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September 08, 2004

Regional positioning at stake for USI volleyball

Positioning in the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional rankings will be at stake this weekend when the University of Southern Indiana volleyball team takes the court this weekend for the Great Lakes Region Crossover in Wheeling, West Virginia.

The Screaming Eagles are 6-1, receiving votes in the CSTV/AVCA Top 25 for the second time in school history, after thrilling five-game victories over Lake Superior State University and the University of North Dakota. USI is looking to carry its momentum into its first match Friday against the GLIAC’s Northwood University at 2 p.m. (CST).

Northwood (5-1), which is ranked 23rd in the latest top 25 poll, is coming off a 3-2 loss to Lock Haven University, but has wins over the GLVC’s Northern Kentucky University and University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

On Saturday, the Eagles will face No. 12 Grand Valley State University (10:30 a.m.) and Hillsdale College (5 p.m.). Grand Valley State heads into this weekend’s play with a 5-3 record after going 3-1 at the Radisson Riverfront Classic.

Like the Eagles, GVSU’s lone loss in the Radisson Riverfront Classic was to No. 4 Truman State University. The Lakers lost to the Bulldogs in three games, while the Eagles lost in four.

Hillsdale enters this weekend’s play with a 4-2 mark and also has victories over Northern Kentucky and Wisconsin-Parkside. USI split the season-series with Hillsdale in 2003.

Through seven matches in 2004, the Eagles have had a balanced attack led by senior middle blocker Leeanne Gross (Decatur, Indiana) and junior middle blocker Laura Ellerbusch (Newburgh, Indiana). Gross is tied for the GLVC-lead in attacking percentage (.389) and the team-lead in kills per game (3.59).

Ellerbusch, the GLVC’s “Player of the Week,” leads the Eagles in blocks per game (0.81) and is tied with Gross for the team lead in kills per game.

Freshman setter Stephanie Wilson (Terre Haute, Indiana) has been solid for USI and leads the league in assists per game (13.00). Wilson has USI’s offense ranked second in the GLVC in attacking percentage (.266) and kills per game (15.70).

Perhaps the biggest spark for the Eagles last weekend came from the play of freshman libero/defensive specialist Eva Kieffer (Mt. Carmel, Indiana). Kieffer, who leads the Eagles with 3.71 digs per game, recorded a combined 46 digs in USI’s wins over Lake Superior State and North Dakota on Saturday.

Following the Great Lakes Regional Crossover, the Eagles will return home to take on Lewis University September 17 and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside September 18.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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