Weekly Release #12: Ferris State Begins GLIAC Tourney Play At Northern Michigan

November 6, 2007

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    FSU Volleyball At A Glance: The Ferris State University women’s volleyball team will be participating in the 2007 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Postseason Tournament, starting with this Wednesday’s (Nov. 7) quarterfinal-round match against the Northern Michigan Wildcats in Marquette, Mich. The contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (EST) start and will be held at NMU's Vandament Arena.

    Last Time Out: Ferris State finished up its 2007 regular-season campaign last weekend (Nov. 2-3) at FSU’s Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich., with a pair of 3-0 conference home victories. The Bulldogs swept Saginaw Valley State last Friday (Nov. 2) evening and then bested Northwood in three straight games last Saturday (Nov. 3) afternoon in the program’s annual Senior Day contest. FSU has currently won eight of its last 10 matches to date, which includes three of the past four.

    Another Winning Season: Ferris State swept a pair of home conference matches last weekend (11/2-3) in Big Rapids to give the Bulldogs their ninth 20-win campaign in the last 10 seasons. FSU, which registered the program’s 10th winning season earlier this fall, has now posted at least 20 victories in a single-season 20 times to date.

    Last Season: Ferris State advanced to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the 14th time in school history in the 2006 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 registered a 21-9 overall record a season ago and finished second place in the GLIAC’s North Division with a 12-6 mark. Ferris, which compiled the program's ninth consecutive winning campaign in 2006, also made its ninth-straight conference tourney appearance a year ago.

    The 35th Season: The 2007 campaign represents Ferris State’s 35th season of women’s volleyball. The Bulldogs boast an all-time 755-425 (.639) record to date. Since the program’s inception in 1972, the Bulldogs have won nine GLIAC titles, made 14 NCAA-II Tournament appearances and registered 27 winning seasons.

    2007 GLIAC Preseason Poll: For the second consecutive season, FSU was selected to place third in the 2007 GLIAC Volleyball Coaches Preseason North Division Poll as released by the league office. The Bulldogs totaled 24 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference’s head coaches. The Bulldogs accumulated a third-place 26 points total in last season’s conference preseason poll and were tabbed fourth in the 2005 poll with 26 points. Grand Valley State was voted as the favorite to repeat as regular-season divisional champions for the third consecutive year as the Lakers garnered 36 points along with six of the seven first-place votes. This weekend's opponents, Saginaw Valley State and Northwood were picked seventh and fourth, respectively, in the preseason poll.

    Ferris State Head Coach: Tia Brandel-Wilhelm - (Alma, 1990), 12th season, 253-124 (.671); Career: 15th season, 371-144 (.720). Brandel-Wilhelm entered the 2007 campaign ranked 19th in career best winning percentage among the NCAA Division II active coaches while her 351 career victories prior to 2007 was 22nd highest on the Division II active coaches wins list. The 2002 GLIAC Coach of the Year guided the Bulldogs to NCAA-II Tournament appearances in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005. She registered her 200th win at Ferris State last season (Sept. 10) with a non-conference decision over Edinboro (Pa.) at the Findlay (Ohio) TownPlace Suites Classic.

    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 2007 yearbook can also be found at the site.

    NCAA-II Regional Information: Three automatic bids and five at-large bids will be awarded in the region, which consists of the GLIAC, Great Lakes Valley (GLVC) and West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conferences (WVIAC), for the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament set to be held Nov. 15-17 at a campus site to be determined. The official tournament pairings and site are slated to be released this Sunday (Nov. 11). Ferris was ranked ninth in the most recent (Oct. 24) regional rankings. Indianapolis is listed number one while Grand Valley State and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville are second and third, respectively.

    Great Stretch: Ferris has presently won 20 or more matches nine times under Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs currently sport a 220-94 (.701) record in the last 10 years and have reached the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regionals five times in that span. This season marks FSU’s 10th consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearance.

    On The Road: The Bulldogs are 661-313 (.679) overall since 1981 and are 421-249 (.628) in road/neutral site mathes during that span. Ferris State compiled a 6-3 road mark a season ago and was 3-2 in neutral site matches.

    Bulldog Bites: Ferris State completed this regular season by winning eight of its final 10 matches with seven of the eight victories resulting in 3-0 decisions. The Bulldogs posted a .220 attack percentage with 542 kills (15.9 avg.) during the 10 matches while the opposition hit .158 and chalked up 440 kills (12.9 avg.) . . . Sophomore middle hitter Kristy Gilchrist (Macomb/Anchor Bay) posted her 19th double-figure kills match this campaign with a match-best 11 kills against Northwood (11/3) in the regular-season finale. Gilchrist has double-digit kills in her last three matches and is averaging 11.3 kills per match . . . Sophomore outside hitter Katie Edwards’ (Cedar Springs) .600 hitting percentage versus Northwood (11/3)?featured nine kills in 15 attempts and represented the second time in which she has hit .600 or better in a match. Edwards turned in a .615 attack percentage against Wayne State (10/13)?with nine kills in 13 chances . . . Libero Jamie Palazzolo’s team-leading 522 digs in 105 games this season currently ranks third on FSU’s all-time single-season digs leaders list and the senior is 29 digs away from moving into a second-place tie with Lori Blair (1990; 551 digs) . . . Junior middle-outside hitter Emily Nemmers (Caledonia/East Kentwood) compiled her 100th kill against Saginaw Valley State last Saturday (11/2) which also represented her lone kill of the match.

    Way To Dig It: Jamie Palazzolo notched double-digit digs in both of the Bulldogs’ matches this past weekend (11/2-3) with 19 against Saginaw Valley State (11/2) and 14 versus Northwood (11/3). Palazzolo, a 2006 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection, extended her current double-figure digs streak to 27 consecutive matches with the double-digit digs effort against Northwood. Palazzolo, who has 1,278 career digs in 115 matches, is 26 digs shy of tying Stephanie Chaffin (1989-92; 1,304 career digs) for sixth place on the program’s all-time leaders list.

    2007 GLIAC Tourney Information: Ferris State will be making its 10th consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearance this Wednesday (Nov. 7). The top four teams are hosting a quarterfinal-round match in the 13th annual postseason tourney with the top remaining seed selected to host the semifinals/finals this Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 10-11). Ferris is the North Division’s third overall seed while Northern Michigan is the second seed in the division. Hillsdale is seeded first in the South Division. Grand Valley State is not only the North Division’s top seed but the tourney’s overall number one seed and would host the semifinals/finals by winning its quarterfinal-round match.

    2007 GLIAC Tourney Field: The other quarterfinal round matches include Michigan Tech (Wild Card #2) at Grand Valley State (#1 North), Findlay (#3 South) at Ashland (#2 South), Saginaw Valley State (Wild Card #1) at Hillsdale (#1 South). The top three teams in each division plus the next two best overall teams advanced to the tournament. The winners of Wednesday’s matches will be reseeded prior to Saturday’s semifinals. The winner of Sunday’s championship match receives the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament slated for Nov. 15-17 at a campus site to be determined.

    Double Trouble: Senior outside hitter Lindsay Tye and Kristy Gilchrist, the team’s top two kills leaders this season, have combined for 49.3% (798-1,619) of the Bulldogs’ kills output this season. Tye has recorded a squad-leading and career single-season best 472 kills in 102 games while Gilchrist has posted a career season-high 326 kills in 104 games.

    Productive Season: Ferris State’s 1,619 kills this season currently ranks as the 20th highest single-season total in school history while the team’s 239 service aces marks the 15th most on the all-time season leaders chart. The Bulldogs’ 1,732 digs total is the 16th-best output while the 1,447 assists represents the 17th highest production in a campaign.

    NCAA-II National Rankings: Ferris State is listed 38th in kills per game (15.32 avg.) among this week’s (10/28) NCAA Division II national statistical leaders. The Bulldogs are 43rd in assists (13.7), 54th in service aces (2.32), 79th in hitting percentage (.205), 125th in blocks (1.99), and 142nd in digs (16.46). Individually, Lindsay Tye ranks 11th in kills (4.7) and 102nd in hitting percentage (.301) while Jamie Palazzolo is 81st in digs (4.94). Junior setter Andrea Rich (New Baltimore/Anchor Bay) ranks 149th in assists per game (8.78) and Kristy Gilchrist is 161st in service aces (0.48).

    A Look At The Opponent:

    Northern Michigan: Ferris State and Northern Michigan will meet for the 78th time this Wednesday with NMU having a 39-38 edge in the all-time series. The Wildcats won both 2007 regular-season meetings as the Wildcats claimed a 3-2 victory in Big Rapids (9/16) and then registered a 3-1 decision in Marquette (10/20). FSU has won six of the last 15 encounters to date and swept the ‘Cats last season in both regular-season matchups. The Bulldogs posted a 3-0 road triumph (9/23/06) and then achieved a 3-1 win (10/22/06) at home. NMU, which is directed by first-year head coach Dominic Yoder, concluded the 2007 regular season at 19-11 overall with a second-place 13-5 conference mark. The Wildcats posted a 6-4 mark in their last 10 matches, which included a 3-0 home league win over Lake Superior State last Saturday (11/4) in the squad’s regular-season finale. Yoder, who served as an assistant coach under Brandel-Wilhelm at Ferris State in the 2000 season, spent the 2006 campaign at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla. where he received Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the Aggies to a 25-5 record. Ferris State is 2-1 versus the Wildcats in GLIAC Tourney matches with the most recent postseason matchup resulting in a 3-1 quarterfinal-round home win for the Bulldogs in 2004 (11/10). Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. NMU – 9-18.

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