Texas-Sized Challenge Awaits the Herd


Freshman Ally Kiekover with a big kill.

Freshman Ally Kiekover with a big kill.

Oct. 31, 2013

Match 26 – UTEP (12-9, 5-4 C-USA) at Marshall (14-11, 7-2 C-USA) 
Friday, Nov.1 – 7:00 p.m. ET. Location: Huntington, W.Va.  
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Match 27 – UTSA (16-7, 8-1 C-USA) at Marshall (14-11, 7-2 C-USA)
Sunday, Nov.3 – Noon, ET. Location: Huntington, W.Va.  
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Huntington, W.Va. – Marshall volleyball will welcome UTEP and UTSA to the Cam Henderson Center in a pivotal Conference USA weekend. The Thundering Herd will take on UTEP on Friday, Nov. 1 and UTSA on Sunday, Nov. 3

Marshall enters the weekend 14-11 and 7-2 in Conference USA. Marshall is led by senior outside hitter Laura Der (Clarksville, Ind.), who has recorded 238 kills, averaging 3.4 per set and 224 digs this season. Also leading the charge for the Herd is senior middle blocker Sacha Byous-McConnell (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), who is third in the conference with a .382 hitting percentage, having collected 234 kills.

HAVE YOU HERD?
The Herd has compiled a season-best five straight victories, including four against conference opponents and another against rival West Virginia on Tuesday night. Marshall has won 12 of its last 16 matches with two of the losses coming against then-No. 7 Michigan and No. 24 Ohio. The last time the Herd has won five C-USA games in a row was last season (Sept. 23-Oct. 12). During the 2007, season the Herd pulled off nine straight C-USA regular-season victories.

REACHING MILESTONES
Senior outside hitter Laura Der reached the 1,100-career kill plateau in her match against Charlotte Oct. 26. Her 1,114 kills rank sixth in program history.

Senior libero Dorothy Rahal reached the 1,500-dig milestone Oct. 26 against Charlotte when she recorded a career-high 31 digs. Rahal’s 31 digs were the most in Marshall history since the NCAA went to a 25-point per set rule in 2008. She is second in all-time digs at Marshall.

Also crossing a major plateau was junior setter Sammie Bane, who surpassed 3,000 assists for her career at FAU on Sept. 27. Bane’s 3,414 assists rank fourth in program history.

DIGGING HIS WAY TO 400 AND BEYOND!
Coach Mitch Jacobs recorded his 400th career victory against East Carolina on Oct. 18. He became the fifth C-USA head coach to surpass the 400-win milestone. Jacobs has collected 403 career win, and 221 victories at Marshall. His 221 victories at Marshall is the most wins among C-USA coaches at their current school. 

SCOUTING THE MINERS
UTEP enters the weekend 12-9 and 5-4 in C-USA. The Miners have lost their last two conference matches and are looking to rebound this weekend on the road against Marshall and Charlotte. UTEP is led offensively by senior middle blocker Xitlali Herrera, who has tallied 297 kills, averaging fourth best in conference with 4.18 kills per set. Herrera is also second on the team with 185 digs. Victoria Valencia leads the way on defense with 262 digs, averaging 3.74 per set. The Miners are coached by Holly Watts, who is in her first season with the program.

SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS
UTSA enters the weekend 16-7, 8-1 in C-USA. The Roadrunners have won their last three conference matches after dropping their only conference loss at the hands of Middle Tennessee on Oct. 13. Leading the way for UTSA is senior outside hitter McKenzie Adams, who was named 2013 C-USA Preseason Player of the Year. She has tallied 448 kills and is averaging a conference-best 5.40 kills per set. Her 5.40 is more than one better per set than the second place in that category. The Roadrunners are led by Laura Groff, who is in her 12th season with the program.

UP NEXT
Marshall will travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to face Southern Miss on Nov. 8, before going to Tulsa, Okla., to take on defending C-USA and current conference leader Tulsa on Nov. 10.