Weekly Release #1: Bulldogs Set To Open 2006 Campaign

August 21, 2006

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    FSU Volleyball FSU Volleyball At A Glance: FSU Volleyball At A Glance: The Ferris State University women’s volleyball team will open the 2006 campaign by hosting regional foe St. Joseph’s (Ind.) Thursday, Aug. 24, 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 Invitational featuring 11 schools Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25-26, on three courts at the Ewigleben Sports Arena and Ferris’ Jim Wink Arena. Ferris squares off against California (Pa.), Lees-McRae (N.C.), West Virginia State and Augustana (S.D.) in the event.

    Last Season: Ferris State advanced to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the 13th time in school history during the 2005 campaign after previously claiming its ninth Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championship in 2004 by winning the league’s annual postseason tournament for the first time ever. FSU posted a 22-10 overall mark last season along with a third-place tying 12-6 mark in GLIAC North Division action. Ferris, which compiled the program's eighth consecutive winning campaign in 2005, also made its eighth-straight league tourney appearance a year ago.

    Ticket Information: Tickets for all 2006 Ferris home matches will be available at the door. For more information, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.

    The 34th Season: The 2006 campaign represents Ferris State’s 34th season of women’s volleyball. The Bulldogs own an all-time mark of 714-407 (.637) to date. Since the program’s inception in 1972, the Bulldogs have won nine GLIAC titles, made 13 NCAA-II Tournament appearances and registered 26 winning seasons.

    GLIAC Preseason Poll: FSU was picked to finish third in the 2006 GLIAC Volleyball Coaches Preseason North Division Poll, which was released last Thursday (Aug. 17) 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 took fourth place in the preseason poll with 26 points. Defending NCAA Division II National Champion Grand Valley State was the favorite to repeat as regular-season divisional champions as the Lakers recorded 36 points along with six first-place votes. Hillsdale, which placed third in the South Division last campaign, received 23 points and four first-place votes in being selected this season's South Division favorite.

    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 330-126 (.724) career mark, is 212-106 (.667) entering her 11th season at Ferris. A 1990 Alma graduate, Brandel-Wilhelm guided the Bulldogs to NCAA-II Tournament appearances in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005. Brandel-Wilhelm was voted the GLIAC’s Coach of the Year in 2002. She registered her 200th win at the Bulldog helm with a victory last year (Sept. 10) over Edinboro (Pa.) at the Findlay (Ohio) TownPlace Suites Classic.

    Back To School Night: Ferris will hold its second annual “Back To School” night in conjunction with its season-opening match versus St. Joseph’s (Ind.) 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. Last season (2005), the Bulldogs collected over 100 individually-packaged items which were donated to the Eastwood Early Childhood Center in Big Rapids.

    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. The squad’s 2006 yearbook can also be found at the site.

    Live Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2006 Ferris home matches will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit www.ferris.edu/sports and click on the “Live Stats” icon to access the “Live Stats” feature.

    Great Stretch: Ferris has won 20 or more matches seven times under 11th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs are 179-69 (.723) over the past eight years and have reached the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament four times in that span. FSU has advanced to the GLIAC Tournament eight consecutive years to date.

    Tough At Home: The Bulldogs have compiled a 240-62 (.795) record to date in 25 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 an 11-2 mark at home in 2005. Overall, Ferris is 93-22 (.809) in home matches under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.

    Hitting The Road: Ferris State is 626-296 (.679) overall since 1981 and sports a 404-237 (.630) record in road/neutral site matches during that span. The Bulldogs were 6-5 in road matches last campaign and posted a 5-3 record in neutral site encounters.

    Bulldog Captains: Senior outside hitter Danielle Baucher (Kalamazoo/Mattawan), senior middle hitter Karla White (New Baltimore/Anchor Bay) and junior outside hitter Jamie Palazzolo (Emmett/Yale) have been named tri-captains for the 2006 campaign. Baucher had both a team-high 451 digs and 408 kills last season. White totaled 267 kills along with a team-best 121 total blocks while Palazzolo chipped in 272 digs.

    The FSU Roster: Ferris’ 2006 active roster includes two seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen. Seven of the 15 players are outside hitters, four are middle hitters, and four others fill the squad’s setter, defensive specialist and libero roles. All 15 squad members are from the state of Michigan.

    Homecoming Of Sorts: Thursday’s contest marks the debut of first-year SJC head coach Jill (Behrns) Schopieray, who served two seasons each as both a player (1998-99) and the second assistant coach (2000-01) at Ferris before spending the last two campaigns as an assistant coach at NCAA-I Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. The Bulldogs posted a 38-18 (.679) record in GLIAC action in her two-year FSU playing career.

    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 has also registered a 4-0 mark in the invite each of the last two years. This year’s field includes Augustana (S.D.), California (Pa.), Hillsdale, Lees-McRae (N.C.), Metropolitan State (Colo.), Saginaw Valley State, St. Joseph’s (Ind.), Texas A&M-Kingsville, West Virginia State and Winona State (Minn.) in addition to the host Bulldogs.

    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 9:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 25) along with 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday (Aug. 26). 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. Faculty/staff ticket prices are $4 while students in grades K-12 are $3. FSU students will be admitted free of charge.

    The Starting Point: The 2006 campaign marks the third-straight season in which the Bulldogs have opened the year at home. Prior to the 2004 season, FSU had not played its season opener at home since 2001. The Bulldogs, who have won their first four matches seven of the last eight years to date, registered their best start in school history (10-0) in 2000. Ferris is 27-6 (.818) all-time in season-opening encounters, including a 9-1 mark under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. FSU is 9-0 (home), 6-2 (road) and 12-4 (neutral) all-time it its first match of the year. The Bulldogs have won 14 of their last 16 season openers to date.

    Home Sweet Home: The Bulldogs have compiled a 28-0 cumulative mark in non-conference home outings during head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm’s tenure. Overall, Ferris is 93-22 (.807) in home matches under Brandel-Wilhelm.

    Returning Award Winners: Ferris’ Danielle Baucher garnered second-team Daktronics All-Great Lakes Region kudos along with honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Great Lakes Region recognition last campaign. The 5-10 Baucher, who was a first-team All-GLIAC honoree last year, presently has 998 career kills to date and is two shy of becoming the 14th player in school history to join the 1,000 career kills club. FSU’s Karla White was a first-team All-GLIAC recipient last season for Ferris State.

    What’s On Tap: Ferris continues the non-conference portion of its schedule by taking part in the Incarnate Word (Texas) Alamo City Classic Friday and Saturday, Sept. 1-2, in San Antonio, Texas. FSU will face Chadron State (Neb.), tourney host Incarnate Word, Midwestern State (Texas) and Western Oregon in the event.

    A Look At The Opponents:

    St. Joseph’s (Ind.): Ferris owns a commanding 7-0 series’ advantage over the Pumas. The Bulldogs, who are 3-0 all-time at home against SJC, last defeated St. Joseph’s by a 3-0 count in the 2004 Ferris State Invitational (8/28/04) at Big Rapids, Mich. FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm owns a 3-0 career coaching mark to date versus the Pumas, who recorded a 10-22 overall record and a 4-12 Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) ledger last campaign.

    California (Pa.): FSU holds a 2-0 series advantage entering Friday’s meeting by virtue of its 3-0 home win (9/27/91) in the 1991 Ferris Invitational and its 3-0 triumph in the 2004 FSU Invite (8/28/04). CUP was 33-3 overall last year and posted an 8-2 record in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). Head coach Melissa Myers is in her fifth season at the helm.

    Lees-McRae (N.C.): The Bulldogs beat the Bobcats 3-0 in the only previous series’ meeting at last year’s FSU Invite (8/26/05). Lees-McRae, which is directed by second-year head coach Jamie Petrik, compiled a 29-11 overall record and was 18-2 in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (CVAC) play last season.

    West Virginia State: Ferris State defeated West Virginia State 3-0 in last season’s opening match (8/25/05) and holds a 2-0 series’ edge heading into Saturday’s third meeting. The Yellow Jackets recorded a 24-14 overall record and were 14-3 in West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) action during the 2005 campaign. They are guided by fifth-year head coach Shannon Gerencir.

    Augustana (S.D.): The Vikings won their only previous encounter versus Ferris 3-1 in the 1994 Grand Valley State Laker Invitational (9/3/94) at Allendale, Mich. Augustana, which is led by 12th-year head coach Kim Sudbeck, posted a 15-12 overall mark last campaign and was 6-6 in North Central Conference (NCC) play.

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