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November 12, 2003

Eagles facing stiff challenge in quest for repeat

Match Notes

When the University of Southern Indiana volleyball team begins its quest for a second consecutive conference championship it will face some stiff challenges. The Screaming Eagles enter this weekend’s Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament as the fifth seed and will face fourth-seeded Quincy University Thursday at 4 p.m. (CST).

USI was unable to solve Quincy during the regular season as the Lady Hawks pinned a 3-0 loss on the Eagles at the PAC and a 3-2 loss on the Eagles at the Pepsi Arena in Quincy, Illinois.

Despite the losses to Quincy, the Eagles are confident that Thursday’s contest will have a different outcome. Since falling to Quincy in October, the Eagles are 3-1, including a 3-0 victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the GLVC’s second seed.

If the Eagles are successful against Quincy, they will face the winner of the Northern Kentucky University-University of Missouri-St. Louis match. USI was 2-0 against the eighth-seeded Riverwomen of UMSL while the top-seeded Norse of NKU were victorious in their only meeting of the season with USI.

With USI and NKU being in the same bracket, this season’s GLVC Tournament will be the first tournament in four year’s that has not been decided by a USI-NKU match in the finals. However, it still could be the fourth straight season that the two schools would meet in the GLVC Tournament.

USI bested the Norse in last season’s GLVC title game after falling in the two previous league championship matches.

If the Eagles can get by Quincy and win in the semifinals Friday night, one of four possibilities would await them in the championship on Saturday. SIUE figures to be the favorite but will have to go through seventh-seeded Lewis University and then either the third-seeded University of Indianapolis or sixth-seeded University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

USI split the season series with SIUE while dropping contests to Indianapolis and Lewis. The Eagles defeated UWP in a thrilling five-game match earlier in the season.

Passing will be a key factor if USI is successful in getting senior setter Kim Boehmer (Cincinnati, Ohio) good opportunities to set its attack this weekend. Boehmer is averaging 12.22 assists per game in 2003 and ranks third all-time in the GLVC with 5,171 career assists.

One area the Eagles have been sure about all season has been their middles. Sophomore middle hitter Laura Ellerbusch (Newburgh, Indiana) is second in the league with a team-high .365 attacking percentage and is seventh in the GLVC with 1.00 blocks per game. She is averaging 3.31 kills per game in 2003.

Junior middle blocker Leeanne Gross (Decatur, Indiana) has been USI’s most potent offensive weapon. She ranks seventh in the GLVC with 3.88 kills per game and fifth with a .326 attacking percentage.

The USI-Quincy match will take place at Regents Hall in Highland Heights, Kentucky. If the Eagles win Thursday, they will play at 6:30 p.m. (CST) on Friday. The championship is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CST) on Saturday.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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