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FSU Volleyball At A Glance: The Ferris State University women’s volleyball squad ventures to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) matches this week (Sept. 21-24). FSU opens the trip Thursday, Sept. 21, versus Lake Superior State starting at 7 p.m. (EDT) in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The Bulldogs then square off against Northern Michigan Saturday, Sept. 23, in a 4 p.m. (EDT) league tilt at Marquette, Mich. Ferris concludes the trip by visiting Michigan Tech Sunday, Sept. 24, for a 2 p.m. (EDT) contest in Houghton, Mich.
Last Weekend: Ferris opened its five-match league road swing last weekend (Sept. 15-16) by splitting two conference road matches in Ohio. FSU posted a 3-1 triumph Friday (Sept. 15) at Ashland before suffering a 3-0 setback Saturday (Sept. 16) to nationally 23rd-ranked Findlay.
Last Season: Ferris State advanced to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the 13th time in school history during the 2005 campaign after previously claiming its ninth Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championship in 2004 by winning the league’s annual postseason tournament for the first time ever. FSU posted a 22-10 overall mark last season along with a third-place tying 12-6 mark in GLIAC North Division action. Ferris, which compiled the program's eighth consecutive winning campaign in 2005, also made its eighth-straight league tourney appearance a year ago.
Ticket Information: Tickets for all 2006 Ferris home matches will be available at the door. For more information, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.
The 34th Season: The 2006 campaign represents Ferris State’s 34th season of women’s volleyball. The Bulldogs own an all-time mark of 724-410 (.638) to date. Since the program’s inception in 1972, the Bulldogs have won nine GLIAC titles, made 13 NCAA-II Tournament appearances and registered 26 winning seasons.
GLIAC Preseason Poll: FSU was picked to finish third in the 2006 GLIAC Volleyball Coaches Preseason North Division Poll, which was released by the league office. The Bulldogs totaled 26 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference’s head coaches. A year ago, Ferris took fourth place in the preseason poll with 26 points. Defending NCAA Division II National Champion Grand Valley State was the favorite to repeat as regular-season divisional champions as the Lakers recorded 36 points along with six first-place votes. Hillsdale, which placed third in the South Division last campaign, received 23 points and four first-place votes in being selected this year's South Division favorite.
The Head Coach: FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm presently ranks second among Ferris’ all-time coaching victory leaders. Brandel-Wilhelm, who has a current 340-129 (.725) career mark, is 222-109 (.671) in her 11th season at Ferris. A 1990 Alma graduate, Brandel-Wilhelm guided the Bulldogs to NCAA-II Tournament appearances in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005. Brandel-Wilhelm was voted GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2002. She registered her 200th Bulldog win with a victory last year (Sept. 10) over Edinboro (Pa.) at the Findlay (Ohio) TownPlace Suites Classic.
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 squad’s 2006 yearbook can also be found at the site.
Live Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2006 Ferris home matches will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit www.ferris.edu/sports and click on the “Live Stats” icon to access the “Live Stats” feature.
Great Stretch: Ferris has won 20 or more matches seven times under 11th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs are 189-72 (.724) over the past nine years and have reached the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament four times in that span. FSU has advanced to the GLIAC Tournament eight consecutive years to date.
Tough At Home: The Bulldogs have compiled a 245-64 (.793) record to date in 25 seasons of competition at Ewigleben Sports Arena since moving from the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Building in 1981. Ferris, which has compiled six undefeated home seasons in the facility, registered an 11-2 mark at home in 2005. Overall, Ferris is 98-24 (.803) in home matches under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.
Hitting The Road: Ferris State is 636-299 (.680) overall since 1981 and sports a 409-238 (.632) record in road/neutral site matches during that span. The Bulldogs were 6-5 in road matches last campaign and posted a 5-3 record in neutral site encounters.
Bulldog Captains: Senior outside hitter Danielle Baucher (Kalamazoo/Mattawan), senior middle hitter Karla White (New Baltimore/Anchor Bay) and junior outside hitter Jamie Palazzolo (Emmett/Yale) are serving as tri-captains for the 2006 campaign. Baucher had both a team-high 451 digs and 408 kills last season. White totaled 267 kills along with a team-best 121 total blocks while Palazzolo chipped in 272 digs during the 2005 campaign.
The FSU Roster: Ferris’ 2006 active roster includes two seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen. Seven of the 15 players are outside hitters, four are middle hitters, and four others fill the squad’s setter, defensive specialist and libero roles. All 15 squad members are from the state of Michigan.
GLIAC Honoree: FSU’s Danielle Baucher was named this week’s (Sept. 18) GLIAC North Division Player of the Week in an announcement made by the league office. Baucher totaled 35 kills, 36 digs, six blocks and two service aces in FSU’s two outings last weekend. She netted a team high 21 kills and had a match-best 20 digs along with six block assists Friday (Sept. 15) at Ashland. Her 14 kills in Saturday's (Sept. 16) match at Findlay represented a team high while her 16 digs in the same outing was a match-best. Baucher averaged 5.00 kills and 5.14 digs per game in the two matches in addition to recording a .274 attack percentage.
National Rankings: The Bulldogs are not ranked in this week’s (Sept. 18) CSTV/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll announced by the AVCA. FSU, which was ranked 25th in the initial (Sept. 5) regular-season poll this season, did not receive any votes this week after being listed second among the other schools earning votes last week (Sept. 11) with 12 points. Presently, three GLIAC schools are featured in the current poll including Grand Valley State (2nd), Hillsdale (11th) and Findlay (23rd). Northern Michigan is second among schools receiving votes with 11 points this week.
Double-Digit Wins: This season marks the 26th-straight year the Bulldogs have registered double-figure wins. The last time FSU failed to record at least 10 victories was in 1980 (5-21). Ferris’ 9-1 overall start this year through 10 outings represented the school’s best season opening performance since beginning the 2000 campaign with a school-record 10 consecutive wins.
Bulldog Bites: Prior to last weekend’s trip to Ohio, the Bulldogs had compiled more kills, assists and aces along with posting a higher attack percentage than their opponents in their first 11 matches this campaign ......... Ferris was unbeaten (10-0) in matches taking four games or less to complete this year prior to Saturday’s loss at Findlay. Conversely, the Bulldogs are presently 0-2 in five-game encounters this season ......... The Bulldogs have compiled a 80-16 (.833) overall record in three-game matches since the start of the 2000 campaign .......... Jamie Palazzolo presently has 481 career digs and is 19 away from notching her 500th career dig .............. Karla White is two blocks shy of recording her 300th career block.
GLIAC Rankings: Ferris’ Danielle Baucher ranks third in kills (4.19 kpg) and points (4.98 ppg) while freshman middle hitter Kristy Gilchrist (Macomb/Anchor Bay) is listed third in blocks (1.19 bpg) according to the latest (Sept. 18) GLIAC overall statistical rankings. Junior outside hitter Lindsay Tye (Gregory/Chelsea) presently is sixth in service aces (0.63 apg). FSU ranks second as a team in aces (3.04 apg) and opponent’s hitting percentage allowed (.102). Baucher’s 27 kills versus Saginaw Valley State (Sept. 9) rank as the most by a GLIAC player in a single-match to date this season while the 12 total blocks by Gilchrist against California, Pa. (Aug. 25) also represents a current league-best performance.
Baucher Climbing Chart: Ferris’ Danielle Baucher became the 14th player in school history to notch 1,000 career kills and only the sixth Bulldog player ever to record both 1,000 career kills and digs in Ferris’ season-opening home win over St. Joseph’s (Aug. 24). The 5-10 Baucher currently has 1,195 career kills and is 27 shy of tying Alaina Olds’ (1999-02) 10th-place career total of 1,222 kills at FSU. Her 1,346 career digs presently is 22 away from matching Kathy O’Connor’s (1990-93) fourth-place mark of 1,368 digs on Ferris’ career leaders list. She ranks as Ferris' overall kills (4.19 kpg) leader this season along with second in digs (3.51 dpg).
What’s On Tap: Ferris State returns home to play five consecutive league matches at the Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The homestand begins Friday, Sept. 29, as the Bulldogs host Mercyhurst in a 7 p.m. (EDT) GLIAC encounter. FSU then squares off against Gannon Saturday, Sept. 30, with match time set for 4 p.m. (EDT). Archrival and defending NCAA-II National Champion Grand Valley State comes to town Tuesday, Oct. 3, for a 7 p.m. (EDT) league tilt.
A Look At The Opponents:
Lake Superior State: FSU holds a 55-17 advantage entering this Thursday’s 73rd series meeting with Lake Superior State. Ferris’ Tia Brandel-Wilhelm has a current 21-1 career coaching mark against LSSU and guided the Bulldogs to a 3-0 win in the last meeting (10/28/05) at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. LSSU, which has dropped four of its last five outings this campaign to date, is presently 4-10 overall and 1-4 in conference play after Sunday’s (Sept. 17) 3-0 home loss to Northern Michigan. Last season, the Lakers compiled a 9-22 overall record and placed tied for fifth (6-12) in the league’s North Division. The Bulldogs, who have won 35 of the last 36 meetings, are 26-13 all-time versus Lake Superior State in road/neutral site encounters. LSSU is coached by 12th-year head coach Mark Engle.
Northern Michigan: NMU holds a slim 37-36 all-time series’ edge heading into Saturday’s 74th meeting. FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm has a current 7-16 career coaching mark against the Wildcats and dropped a 3-1 decision in the last matchup (10/30/05) at Marquette, Mich. NMU is presently 12-2 overall and 4-2 in the GLIAC’s North Division following Sunday’s (Sept. 17) 3-0 road win at Lake Superior State. Northern Michigan recorded a 15-12 overall record and a third-place tying 12-6 mark in the GLIAC’s North Division last season. The Wildcats are directed by Qi Wang, who is midst his second season at NMU. NMU, which has lost two of its last three outings to date this campaign, has claimed seven of the last 11 series’ victories versus FSU. Northern Michigan holds a 23-18 all-time advantage over the Bulldogs in road-neutral site meetings. Northern Michigan will host GVSU Friday (Sept. 22) before squaring off against FSU.
Michigan Tech: Ferris and Michigan Tech will square off for the 55th time this Sunday with FSU holding a commanding 43-11 series advantage. In the last meeting (10/29/05), the Bulldogs recorded a 3-0 win at Houghton, Mich. Ferris’ Tia Brandel-Wilhelm currently has a 17-4 career coaching record against the Huskies. FSU, which has won 16 of the past 17 contests, holds an 23-6 all-time record versus MTU in road/neutral site matches. MTU compiled an 10-18 overall record in 2005, including a fifth-place tying 6-12 GLIAC North Division finish. The Huskies, who are coached by eighth-year head coach Krista Mikesch, improved to 7-7 overall and 3-2 in league play this season as a result of their 3-0 conference home win over Saginaw Valley State Sunday (Sept. 17). MTU has lost two of its last three outings this campaign to date. Grand Valley State visits Michigan Tech Saturday (Sept. 23) prior to the Bulldogs’ match with the Huskies.