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November 07, 2007

Eagles facing familiar foe in GLVC Tournament

GLVC Tournament web site Live Stats

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team plays the University of Indianapolis in the first round of the GLVC Tournament Friday at 6:30 p.m. (CST) in Indianapolis, Indiana. It marks the sixth time in the last seven years that the two schools have met in the GLVC Tournament and the first since 2005.

Though history is on the Screaming Eagles' side—USI has won four of the previous five matches against the Greyhounds in the conference tournament—Friday's task is not the most enviable for USI as the No. 19 Greyhounds won the GLVC regular season title and enter Friday's match with a 30-2 overall record and a 18-1 mark in GLVC play.

USI (15-13, 9-10 GLVC), which is the number one wild card, also has lost three straight in the series with Indianapolis, including a tough 3-1 setback in the 2005 GLVC Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Eagles, however, enter the league tournament having won their last three matches.

Sophomore Melanie Pund (Ferdinand, Indiana), who has averaged 11.92 assists and 3.23 digs per game as USI's starting setter this season, set the Eagles' offense to a .289 attacking percentage last week. She averaged 13.20 assists, 3.10 digs, 1.30 blocks, and 1.10 kills per game last week to help the Eagles snap a four-game losing streak and enter the post-season with momentum.

USI also has gotten much better play from its back row in the last three matches. Sophomore libero Julia Ridley (Madisonville, Kentucky) averaged six digs per game a week ago, while freshman defensive specialist Janae Curnutt (Arcadia, Indiana) and freshman outside hitter Brittani Oliver (Indianapolis, Indiana) are averaging 4.33 and 4.25 digs per game, respectively, during USI's current winning streak.

Senior Molly Rahman (Ferdinand, Indiana), who needs just one block assist to break the school's all-time career mark of 319, aided the back row with superb play at the net last week. She averaged 1.44 blocks per game to help USI's defense limit the opposition to just a .049 attacking percentage. For the season, Rahman leads the Eagles with 3.05 kills, 1.18 blocks, and a .305 attacking percentage.

If the Eagles can pull off the upset Friday night, they would play the winner of the match between the number two seed from the West Division, Rockhurst University, and the number three seed from the East Division, No. 25 Northern Kentucky University, Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The GLVC Championship is Sunday at 1 p.m.

Other first round matchups include the number two wild card, Drury University, and the number one seed from the West Division, No. 10 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, as well as the number three seed from the West Division, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and the number two seed from the East Division, No. 23 Lewis University.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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