Weekly Release #1: Bulldogs Set To Open 2005 Campaign

August 23, 2005

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    FSU Volleyball FSU Volleyball At A Glance: The Ferris State women’s volleyball team will open the 2005 campaign by hosting West Virginia State Thursday, Aug. 25, in a 7 p.m. (EDT) non-conference outing at FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs will then host the two-day FSU Holiday Inn Invitational featuring 10 schools Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26-27, on three courts at the Ewigleben Sports Arena and Ferris' Jim Wink Arena. Ferris squares off against Lees-McRae (N.C.), Lock Haven (Pa.), Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.) and Seattle Pacific (Wash.) in the event.

    Last Season: Ferris State claimed its ninth Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championship in 2004 after winning the league’s annual postseason tournament for the first time ever. FSU concluded the 2004 campaign with a 25-7 overall record and a second place 14-4 GLIAC North Division mark. The Bulldogs also advanced to the NCAA-II National Tournament for the 12th time in school history.

    The 33rd Season: The 2004 campaign marks the 33rd season of FSU women’s volleyball. Since the program’s inception in 1972, the Bulldogs have compiled a 692-397 (.635) overall record. Ferris has won nine GLIAC titles, made 12 NCAA-II Tournament appearances and registered 25 winning seasons in its previous 31 campaigns.

    GLIAC Preseason Poll: FSU was picked to finish fourth in the 2005 GLIAC Volleyball Coaches Preseason North Division Poll as announced by the league office. The Bulldogs totaled 26 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference's head coaches. A year ago, Ferris also took fourth place in the preseason coaches poll with 26 points. Grand Valley State was the favorite to repeat as regular-season divisional champion as the Lakers recorded 31 points along with three first-place votes. Findlay, which tied for second place in the South Division last campaign, received 23 points and three first-place votes in being selected this year’s favorite. Northwood and Northern Michigan were chosen second and third, respectively, in the North Division poll.

    Nationally-Ranked: The Bulldogs are ranked 17th overall in the 2005 CSTV/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll announced by the AVCA. FSU registered 295 total points in the balloting process and is among five conference schools listed in the top 25. Ferris concluded the 2004 campaign ranked 20th in the AVCA's final regular-season poll. In addition to FSU, the other GLIAC schools featured in the preseason poll include 11th-ranked Northern Michigan, Grand Valley State (14th), Northwood (16th) and Ashland (25th).

    Tough At Home: The Bulldogs have compiled a 229-60 (.792) record to date in 24 seasons of competition at Ewigleben Sports Arena since moving from the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Building in 1981. Ferris, which has compiled six undefeated home seasons in the facility, registered a 12-3 mark at home in 2004.

    Back To School: Ferris will hold “Back To School” night in conjunction with its season-opening match versus West Virginia State Thursday. Fans attending the match can earn free admission by providing a new school supply, which will then be distributed by the department for use in local elementary classrooms. Items should be in new package condition and can include such materials as crayons, construction paper, markers, glue, notebooks and pencils.

    The FSU Invitational: The Bulldogs have had previous success in the FSU Invitational. From 1998-2001, the Bulldogs opened each of their four campaigns unbeaten with a 4-0 record after winning consecutive matches in the home event. FSU also registered a 4-0 mark in the invite last year. This year’s field includes Grand Valley State, Lake Superior State, Lees-McRae (N.C.), Lock Haven (Pa.), Midwestern State (Texas), Northwood, Seattle Pacific (Wash.), West Virginia State and Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.). This season’s event is sponsored by the Holiday Inn of Big Rapids.

    More On The Invite: Action is slated to take place on two courts at Jim Wink Arena and on a single court at the 600-seat Ewigleben Sports Arena. Matches are scheduled for 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 26) along with 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 27). Both facilities are housed within the FSU Sports and Convocation Complex, which is located on the southern edge of campus. All four Ferris State matches will take place inside the Ewigleben Sports Arena. Admission is $5 per person per day. FSU students and youth ages five and under will be admitted free of charge.

    Starting Point: The 2005 campaign marks the second-straight season in which the Bulldogs have opened the year at home. Prior to last season, FSU had not played its season opener at home since 2001. The Bulldogs, who have won their first four matches six of the last seven years to date, registered their best start in school history (10-0) in 2000. Ferris is 26-6 (.813) all-time in season-opening encounters, including a 8-1 mark under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. FSU is 8-0 (home), 6-2 (road) and 12-4 (neutral) all-time it its first match of the year. The Bulldogs have won 13 of their last 15 season openers to date.

    The Head Coach: FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm presently ranks second among Ferris’ all-time coaching victory leaders. Brandel-Wilhelm, who has a current 308-116 (.726) career mark, is 190-96 (.664) in nine seasons at Ferris. A 1990 Alma graduate, Brandel-Wilhelm guided the Bulldogs to NCAA-II Tournament appearances in 1999, 2002 and 2004. Brandel-Wilhelm was voted the GLIAC’s Coach of the Year in 2002.

    On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics’ official web site can be found at www.ferris.edu/sports. The site features information on all of FSU’s varsity athletics programs including rosters, statistics, yearbooks and more. A complete Ferris State Invitational schedule and the squad’s 2005 yearbook can also be found at the site.

    Great Run: Ferris has won 20 or more matches six times under 10th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs are 157-59 (.727) over the past seven years and have reached the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament three times in that span. FSU has advanced to the GLIAC Tournament seven consecutive years to date.

    Home Sweet Home: The Bulldogs have compiled a 23-0 cumulative mark in non-conference home outings during head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm’s tenure. Overall, Ferris is 82-20 (.804) in home matches under Brandel-Wilhelm.

    Returning Award Winners: Senior libero Brittny Godlewski (St. Clair Township/Marysville) received second-team Daktronics Division II All-Great Lakes Region recognition for the second consecutive year last campaign. She also became the first libero player in GLIAC history to attain second-team all-conference honors. Godlewski previously was a two-time (2002-03) All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection. Junior outside hitter Danielle Baucher (Kalamazoo/Mattawan) was an honorable mention AVCA All-Great Lakes Region pick and second-team All-GLIAC honoree last year. Senior middle hitter Lauren Heine (Ypsilanti) was named to the GLIAC’s All-Tournament Team last season.

    New Assistant Coach: Theresa Beeckman has been hired as the program’s new assistant coach. A native of Bridgeport, Mich., Beeckman comes to Ferris following four years as the head coach at Delta College in University Center, Mich. The 29-year old Beeckman will assist in all phases of the program including on-floor responsibilities, recruiting duties and administrative functions. She replaced Lee Anderson, who accepted a head coaching post at NCAA Division I member Glenville State (W.Va.) in July 2005. Beeckman guided Delta College to a 73-88 mark during her head coaching tenure, including a school-record 27 victories in 2004. She also was the head volleyball coach at Hemlock (Mich.) High School in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 prep volleyball campaigns.

    Tough Schedule: The Bulldogs will face seven teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll this season, including fourth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth, Northern Michigan (11th), Central Washington (12th), Grand Valley State (14th), Northwood (16th), Lock Haven (24th) and Ashland (25th).

    Bulldog Captains: Senior setter Emily Clouse (Tiffin, Ohio/Bascom Hopewell-Loudon), Brittny Godlewski and Danielle Baucher have been named tri-captains for the 2005 campaign. Baucher had a team-leading 416 digs and added 340 kills last season. Clouse totaled 572 assists and 220 digs while Godlewski chipped in 396 digs.

    The FSU Roster: Ferris’ 2005 active roster includes five seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and seven freshmen. Eight of the 19 players are outside hitters, seven are middle hitters, and four others fill the squad’s setter, defensive specialist and libero roles. Emily Clouse (Ohio) is the only squad member not from the state of Michigan.

    Bulldog Athletics Luncheon: The initial Bulldog Athletics Luncheon of the 2005-06 athletics season will be held Wednesday, Aug. 31, from 12-1 p.m. (EDT) at FSU’s Wheeler Pavilion located at Top Taggart Field. Featured speakers include FSU women’s volleyball head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm, football head coach Jeff Pierce and women’s soccer head coach Melissa Lalonde. For more information, please contact the FSU Alumni Office at (231) 591-2345.

    A Look At The Opponents:

    West Virginia State: Ferris State defeated West Virginia State 3-0 last season in the first-ever meeting between the two schools at the FSU Invitational (Aug. 27) in Big Rapids. The Yellow Jackets recorded a 18-15 overall record and were 13-5 in West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) action during the 2004 campaign. They are guided by fourth-year head coach Shannon Gerencir.

    Lees-McRae: The Bulldogs have never faced the Bobcats heading into Friday’s meeting. Lees-McRae, which is directed by first-year head coach Jamie Petrik, compiled a 30-8 overall record and was 20-2 in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (CVAC) play last season.

    Lock Haven: Friday’s second match will also be FSU’s first-ever series’ encounter with nationally 24th-ranked Lock Haven. The Eagles reached the NCAA-II Tournament last campaign after registering a 28-4 overall record and an 8-2 mark in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). Tom Justice is in his 15th season at the Lock Haven helm.

    Wheeling Jesuit: FSU holds a 2-2 overall mark against Wheeling Jesuit although the Cardinals pulled out a 3-2 triumph over the Bulldogs in the most recent meeting (9/6/03) at the 2003 Grand Valley State Days Inn Classic in Allendale, Mich.. WJU, which is coached by fourth-year head coach Christy Benner, finished the 2004 campaign with a 25-15 overall record and was 18-0 in West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) action.

    Seattle Pacific: Ferris and Seattle Pacific have met once before with the Falcons edging Ferris 3-2 in the 2001 Seattle Pacific Invitational (9/1/01). SPU was 15-11 overall last season and tallied an 11-7 mark in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. Head coach Chris Johnson is in his first season at Seattle Pacific.

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