Weekly Notes (Matches 15-16): Ferris State Hits The Road For Two GLIAC Contests

September 24, 2008

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    FSU Volleyball At A Glance: The Ferris State University women’s volleyball team hits the road for a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) matches this weekend (Sept. 26-27). The Bulldogs square off against Lake Superior State this Friday (Sept. 26) in a 7 p.m. (EDT) contest at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Ferris State then concludes the two-match road swing this Saturday (Sept. 27) versus Saginaw Valley State in University Center, Mich. Opening serve is set for 5 p.m. (EDT). Saginaw Valley State is presently listed among other teams receiving votes in this week’s (Sept. 22) CBS College Sports/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll with eight points.

    Last Time Out: Ferris State went winless in three GLIAC matches this last week. The Bulldogs dropped a 3-0 road decision to nationally-ranked Grand Valley State last Tuesday (Sept. 16) in Allendale, Mich. Ferris State then suffered a pair of 3-2 setbacks to Northern Michigan last Friday (Sept. 19) and Michigan Tech last Saturday (Sept. 20) at FSU’s Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs rallied from 2-0 deficits in both of those conference home matches.

    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 762-433 (.638) 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.

    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. 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, 260-132 (.663); Career: 16th season, 378-152 (.713). 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.

    Great Stretch: Ferris has won 20 or more matches nine times under 13th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs have registered a current 227-102 (.689) mark 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 senior setter-outside hitters, Candice Marut (Pinconning) and 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.

    Among The Best: Candice Marut and Andrea Rich currently rank among the top 10 on FSU’s career assists leaders chart. Marut is eighth with 1,867 career helpers while Rich’s 1,720 career assists is ninth highest on the list. The two are among 12 players in the program’s history to register at least 1,000 career assists.

    FSU Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees: The Ferris State Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2008 will include former head coach Jill Hirschinger and player Stephanie (Chaffin) Cleland. Hirschinger, who’s currently is the head coach at New Hampshire, is the winningest coach in FSU history with a 330-151 mark from 1984-95. Cleland was a second-team All-American honoree in 1992.

    September Matches: Ferris State has compiled a 71-39 overall record (.645) in September outings dating back to the 2000 campaign. The Bulldogs are 21-7 at home and 50-32 in road/neutral site contests since that time. FSU was 6-6 in September matches last season – 2-1 at home and 4-5 on the road. The 2002 and 2006 teams both compiled an 11-2 record for the month while 2003 squad posted an 11-3 ledger.

    Bulldog Bites: Junior Kristy Gilchrist (Macomb/Anchor Bay) and sophomore Arielle Goodson (Grand Rapids/Central) each totaled a season-high 10 block assists against Northern Michigan last Friday (9/19). The total was one shy of matching Gilchrist’s career-high 11 block assists versus Hillsdale last season (10/12) while marking a career best for Goodson, who had seven block assists against Lake Superior State a season ago (9/14) . . . Ferris State’s 20.5 total team blocks against Northern Michigan (9/19) represents the 10th highest single-match output in the program’s history, eclipsing the 19.5 total team blocks versus Michigan Tech in 2001 (9/15) . . . Redshirt freshman libero Lisa Tobiczyk’s (Marysville) 14 digs versus Michigan Tech last Saturday (9/20) marked her ninth double-figure digs match effort this campaign. She has generated double digits in digs six of her last seven matches and is averaging 12.3 digs (86 total) during that seven-match span . . . Kristy Gilchrist has accumulated 68 kills in her last seven appearances this season after netting 23 kills in her initial seven 2008 matches. Gilchrist has posted a .211 hitting percentage in her last seven appearances compared to a .143 attack percentage in her first seven outings . . . Sophomore defensive specialist Dana Ruttle (Reed City) served a career match-high three aces in back-to-back conference matches against Northern Michigan (9/19) and Michigan Tech (9/20). Ruttle’s previous match best was two service aces at Lake Superior State last season (10/21) . . . Junior outside hitter Katie Edwards (Cedar Springs) is 24 kills away from notching her 500th career kill. Edwards has compiled 476 career kills in 60 matches and is averaging 2.45 kills per set for her career . . . Senior setter-outside hitter Andrea Rich’s team-high 19 service aces this season in 14 matches to date is only two shy of equalling her 2007 season total of 21 aces in 23 outings.

    2008 Road Matches: The Bulldogs are averaging 11.9 kills per set (191 total) in their four road matches this season to the opposition’s 10.7 average (171 total). Ferris State is hitting for a .127 average while its opponent has compiled a .194 attack percentage. FSU has totaled 24 aces (1.5 aps.) with a .870 success rate. The Bulldogs’ top two kills leaders, Katie Edwards and Kristy Gilchrist have combined to account for 51.3% (98-191) of the team’s production this fall. Edwards is averaging a squad-leading 3.44 kills per set (55 total) and Gilchrist has averaged 2.69 kills a set (43 total) in the team’s four road encounters.

    All-Conference Returnees: The Bulldogs return a pair of All-GLIAC performers from the 2007 season in junior 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.

    Three Times: Dana Ruttle has presently compiled double-digit digs in three of her last four matches and is averaging 9.25 digs (37 total) during that span. She has posted a career match-best 11 digs on three occasions this season – at Wayne State (9/13), versus Northern Michigan (9/19), and against Michigan Tech (9/20). Ruttle had registered five total digs in her previous nine matches this campaign. Ruttle’s 42 digs in 13 matches this fall already represents a career single-season high, bettering her 13 digs in 16 contests a season ago.

    Diggin’ It: FSU’s top three digs leaders, Lisa Tobiczyk (159 digs), Andrea Rich (138 digs), and freshman outside hitter Ashley Huntey (118 digs), have combined to account for 60.4% (415-687) of the Bulldogs’ output this season.

    Better As Time Goes: The Bulldogs are currently averaging 2.22 team blocks per set (66.5 total) in their last seven matches after beginning the 2008 season with a 1.80 blocks per set (45.0 total) average in the team’s first seven outings.

    NCAA Statistical Rankings: Ferris State presently ranks 49th in blocks per set (2.03 avg.) and is 86th in service aces per set (1.8 avg.) among the latest NCAA Division II national statistical leaders through matches of Sept. 21. The Bulldogs are also listed 116th in assists (10.33 avg.), and 121st in kills (11.36 avg.). Individually, Arielle Goodson is 61st in blocks per set (1.02 avg.). Andrea Rich is 184th in assists per set (6.05 avg.) while Kristy Gilchrist’s 0.79 blocks per set ranks 199th. Candice Marut is 241st in assists per set (4.34 avg.), Katie Edwards is 224th in kills per set (2.72 avg.), and Lisa Tobiczyk ranks 291st in digs per set (2.89 avg.).

    A Look At This Week's Opponents:

    Lake Superior State: Ferris State sports a 59-17 advantage against Lake Superior State in the all-time series and has won 39 of the last 40 outings between the two teams. The Bulldogs are 28-13 all-time versus the Lakers in road/neutral site matchups. FSU?claimed a 3-1 home win over LSSU (9/14) in Big Rapids, Mich., and then posted a 3-0 triumph in the rematch (10/21) at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The Lakers are currently 3-6 overall and 2-3 in the GLIAC as a result of besting Tiffin, 3-0, last Saturday (9/20) in a league home match. LSSU have won two straight contests to date after starting out the 2008 campaign with a 1-6 ledger. The Lakers are coached by Mark Engle, who’s presently midst his 14th season at LSSU. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. LSSU – 25-1.

    Saginaw Valley State: Ferris State holds a commanding 47-9 lead over Saginaw Valley State in the all-time series after winning both of last season’s meetings. FSU recorded a 3-0 win versus SVSU (9/22) at University Center, Mich., before registering a 3-0 home decision over the Cardinals (11/2) in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs are 22-6 all-time in road/neutral site encounters versus the Cardinals. Directed by sixth-year head coach Will Stanton, the 2007 GLIAC Coach of the Year, SVSU is presently 12-1 overall with a 4-1 conference mark following a 3-0 conference home victory against Ashland last Saturday (9/20). The Cardinals are midst a four-match winning streak and the only loss this season was a 3-1 setback at Michigan Tech (9/12). SVSU, which is 3-0 at home this season, hosts nationally-ranked Grand Valley State this Friday (9/26) before entertaining Ferris State. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. SVSU – 20-4.

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