Weekly Notes (Matches 1-5): Ferris State Volleyball Opens 2008 Season At Home

August 26, 2008

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    FSU Volleyball At A Glance: The Ferris State University women’s volleyball will open the 2008 season and its 36th year of intercollegiate competition this Thursday (Aug. 28) versus Aquinas in a 7 p.m. (EDT) non-league match. The Bulldogs then host the eight-team Ferris State Invitational this weekend (Aug. 29-30) on three courts at the Ewigleben Sports Arena and Jim Wink Arena on the FSU campus in Big Rapids, Mich. Ferris State will go up against Indiana (Pa.) and Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.) in Friday's (Aug. 29) action with match time slated for 2 p.m. (EDT) and 5 p.m. (EDT), respectively. The Bulldogs then conclude the two-day tourney this Saturday (Aug. 30) versus nationally-ranked Minnesota Duluth, and Urbana (Ohio). Those matches are schedule to start at 12 p.m. (EDT) and 2:30 p.m. (EDT), respectively. All of Ferris State's non-conference matches this week will take place inside the Ewigleben Sports Arena.

    The 36th Season: The 2008 campaign represents Ferris State’s 36th season of women’s volleyball. The Bulldogs have compiled an all-time mark of 755-426 (.639) to date. Since the program’s inception in 1972, the Bulldogs have won nine GLIAC titles, made 14 NCAA-II Tournament appearances and registered 28 winning seasons.

    Ticket Information: Tickets for all 2008 Ferris State volleyball home matches will be available at the door. For more information, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit this 2008 Ferris State Invitational tourney link.

    2008 GLIAC Volleyball Preseason Poll: Ferris State has been chosen to finish in a tie for third place in the 2008 GLIAC?Volleyball Coaches Preseason North Division Poll as released by the league office. The Bulldogs totaled 16 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference’s head coaches. A season ago, the Bulldogs racked up a third-place 24 points after posting 26 points good for third place in the 2006 league poll. Ferris State was tabbed fourth in the 2005 poll with 26 points. Defending NCAA Division II National Champion Grand Valley State was voted as the favorite to repeat as the North Division regular-season champions for the fourth consecutive year as the Lakers recorded 24 points along with four of the six first-place votes. Northern Michigan received the other two first-place votes while totaling 18 points.

    Head Coach: Ferris State -- Tia Brandel-Wilhelm - (Alma, 1990), 13th season, 253-125 (.669); Career: 16th season, 371-145 (.719). Brandel-Wilhelm enters the 2008 campaign ranking 22nd in career best winning percentage among the NCAA Division II active coaches while her 371 career victories prior to 2008 represents a tie for the 22nd highest total 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 the Bulldog helm with a victory in the 2006 season (Sept. 10) over Edinboro (Pa.) at the Findlay (Ohio) TownPlace Suites Classic.

    Last Season: Ferris State concluded the 2007 season at 20-10 overall with a third-place 12-6 mark in the GLIAC’s North Division. The Bulldogs, which produced the program's 10th consecutive winning campaign in 2007, made its 10th straight conference tourney appearance a year ago.

    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 program’s 2008 yearbook can also be found at the site.

    Live Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2008 Ferris State 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 CSTV GameTracker “Live Stats” feature.

    Great Stretch: Ferris has won 20 or more matches nine times under 13th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs are 220-95 (.698) over the past 10 years and have reached the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament five times in that span. FSU has advanced to the GLIAC Tournament the last 10 consecutive years to date.

    2008 Bulldog Captains: A pair of seniors – setter-outside hitter Candice Marut (Pinconning) and setter-outside hitter Andrea Rich (New Baltimore/Anchor Bay) will serve as the captains for the 2008 season.

    The FSU Roster: Ferris State’s 2008 active roster includes two seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and eight freshmen. Five of the 18 players are outside hitters, six are middle hitters, and seven others fill the squad’s setter, defensive specialist and libero roles. All 18 student-athletes on the team hail from the state of Michigan.

    2007 Ferris State Invitational Recap: Ferris State posted a 4-0 tourney record as the Bulldogs notched victories over Alaska Anchorage (3-0), West Virginia State (3-0), Glenville State, W.Va. (3-0), and the Colorado School of Mines (3-0). Candice Marut and Lindsay Tye were named to the 12-member 2007 Ferris State Invitational All-Tournament Team.

    Ferris State Invite History: The Bulldogs have experienced recent success in the Ferris State Invitational. From 1998-2001, the Bulldogs opened each of their four campaigns with a 4-0 record after winning consecutive matches in the home event. FSU went 3-1 in the 2006 FSU Invite as the Bulldogs suffered a 3-2 tourney-opening loss to California, Pa. (8/25) before posting a pair of 3-0 decisions over Lees-McRae, N.C. (8/25) and West Virginia State (8/26). FSU wrapped up the tournament with a 3-1 victory against Augustana, S.D. (8/26). The Bulldogs compiled a 4-0 invite mark in each of the previous two years (2004 and 2005).

    The Starting Point: The 2008 campaign represents the fourth straight season in which the Bulldogs will open a season at home. Prior to the 2004 campaign, FSU had not played it season opener at home since 2001. The Bulldogs, who have won their first four matches eight of the last 10 years to date, posted their best start in school history (10-0) in 2000. Ferris State is 29-6 (.829) all-time in season-opening encounters, including an 11-1 mark under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. FSU is 11-0 (home), 6-2 (road) and 12-4 (neutral) all-time in its first match of the season. The Bulldogs have won 16 of their 18 season openers to date, which included a 3-0 non-conference home decision over Alaska Anchorage last season (8/24) in Big Rapids.

    No Place Like Home: The Bulldogs have posted a 36-1 cumulative record in non-conference home outings during head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm’s tenure. Overall, Ferris is 117-28 (.807) in home matches under Brandel-Wilhelm.

    Tough At Home: The Bulldogs have compiled a 264-68 (.795)?record to date in 27 seasons of competition at the Ewigleben Sports Arena since moving from the Health and Physical Education (HPE)?Building in 1981. Ferris, which as enjoyed six undefeated home seasons in the facility, registered a 12-2 home ledger in 2007. Overall, Ferris is 117-28 (.807)?in home matches under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.

    What Returns For 2008: Below is a look at the 2007 statistical totals of the returnees and what percentage of the team totals they accounted for:
    2007 Total 2008 Returning % Returning
    Kills 1,663 1,123 67.5
    Aces 243 118 48.6
    Digs 1,781 994 55.8
    Blocks 211.5 164.5 77.8

    All-Conference Returnees: The Bulldogs return a pair of All-GLIAC?performers from a season ago in middle hitter Kristy Gilchrist (Macomb/Anchor Bay) and Andrea Rich. Gilchrist received all-conference second-team accolades in 2007 while Rich garnered honorable mention all-league kudos. Gilchrist paced the 2007 squad in service aces (48) while finishing second for top team honors in kills (336) and total blocks (83) in 30 matches. Rich dished out a career-high 700 assists to go with 213 digs in 23 outings.

    Helping Hands: Candice Marut and Andrea Rich enter their senior years in 2008 ranking among the Bulldogs’ all-time leaders in assists. Marut is presently listed eighth on the charts with 1,702 career assists while Rich is 11th with a 1,387 career assists total.

    Productive Season: Junior outside hitter Katie Edwards (Cedar Springs) turned in a solid 2007 season with career single-season bests in kills (279), service aces (six), digs (67), and total blocks (30). Her blocks total marked the team’s sixth highest output a season ago. In 2006, she played in the season’s first five matches before suffering a season-ending injury.

    A Look At This Week's Opponents:

    Aquinas: Ferris State has 4-3 all-time lead over the Saints, which includes a 2-1 home mark. The Bulldogs posted a 3-1 triumph in 1998 (9/11) at the Grand Valley State Invitational in Allendale, Mich., which represents the most recent matchup between the two teams. The Saints, under second-year head coach David Rawles, finished 5-29 overall and 0-14 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) last season. AC opened its 2008 season Tuesday (Aug. 26) at Rochester (Mich.) College. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. AC – 1-0.

    Indiana (Pa.): First-ever meeting between the two teams. The Crimson Hawks were 16-22 overall and 1-9 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in 2007 under head coach Zach Shaver, who starts his third year at IUP in 2008. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. IUP – 0-0.

    Wheeling Jesuit: Ferris maintains a 4-2 lead in the all-time series and is 2-0 at home against the Cardinals. FSU prevailed in the last meeting (9/2/05) with a 3-0 win at Amerihost-Grand Valley State Fall Classic in Allendale, Mich. WJU was 26-11 overall and 15-0 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) a season ago. Christy Benner is in her sixth season as the Cardinals’ head coach. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. WJU – 4-2.

    Minnesota Duluth: Ferris holds a 7-5 lead in the all-time series despite suffering a 3-0 loss to UMD last season (9/7) at the Minnesota Duluth Classic in Duluth, Minn. The Bulldogs, who compiled a 29-2 overall record and a 12-0 mark in the North Central Conference (NCC) last season, are currently ranked eighth nationally in the 2008 CBS College Sports/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Preseason Coaches Poll. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. UMD – 0-2.

    Urbana (Ohio): First meeting between the two teams. The Blue Knights compiled a 17-17 overall mark with a 5-8 league ledger in the 2007 campaign. Wendy Cromer begins her first year at UU this season as the program enters NCAA Division II status. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. UU – 0-0.

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