Herd Heads to Morgantown for WVU Invitational
LISTEN LIVE to WMUL (Vince Payne and Jennifer Pierce on the call)
Head coach Mitch Jacobs has taken his Thundering Herd volleyball team north to Morgantown, W.Va., for Marshall’s fourth season-opening tournament in as many weekends. The Herd will compete in the West Virginia University Invitational with the intra-state rival Mountaineers, Duquesne and Morehead State, with whom Marshall opens play with at 5 p.m. on Friday from the WVU Coliseum.
“This is our last tune-up before our home opener next week (Tuesday vs. E. Kentucky),” Jacobs said. “These tournaments are a good way to improve the team while seeing how they handle adversity due to playing a lot of volleyball in a relatively short period of time.”
Marshall (6-4) played in a season-high four matches in two days last weekend, but the busy schedule could not capsize the Herd ship, as MU took home its second tournament title of 2003 at the Aggie Classic, hosted by North Carolina A&T. Marshall senior Nicole Michal (Louisville, Ky.) captured MVP honors, being named to the all-tournament team in all three of the Herd’s tournaments this season.
Not only did Marshall leave Greensboro, N.C., undefeated (4-0), but several school and Mid-American Conference records were either tied or broken. Versus Savannah State, freshman Erin Jasin (Lambertville, Mich.) broke the MU record for service aces in a match (9) and contributed a .769 hitting percentage to the Herd’s .716 team clip, which set a new MAC record. Marshall twice tied the MAC record for service aces in a match with 21, coming against High Point and Savannah State, but later learned that Miami (Ohio) collected 23 aces versus Hofstra last Saturday to set the new MAC standard.
Michal has continued her red-hot play throughout Marshall’s initial 10 matches of 2003, leading the squad in kills (104), hitting percentage (.343) and total blocks (31). Ashley Barnard (Maumee, Ohio) has logged 107 digs (3.06/game) while Katie Stein (Sussex, Wis.) has assisted on 378 Herd points (3rd MAC) and registered 18 service aces (2nd MAC).
Marshall’s first match versus Morehead State will pit two teams coming off of tournament titles. The Eagles (6-4) won the Liberty Invitational last weekend, dropping only two games the entire tournament. Cherelle Lampkins leads MSU with a 4.17 kills per game average while Jenn Fox’s .324 hitting percentage is an Eagle best.
The Herd will then go up against Pittsburgh-based Duquesne University on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Dukes (5-6) returned from the San Jose State Invitational last weekend with a 1-2 record, getting swept in their final two matches versus Cal-State Northridge and SJSU. Sarah Morrow is the Dukes’ leader in hitting percentage (.256) and kills (132).
The Thundering Herd and host Mountaineers will knock heads on Saturday night at 8 p.m. WVU (1-8) is on an eight-match skid after winning its season-opening match on Aug. 29 versus Sacramento State. WVU’s Stephanie Zolna is averaging 3.82 kills per game and Kristi King is the Mountaineer leader with 92 digs on the season.
“Everyone is thinking about WVU,” Jacobs said, “it’s the exciting part of the weekend, but it won’t be very exciting if we don’t play well in our first two matches. We've got to stay poised and focused all weekend.”
Although Marshall trails the overall series versus WVU (9-26) and Morehead State (11-41), the Herd downed the Mountaineers and Eagles by identical 3-1 scores last season in back-to-back matches at the Cam Henderson Center. Duquesne leads MU 4-3 in seven lifetime meetings.
Herd fans can listen live to all three of Marshall’s matches by clicking on the above link or by visiting www.marshall.edu/wmul.
Marshall at WVU Invitational
Fri., Sept. 19 vs Morehead State, 5 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 20 vs Duquesne, 2:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 20 at W. Virginia, 8 p.m.