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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University women’s volleyball will travel to Las Cruces, N.M. this weekend to face a trio of teams in a two-day tournament hosted by New Mexico State University. The tournament will mark the first time that head coach Debby Baker will face NMSU, her former team, since taking over the program at Southern Utah in 2008.
The T-Birds will enter the weekend coming off their first win of the season, in a 3-2 victory over Nebraska Omaha. The result included several season highs for the team, including kills (61) and digs (79) and also included a career-high 22 kills from senior Kylie Schofield.
Southern Utah will look to continue to streamline its offensive attack as the team is hitting only .155 on the year and averaging 10.5 kills per set. On the other side of the coin, SUU’s block has been a highlight for the team with 39.0 total blocks this season and an average of 1.8 per set.
Southern Utah’s tournament slate will open on Friday with New Mexico State at 10:00 a.m. and will be followed by Northern Illinois at 5:00 p.m. The T-Birds will wrap up the weekend with UALR on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Live stats for all matches are anticipated to be available online at www.suutbirds.com.
Scouting New Mexico State
New Mexico State will enter the tournament with an overall record of 1-5 on the year, but have faced several top programs including Hawaii, UCLA and California. The Aggies lone victory this season came in three sets against Nevada.
NMSU offense has totaled 237 kills so far this year, averaging 11.3 per set and hitting at a .188 clip. The Aggies are balanced individually with three players averaging two or more kills per set, including Lauren Loerch (2.52), Desiree Scott (2.00) and Aleisha Coates (1.95). Taylor Livoti directs the attack with a team-best 260 assists.
Defensively, NMSU has recorded 50.0 blocks this season, averaging 2.38 per set and 247 digs, averaging 11.76 per set. Individually, Scott leads the team with 22 total blocks with Stephanie Ziegler pacing the team with 61 digs.
Southern Utah and New Mexico State have never met on the volleyball court.
Scouting Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois will enter the weekend with an overall mark of 4-3 on the year with victories over UW-Green Bay (3-2), Liberty (3-0), Western Illinois (3-2) and Belmont (3-1). The road trip to Las Cruces will mark the first time the Huskies have played away from DeKalb, Ill. this season.
The NIU offense has recorded 376 kills this season, averaging 12.5 per set and hitting for a .208 percentage. Individually, Mackenzie Roddy leads the team with 93 kills and a team-best 3.10 per set. Alexis Gonzalez directs the NIU attack with a team-best 262 assists.
Defensively, NIU has tallied 73.0 blocks, averaging 2.43 per set and 428 digs, averaging 14.27 per set. Justine Schepler leads the team with 108 digs (3.60 per set) with Jenna Radtke leading the block with 26.0 this season.
Southern Utah and Northern Illinois have never met on the volleyball court.
Scouting Arkansas Little Rock (UALR)
UALR will enter the tournament with an overall record of 2-4 on the year with victories over Rice (3-2) and Mississippi State (3-1).
The Trojans offense is led by Edina Begic with 126 kills and an average of 5.04 per set. Overall, UALR has totaled 348 kills this year with a 13.92 kills per set average. Marleen de Zoete directs the offense with a team-best 289 assists.
Defensively, UALR has recorded 59.0 blocks this year, averaging 2.36 per set and 374 digs, averaging 14.96 per set. Individually, Adisa Hodzic paces the block with 27, averaging 1.08 per set, with Capri Rino leading the team in digs with 84 on the year, averaging 4.00 per set.
Southern Utah and UALR have never met on the volleyball court.