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September 14, 2005

Eagles open GLVC play with league newcomers

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team begins defense of its 2004 GLVC title when it takes on league-newcomer Drury University Friday at 7 p.m. in Springfield, Missouri. The Screaming Eagles will take on No. 21 Rockhurst University Saturday at 2 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri, to complete their conference-opening weekend.

USI (6-6) struggled to put the ball away last weekend. The Eagles, who where 2-2 at the UAH/Holiday Inn Express Invitational a week ago, committed a combined 67 attacking errors in their two losses. On the flip side, USI recorded just 31 attacking errors in its two victories.

The Eagles must be more consistent in their attack if they hope to continue their dominance of the GLVC they exhibited last season. USI was 17-1 against GLVC competition a year ago as it won the conference title for the second time in three seasons.

Stephanie Wilson

Sophomore setter Stephanie Wilson (Terre Haute, Indiana) will have the responsibility of setting the Eagle attackers. She ranks second in the GLVC with 12.19 assists per game (apg) and needs just five assists to reach 2,000 for her career.

Wilson has spread the ball around in 2005 as four hitters are averaging better than 2.50 kills per game (kpg), including three that are averaging more than 3.10 kpg.

Senior middle blocker Laura Ellerbusch (Newburgh, Indiana) and junior outside hitter Emily Ryan (Batesville, Indiana) are tied for the team lead with 3.26 kpg, while junior outside hitter Chelse Doubler (Griffin, Indiana) is close behind with 3.11 kpg.

Defensively, Ellerbusch leads the team with 43 blocks (1.00 bpg), while freshman libero Amber Gogel (Ferdinand, Indiana) and junior defensive specialist Mandy Probst (Wheeler, Illinois) are averaging 3.65 and 3.02 digs per game (dpg), respectively.

Drury (3-7), which plays Pittsburg State University Thursday night, is led by senior outside hitter Rachel Ellis and junior libero Maggie Thompson. Ellis leads the Panthers with 3.81 kpg and is second on the team with 3.53 dpg, while Thompson is second in the GLVC with a team-best 5.21 dpg.

Rockhurst (9-1) has four players averaging better than 3.00 kpg, led by junior outside hitter Nathalia Rivera’s 3.89 kpg. Senior setter Kecia Jennings, the Heartland Conference Player of the Year in 2004, has been a major reason the Hawks’ attack has been so successful in 2005. She leads the GLVC with 14.48 apg and was named the league’s Player of the Week on Monday. The Hawks host Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Friday night.

USI opens its home schedule September 21 at 7 p.m. against No. 6 University of North Alabama. The Eagles, who took the Lions to five games in Florence, Alabama, a year ago, have won 17 straight matches at the Physical Activities Center.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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