Long Island University Blackbirds (7-17, 6-4 NEC)
Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 - 2 p.m.
Burt Kahn Court - Hamden, Conn.
Bobcats (6-17, 4-5 NEC) vs.
Sacred Heart University Pioneers (21-4, 10-0 NEC)
Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 - 2 p.m.
Burt Kahn Court - Hamden, Conn.
Bobcats Play Host To NEC Front Runners
The Quinnipiac volleyball team plays host to two of the Northeast Conference's top three teams in the standings in Long Island and Sacred Heart this weekend. The third-place Blackbirds visit the Burt Kahn Court Saturday, before the first-place Pioneers come to town on Sunday. Both matches are slated for 2 p.m. starts.
Follow the Bobcats
Quinnipiac fans can follow this weekend's action via live stats (both matches) and live audio (Saturday only). To access live stats and live audio, please click on the appropriate links on the volleyball schedule at www.quinnipiacbobcats.com.
Scouting the Long Island Blackbirds
The Blackbirds (7-17, 6-4 NEC) are led by Hanna Gibeau's 3.49 kills per set, while Vanessa Gemignani's 9.10 assists per set have led the Blackbirds' offense. Ashley Rice's 0.94 blocks per set and Artisha Jackson's 3.49 digs per set lead the LIU defense.
Scouting the Sacred Heart Pioneers
Sacred Heart (21-4, 10-0 NEC) is led by Dianis Mercado, whose 3.57 kills per set are a team-best. Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek has run the offense with 11.73 assists per set, while Jessica Colberg leads the defense at 4.00 digs per set. Johanna Ovsenek and Ashlyn Trimble have also contributed 0.67 and 0.59 blocks per set, respectively. Christina Bauch has also added a team-best 0.36 service aces per set.
Breaking Through At LIU
The Bobcats defeated Long Island for the first time in nearly nine years with a 3-1 victory in Brooklyn on Oct. 17. The last time the Bobcats had defeated the perennially-powerful Blackbirds was Oct. 27, 2001.
The Bobcats had played to five, five-set losses this season, before defeating Fairleigh Dickinson, 3-2, on Oct. 24. Previously, the Bobcats had fallen to Delaware State and La Salle at the Lafayette Invitational before falling at NEC foes Bryant, Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis (N.Y.).
The Bobcats entered the week ranked 19th in the nation in service aces per set (1.74), after finishing 199th in the nation (1.14) in 2009. Individually, Kayla Lawler also ranked 15th in the nation at 0.48 service aces per set, while Ashley Kopacki ranked 186th (0.31).
Led by Logan Riker's 4.37 digs per set, the Bobcats ranked 63rd in the nation at 16.29 digs per set to begin the week.
Brave New Accomplishment
Kayla Lawler (Louisville, Ky.) became the first Quinnipiac player in nearly nine years to win NEC Player of the Week, Oct. 11, after leading the Bobcats to a weekend sweep of Robert Morris and Saint Francis (Pa.). Lawler compiled a pair of double-doubles and six service aces on the weekend. The last time a Quinnipiac player won the award, QU's mascot was the Braves. Heather Wollyung last won the award on Oct. 15, 2001, the last of her four honors. Shannon Dublin also won the award once, making Lawler the third in Quinnipiac history to be honored.
New Records For Lawler
Kayla Lawler had a career day, Oct. 17 at LIU. The junior setter had 54 assists, a new four-set career high, as well as 17 digs and six service aces, also career highs for matches of any length.
Western Pennsylvania Wipeout
Quinnipiac shook up the NEC standings by earning its first sweep of the league's Western Pennsylvania teams with a pair of 3-1 victories against previously undefeated Robert Morris (4-0), Oct. 9, and Saint Francis (Pa.), Oct. 10, at the Burt Kahn Court. The win was the first in program history over the Colonials following 13 straight losses dating back to 1999.
Freshman Ashley Kopacki (Mount Olive, N.J.) compiled a season-high six service aces against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Oct. 10. Her previous season high was three.
Amanda Armstrong (Waukesha, Wis.) set a new single-match season high among Quinnipiac players with seven blocks at Sacred Heart, Sept. 29. The previous season-high, set by Armstrong, Olivia Grattan (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Taylor Payne (Warwick, N.Y.), was five.
Despite falling in five sets to Bryant, Sept. 26, Kayla Lawler set a new career-high in assists with 61, Logan Riker had a career-high 31 digs and Olivia Grattan compiled a new high of 17 kills in just her freshman season.
With 44 assists in the Bobcats 3-2 defeat to Delaware State on Sept. 17, junior Kayla Lawler eclipsed the 2,000-assist mark.
Earning Their Spots After Hart-Break
After sweeping the University of Hartford for their first win in 12 tries against the Hawks at the Division I level, Sept. 11, in Hamden, the Bobcats swept Lafayette for their first victory over the Leopards in four tries, Sept. 18.
Just two weeks after setting a new personal four-set single-match record with 46 assists against Fordham, Aug. 28, Kayla Lawler compiled a new personal three-set single-match record with 43 assists against Hartford, Sept. 11. Her previous record four-set record was 41, set twice in her freshman year of 2008. Meanwhile, Lawler's prior three-set record was 40, set last Sept. 20 against St. Francis (N.Y.). Her five-set record is 61, set Sept. 26, 2010, at Bryant.
To Biediger Back
Sophomore Stephanie Biediger (Houston, Texas) made her return to the court after missing more than a year due to injury on Sept. 10. In her first tournament back, the outside hitter led the Bobcats with 25 kills in three matches and added 34 digs, earning Quinnipiac Invitational All-Tournament Team honors. Joining Biediger on the all-tournament team was Lawler, who piled up 110 assists in three matches.
Grattan Grabbing Attention
In three matches during the Quinnipiac Invitational, freshman Olivia Grattan had team highs in both kills (25) and blocks (10).
Riker's Versatility Rewarded
Logan Riker was named to the Yale Invitational All-Tournament Team after compiling 12 kills and 28 digs, Sept. 3-4. Riker took her customary position at libero to rack up 23 digs in the first two matches of the weekend, before moving outside to compile 10 kills against Stony Brook.
A pair of newcomers to the Bobcats made impressive debuts at the Beanpot Classic. Graduate student transfer Amanda Armstrong was named to the All-Tournament Team after totaling 30 kills on the weekend, including 15 against Fordham. Freshman Tracy Wright (Fair Lawn, N.J.) had 44 digs on the weekend, including 17 to conclude the weekend against Boston College.
Taylor Payne began her sophomore season with a team-high 31 kills at the Beanpot Classic. At 3.10 kills per set at the first tournament of the year, Payne showed marked improvement from her 0.90 kills per set average as a freshman.
Quinnipiac returns much of last season's core of student-athletes, as well as its 2008 Team MVP. Junior setter Kayla Lawler, who almost solely ran the Bobcats' attack, returns as team captain after dishing out 785 assists in 2009. The team's leading hitter, Kelby Carey (Surfside, Calif.), also returns for her junior season, a year after piling up 317 kills. Sophomore libero Logan Riker is also back for the Bobcats after compiling 406 digs as a freshman. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore outside hitter Stephanie Biediger returns to the Bobcats after missing the 2009 season due to injury. Biediger was named Team MVP as a freshman after recording 233 kills, 244 digs, 31 blocks and 66 assists. Taylor Payne is the top returning blocker at 0.37 blocks per set.
The Bobcats return to NEC action when they travel to Western Pennsylvania to take on Saint Francis (Pa.) and Robert Morris, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Saturday's match is slated for 4 p.m., while Sunday's first set is scheduled for 1 p.m.