Saturday, December 20, 2008

Volleyball: Schedule notes and other items

As the 2008 collegiate volleyball season comes to a close tonight with the national championship match in Omaha, it's a good time to hit on a few UWM volleyball items.

I did post a recap/notes package on the main site here.

As those that follow volleyball are aware, Penn State had amazing streak of more than 100-consecutive sets won snapped in the national semifinals Saturday, but the Nittany Lions still advanced to the title match, where PSU will face Stanford. The streak by the Nittany Lions sent me looking at just how many sets in a row the Panthers have ever won - after all UWM has been awfully dominant in the Horizon League and overall. At a quick glance, I could never find anything over 15.

The final 2008 national stats won't become official until after tonight's championship match, but UWM is set to finish 25th nationally in digs per set and 87th nationally in blocks per set. Individually, Lauren Felsing is 21st in digs per set.

Speaking of Lauren, she will be at the top of the "record-watch" list when we start next season. She already has 1,357 digs, meaning she'll need 519 to pass Becky Peters and move to the top of the list in both UWM and Horizon League history. If she could repeat her 2008 season total of 645, she would pass 2,000 career digs.

Also, Natalie Schmitting already has 250 blocks in just two seasons, placing her ninth of UWM's all-time list entering her junior season.

The 2009 schedule continues to come together. Marquette and South Dakota (coached by former UWM assistant coach Matt Houk) are both in for the Panther Invitational. The third team is expected to be Western Michigan, which reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament this year. Also, UWM will play in tournaments at Iowa State and Mississippi during non-league play. At Iowa State, the Panthers will not only face the Cyclones, who got to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament, but will also face Arizona State out of the Pac 10. No word yet on who the other team will be. Also, there is no early word on the field in Oxford, Miss. Expect the full schedule to not be set until April or May.