The quarterfinals slate for the 2005 Conference USA Volleyball Championship is set as four squads advance following Thursday's first round matches.
Ninth-seeded UCF upset eighth-seeded Memphis and will face top-seeded Marshall in Friday's opening match, First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. (CT) in Rice's Autry Court. In the second match of the day, fifth-seeded East Carolina defeated No. 12-seed Southern Miss for the Pirates first Conference USA tournament win in school history. ECU will next take on fourth-seeded UTEP at 3 p.m.
Conference USA Freshman of the Year Sara Radosevic showcased her talents tonight for the Green Wave as the first No. 11 seed in Conference USA Championship history advanced to quarterfinal action. Tulane defeat host and sixth-seeded Rice in a down-to-the-wire 3-2 match Thursday evening and will battle No. 3 seed Tulsa in the first match of the evening session.
To conclude the first round tournament play, the seventh-seeded SMU Mustangs rallied to beat No. 10 seed UAB, 3-1. The Ponies will face second-seeded Houston tomorrow at 8 p.m.
The semifinal matches are slated for Saturday, Nov. 19, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., with the championship match set for Sunday, Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. (CT). The match will be televised live by CSTV. Conference USA's official website, www.conferenceusa.com, will provide updates, box scores, recaps and photos.
For complete C-USA Championship coverage, please go to: http://conferenceusa.collegesports.com/championships/05-w-volley-tourney.html.
(9) UCF 3, (8) MEMPHIS 1
Houston, Texas - UCF advances to the second round of the 2005 Conference USA Volleyball Championship playing in its first campaign in the league. After falling 30-22 in game one, the Golden Knights pulled off three consecutive sets en route to upsetting eight-ranked Memphis, 3-1, in the first match of the tournament. UCF entered the 2005 tournament as the ninth-seed and will face top-ranked Marshall tomorrow in the second round at 1 p.m. (CT) in Rice's Autry Court.
"We knew that Memphis would give us a tough match and obviously it is great to come in for your first year and win the opening match," said UCF head coach Meg Colado, who is now 8-3 in conference tournaments. Under Colado's leadership, she has led the Golden Knights to three Atlantic Sun Championship titles in the last four years.
The Tigers dominated game one as freshman Laura Cote posted 16 assists and had six digs, while Ashley Liford tallied five kills to the all players. But Memphis' key to success in the first stanza was its blocking as the Tigers had five team blocks.
Setter Leah Alexander emerged to set the tone for the Knights in the next three sets as Alexander had 44 assists, 14 in game four.
"I really thought our setter moved the ball well today," Colado stated. "She did a great job of exploiting their weaknesses and truly set the tone late in the match."
Maina Heming and Schanell Neiderworder each posted double-double performances for the Knights as Lorin Lukas was one dig shy of the feat. Heming had 13 kills and 19 digs, while Neiderworder posted 15 kills and 10 digs. Lukas had 13 kills for the winning effort.
Cote finished with a match-high 56 assists, while Liford led all players with 17 kills in match one of the C-USA Championship.
(5) EAST CAROLINA 3, (12) SOUTHERN MISS 0
East Carolina continues to make 2005 a milestone year as the Pirates swept Southern Miss in the second match of the C-USA Championship en route to collecting their first ever tournament win in the league. Playing in the Pirates' third C-USA tournament in 11 years, ECU fought hard to earn a 30-21, 32-30, 30-27 win over the Golden Eagles.
The Pirates improve their record to 20-10 overall and 10-6 in league action for their first 20-plus win season since 1982.
"This was a big win for the program," said first-year head coach Chris Rushing. "I have been in similar situations at other programs, so I know how important today's victory meant to not only the players, but their parents and our administration as well."
Fighting hard for the Golden Eagles was Stevi Cherry, who recorded a double-double with 18 kills and 10 digs to go along with a .484 hitting percentage.
Pam Ferris led three Pirates with double-digit kills as the All-Conference first teamer tallied 17 to go along 16 digs and an impressive .448 hitting percentage. Kelly Wernert had 16 kills, while Erica Wilson rounded out the double-digit kill performers with her 11 on the match.
"Pam has been our leader this season," Rushing enforced. "She is one that you can count on being consistent. Although, Wernert is young, I think people can expect great things from her in the future."
East Carolina will advance to its first quarterfinal showing taking on fourth-seeded UTEP at 3 p.m. (CT) Friday at Rice's Autry Court.
(11) TULANE 3, (6) RICE 2
Conference USA Freshman of the Year Sara Radosevic showcased her talents tonight for the Green Wave as the first No. 11 seed in Conference USA Championship history advanced to quarterfinal action. Radosevic had 26 kills to help Tulane defeat host and sixth-seeded Rice in a down-to-the-wire 3-2 match Thursday evening in first round C-USA tournament play.
Also helping Tulane advance in the tournament for the third consecutive year was freshman Luna Rebrovic, who posted 56 assists, 12 digs and five of TU's 15 service aces. The 15 Green Wave aces recorded tied for the most in a C-USA Tournament single match history as Charlotte recorded as many verses Southern Miss on Nov. 16, 2000.
Rice captured a tight game one, 33-31, without the services of standout Olaya Pazo. Leading the way for the Owls was Tessa Kuykendall, who tallied eight kills, and eventually had 20 on the night.
The Green Wave fought back to win games two and three, 30-23 and 30-27, respectively, while Rice forced a game five with a score of 30-18 in the fourth stanza. The Owls took game four after tabbing 15 kills on only three attack errors. But youth served Tulane well as Rebrovic and Radosevic, both named to the Conference USA All-Freshmen team earlier in the week, drove home the win.
"Obviously tonight was a huge reward for the team," said Tulane head coach Liz Kritza. "After all of the challenges and obstacles we've faced this year, tonight was a great win. Not necessarily because of the upset, but rather because the team played with so much heart."
With the win, the No. 11 seed Tulane will advance to face third-seeded Tulsa, Friday at 3 p.m. on Rice's Autry Court.
"Now we just need all of the Houston folks affected by Hurricane Katrina to come out and support the Wave. We are all family here."
(7) SMU 3, (10) UAB 1
Despite dropping game one, the seventh-seeded SMU Mustangs barreled from the corral to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2005 Conference USA Volleyball Championship, held at Rice's Autry Court. Rachel Giubilato posted 18 kills and 20 digs to led all players in both categories and help the Ponies to a 3-1 win over No. 10 seed UAB in first round action on Thursday evening.
"I felt our seniors made the difference tonight," SMU head coach Lisa Seifert stated. "They kept everyone calm and focused. I was really proud of the team for sticking to the goal of winning the league championship. Even when we hit bumps in the road or the goal didn't seem realistic, they stuck by it. And that makes me proud."
Co-head coaches Nikola Petrovic and Ali Magner for UAB must have been proud of Blazer star Ivana Bozic, who was named to the All-Conference Freshmen Team earlier in the week. Bozic set the single-match service ace record as the rookie tallied eight. The single-match tally of eight also sets the tournament total for an individual as Louisville's Lena Ustymenko had eight spread over three matches in 2003.
Bozic was one of three Blazers to post double-doubles, while she came within two service aces of a triple-double performance. Bozic had 15 kills and 17 digs. Isabel Oquendo had 11 kills and 12 digs, and Alesksandra Vujovic had 11 kills and just as many digs.
For the Mustangs, Guibilato and three teammates tabbed double-digit kill records in the winning effort. Ashley Zener, Kelly Larkan and Natalie Peters each tallied 10 apiece.
"Kelly (Larkan) does an extremely good job of filling in wherever she is needed," Seifert added. "Our goal was to get back to our original defensive form and she definitely helped."
Madison Hill led the Ponies in assists with 43.
SMU advances in its first Conference USA Championship to the quarterfinals and will face No. 2 Houston in a Friday, 8 p.m. contest.
A complete schedule of the 2005 Conference USA Volleyball Championship follows:
2005 C-USA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Thursday, November 17, 2005:
Match 1 - (9) UCF def. (8) Memphis, 3-1 (22-30, 30-24, 30-24, 30-24)
Match 2 - (5) East Carolina def. (12) Southern Miss, 3-0 (30-21, 32-30, 30-27)
Match 3 - (11) Tulane def. (6) Rice, 3-2 (31-33, 30-23, 30-27, 18-30, 15-13)
Match 4 - (7) SMU def. (10) UAB, 3-1 (27-30, 30-28, 30-26, 30-21)
Friday, November 18, 2005 (Quarterfinals):
Match 5 - (1) Marshall vs. UCF, 1 p.m.
Match 6 - (4) UTEP vs. East Carolina, 3 p.m.
Match 7 - (3) Tulsa vs. Tulane, 6 p.m.
Match 8 - (2) Houston vs. SMU, 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 19, 2005 (Semifinals):
Match 9 - Winner of Match 5 vs. Winner of Match 6, 5 p.m.
Match 10 - Winner of Match 7 vs. Winner of Match 8, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 20, 2005 (Championship):
Match 11 - Championship Match (CSTV), 4 p.m.
All Times Central.
All matches will be played at Autry Court, Houston, Texas.