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November 05, 2008

Resurging Eagles looking to continue upward swing,
Looking to clinch third seed in GLVC West Division

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team can clinch the third seed in the GLVC West Division this weekend when it closes the 2008 regular season with a two-match road swing in Missouri this weekend. The Screaming Eagles travel to Rolla to take on Missouri University of Science and Technology Friday at 7 p.m., and then head to St. Louis to play the University of Missouri-St. Louis Saturday at 3 p.m.

USI (15-13, 8-7 GLVC), which clinched a spot in the GLVC Tournament for the 10th straight year last weekend, will be the third seed in the GLVC West Division with a win this weekend or a Drury University loss.

The Eagles, which have won three straight and nine of its last 14 matches, are 7-2 in their last nine GLVC matches after starting the year with a 1-5 mark in league contests.

During their last nine conference tilts, the Eagles are attacking at a .257 clip and averaging 13.19 kills per set, compared to a .146 attacking percentage and 10.43 kills per set in their first six GLVC matches.

Junior setter Melanie Pund (Ferdinand, Indiana) has helped with the resurgence, averaging 10.16 assists per set in USI's last nine GLVC matches. This is compared to just 7.87 assists per set in USI's first six league contests.

The Eagles also have received increased production out of senior middle blocker Margaret Buschman (Reynolds, Indiana) as well as the outside hitter tandem of sophomore Brittani Oliver (Indianapolis, Indiana) and junior Courtney Bealor (LaPorte, Indiana). Buschman is hitting .417 and averaging 2.73 kills per set during USI's 7-2 run, while Oliver and Pund are averaging 3.30 and 2.87 kills per game, respectively.

While the Eagles are looking to continue their momentum, they will have to do it against the two teams they started the conference schedule with.

USI began GLVC play with a 3-1 victory over Missouri S&T at the Physical Activities Center in September, but a 3-1 home loss to Missouri-St. Louis the next day sent the Eagles into a five-match losing streak.

Missouri S&T (6-25, 3-13 GLVC) has lost eight straight matches heading into Friday night's contest with the Eagles, while Missouri-St. Louis (21-7, 13-3 GLVC) has wrapped up the top seed in the West Division after winning four of its last five matches, including a 3-1 win over Missouri S&T Tuesday night.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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