second on the team with three kills per set and hits .219 on the outside. Kate Nowak earned all-conference honors in 2013 and returns as the team's primary setter. Nowak lofts up 9.55 assists and averages over two digs per set. Senior libero Karrah Toby is the current MCC libero of the week and averages nearly five digs per set.
William Woods...Members of the American Midwest Conference, the Owls are 6-6 this season and have won four of their last five matches. They defeated Johnson & Wales (Colo.), Avila (Mo.), Bethel (Kan.) and Benedictine-Springfield (Ill.) but lost to #16 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) last time out in five sets.
Earlier this season, Northwestern defeated the Owls in straight sets, 25-16, 25-5 and 25-23. Northwestern hit .374 compared to .057 for WWU. Kaitlin Floerchinger led all players with 14 kills and Haley Chambers put down 12. Brooke Fessler put up 36 assists and tied Alexis Bart for the team lead with 10 digs. William Woods was led by Kristen Bauer with eight kills and Abby Ferguson put down six.
William Woods returns seven players from its regular rotation and nine total players off a 2013 team that tied for fourth in the AMC with an 8-3 record. They lost in the first round of the conference tournament to end the year with a 14-22 record.
Monica Herschelman is in her third season as the head coach of the Owls, taking over in the spring of 2012 after a successful stint as an assistant at Bradley University.
William Woods is hitting .183 this season, averaging 11.6 kills per set. Emily Becker is the top returning hitter, averaging 2.2 kills and hitting .252 on the outside. She was a first team all-conference pick last year. Bauer also returns on the outside and puts down 2.4 kills per set. She also was an all-conference pick last year. Abbie O'Mara was the AMC Libero of the Year in 2013 and leads the defense with 3.8 digs per set.
Northwestern News and Notes...The fifth-ranked Red Raiders have won 10 consecutive matches and are 11-1 heading into the weekend. Last night, they opened conference play with a 3-1 home win over Morningside. Three players recorded double figures in kills, led by Kaitlin Floerchinger with 17, followed by Karlie Schut (14) and Payton Samuelson, who matched her career-high with 12. Both Haley Chambers and Jessica Van Beek added nine kills and Brooke Fessler put up 51 assists.
Northwestern is 4-1 against ranked teams this season and is one of six GPAC teams recognized in the most recent NAIA coaches' poll.
Northwestern leads the GPAC in kills (13.9) and hitting percentage (.276), ranking 10th in the NAIA in the later. They are fourth in the GPAC in aces (82) and sixth in blocks (1.8).
Senior Kaitlin Floerchinger leads the GPAC in kills, averaging more than 4.3 per set. She currently is hitting .302 and has recorded 10-or-more kills in every match this season. Floerchinger also is tied for first in the GPAC with 26 ace serves. Haley Chambers averages 2.6 kills and is 11th in the GPAC with a .245 kill efficiency. Brooke Fessler leads the GPAC in assists (11.6) and Alexis Bart leads the backrow with 4.3 digs.
Up Next...Northwestern begins a two-match road swing on Wednesday as the play Mount Marty in a GPAC contest at 7:30pm.