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FSU Volleyball At A Glance: The Ferris State University women’s volleyball team returns home this weekend (Sept. 14-16) as the Bulldogs begin Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action with a three-match homestand at the Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs host Lake Superior State this Friday (Sept. 14) in a 7 p.m. (EDT) contest before squaring off against Michigan Tech Saturday (Sept. 15) at 4 p.m. (EDT). Ferris State will wrap up the weekend’s play this Sunday (Sept. 16) taking on Northern Michigan at 1 p.m. (EDT).
Last Season: Ferris State advanced to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the 14th time in school history in the 2006 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 registered a 21-9 overall record a season ago and finished second place in the GLIAC’s North Division with a 12-6 mark. Ferris, which compiled the program's ninth consecutive winning campaign in 2006, also made its ninth-straight conference tourney appearance a year ago.
The 35th Season: The 2007 campaign represents Ferris State’s 35th season of women’s volleyball. The Bulldogs own an all-time mark of 743-419 (.639) to date. Since the program’s inception in 1972, the Bulldogs have won nine GLIAC titles, made 14 NCAA-II Tournament appearances and registered 27 winning seasons.
GLIAC Preseason Poll: For the second consecutive season, FSU was selected to place third in the 2007 GLIAC Volleyball Coaches Preseason North Division Poll as released by the league office. The Bulldogs totaled 24 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference’s head coaches. The Bulldogs accumulated a third-place 26 points total in last season’s conference preseason poll and were tabbed fourth in the 2005 poll with 26 points. Defending NCAA Division II National Champion Grand Valley State was voted as the favorite to repeat as regular-season divisional champions for the third consecutive year as the Lakers garnered 36 points along with six of the seven first-place votes. Hillsdale, which captured the South Division title last campaign, received 23 points and had three first-place votes in being selected this year's South Division favorite.
Ferris State's Head Coach: Tia Brandel-Wilhelm - (Alma, 1990), 12th season, 241-118 (.671); Career: 15th season, 359-138 (.722). Brandel-Wilhelm entered the 2007 campaign ranked 19th in career best winning percentage among the NCAA Division II active coaches while her 351 career victories prior to 2007 was 22nd highest on the Division II active coaches wins list. The 2002 GLIAC Coach of the Year guided the Bulldogs to NCAA-II Tournament appearances in 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005. She registered her 200th win at Ferris State last season (Sept. 10) with a non-conference decision 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 2007 yearbook can also be found at the site.
Live Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2007 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 CSTV GameTracker “Live Stats” feature.
Great Stretch: Ferris has won 20 or more matches eight times under 12th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs were 200-85 (.702) over the past nine years prior to entering the 2007 season and have reached the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament five times in that span. FSU has advanced to the GLIAC Tournament nine consecutive years to date.
Back To School Night Promotion: Ferris will hold its third annual “Back To School” night in conjunction with this Friday (Sept. 14) evening's home match against Lake Superior State. Fans attending the match can earn free admission by providing a new school supply, which will then be distributed by the athletics department for use in local elementary classrooms. Items should be in new package condition and can include such materials as crayons, construction paper, markers, glue, notebooks and pencils. A season ago, the athletics department collected over 100 individually-packaged items which were donated to the Eastwood Early Childhood Center in Big Rapids.
This Is Our House: The Bulldogs have compiled a 256-66 (.795) record to date in 25-plus seasons of competition at Ewigleben Sports Arena since 1981. Ferris, which has compiled six undefeated home seasons in the facility, was 12-4 at home a season ago. The Bulldogs are 109-26 (.807) in home matches under current head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.
Double Vision: Senior libero-outside hitter Jamie Palazzolo (Emmett/Yale) extended her current double-figure match streak to nine after compiling double digits in all three of Ferris State's matches at the Minnesota Duluth Classic last weekend (9/7-8). Palazzolo is averaging 17.7 digs per match (159 total digs) in the nine matches. Palazzolo, who has amassed 933 digs in 97 career matches, is 67 shy of reaching the 1,000-career digs mark.
One Shy: Junior setter-outside hitter Candice Marut's (Pinconning) eight kills against North Dakota (9/7) in the Bulldogs' opening match of the 2007 Minnesota-Duluth Classic was one shy of matching her career match high. Marut tallied a career match-best nine kills versus Edinboro, Pa. (9/10/05).
Clogging The Middle: Freshman middle hitter Arielle Goodson (Grand Rapids/Central) and Kristy Gilchrist, the team’s top two blocks leaders this fall, have combined for 49.2%?(61-124) of the team’s production this season. Goodson has generated a squad-best 36 blocks (11 block solos)?while Gilchrist has produced 25 blocks (24 block assists).
NCAA Rankings: Ferris State ranks 31st in kills per game (15.45 avg.) among the NCAA-II national leaders through Sept. 9. The Bulldogs are also 44th in assists (13.61), 57th in service aces (2.37), and 63rd in hitting percentage (.222). Individually, Lindsay Tye is listed 18th in kills (4.58) while Jamie Palazzolo ranks 81st in digs (4.66). In attack percentage, Kristy Gilchrist is 87th (.319) and Lindsay Tye is 91st (.318).
Marked Improvement: Sophomore middle hitter Sarah Lark (Alma) has already set career single-season highs in kills (52), blocks (20), and digs (eight) this season in 11 matches. A season ago in 18 matches, she netted 13 kills with three blocks and four digs.
A Look At The Opponents:
Lake Superior State: FSU has a 57-17 lead over Lake Superior State in the all-time series as the teams will be meeting for the 75th time. Ferris, which has prevailed in 37 of the last 38 meetings, is 30-4 all-time in home matches versus. LSSU. The Bulldogs recorded a 3-1 win at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (9/21) and claimed a 3-0 home decision in Big Rapids (10/20) in the 2006 regular season. This season, LSSU has notched a 4-7 overall mark entering this Thursday’s (9/13) league opener at Grand Valley State. The Lakers are 2-7 in their last nine outings and are directed by 13th-year head coach Mark Engle. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. LSSU – 23-1
Michigan Tech: Ferris and Michigan Tech will square off for the 58th time with the Bulldogs having a 46-11 series advantage. The Bulldogs won both the 2006 regular-season meetings with a 3-0 win in Big Rapids (10/21)?and a 3-2 triumph at Houghton, Mich. (9/24). Ferris then posted a 3-0 home victory over the Huskies in the 2006 GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals (10/31). FSU, which has won 19 of the past 20 contests, sports a 22-5 all-time record against MTU in home matches. The Huskies, who are coached by ninth-year head coach Krista Mikesch, were 2-5 overall prior to Friday’s (9/14) match at Grand Valley State. MTU has dropped its last three matches entering this Friday’s tilt at GVSU. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. MTU – 20-4
Northern Michigan: Ferris has a 38-37 advantage over the Wildcats in the all-time series as a result of 3-1 home victory last season (10/22). The Bulldogs swept last season’s regular-season series, which started with a 3-0 decision at Marquette, Mich. (9/23). FSU has won six of the last 13 outings between the teams with this Sunday’s match marking the 76th all-time meeting. The Wildcats, who are 6-6 this fall under first-year head coach Dominic Yoder, have won six of their last seven matches to date. Yoder served as an assistant at Ferris State under Brandel-Wilhelm for the 2000 campaign. NMU visits Grand Valley State this Saturday (9/15) in its GLIAC opener. Tia Brandel-Wilhelm vs. NMU – 9-16