Marshall, who will host the Conference USA Volleyball Tournament on Nov. 15-18 in the Cam Henderson Center on the MU campus in Huntington, W.Va., will try to continue the march toward a No. 1 seed in that tournament with Central Florida coming to town on Sunday for a 1 p.m. Senior Day game on Sunday. The Herd, now 19-8/12-1 in C-USA and with a one-half game lead over Tulane, has won 13 of its last 14 matches and six in a row.
Southern Miss, now 10-19 overall and just 1-12 in C-USA play, played better in games two and three. "I think it was them, I think they passed the ball better," said MU head coach Mitch Jacobs about if his team overlooked the struggling Eagles. "They made a match-up change. They made a move a change putting seven (Angela Hlavaty) on Cahill and she didn't respond to it, she wasn't ready for it, but she still got her kills." Southern Miss was swept last Friday, 3-0, by Memphis, and lost a heart-breaker to UAB, 3-2. "They spread the offense real well and Liz did a good job of adjusting to it."
Liz is freshman setter Elizabeth Fleming, who won her third Co-C-USA Setter of the Week last week. She added to her yearly total with 47 assists tonight, giving her 1,361 assists this year. Fleming is now (48 assists short of the fifth-best season in school history.
We knew they only had one win, but we had to give respect to their team," said the frosh from South Bend, Indiana. "We had to be focused and do our job, execute and do the little things that would be important to do against a team with six or seven wins." Fleming is looking forward to Sunday, when the seniors will have their day fo honor and doesn't see that as a possible distraction. "It's going to pump us up big-time. These four seniors have been everything for us, we love them and will miss them so much."
Fleming is not looking past UCF, but she issued a challenge to the two road opponents next week the Herd will face in the final weekend. "UAB had better be ready, because that was our one loss. We will be looking for revenge, and Memphis, we have a little history with them, so we'll get after them too." Fleming has not slowed down since reporting to campus as a true freshman, but thinks this year was even better than she expected it to be. "It's been everything I expected, and more, and it's definitely been harder. It's very rewarding, getting close to my teammates. Even those seniors who will not be here next year and those players who will step right in for them. I have to admit, I was late to my first class because I got lost, so it's been a challenge, it's been very tough, but it has been rewarding as well."
Stephanie Cahill added to her numbers with 15 digs, giving her 352 on the year and 1,367 in her career, second all-time at Marshall. Cahill had 10 kills as well for her 16th double-double on the year. Uche Ndubisi added six kills and four digs, while libero Maggie Arias had eight digs. "We had a 75 percent sideout in game two and 72 percent in game three," said Jacobs. "If you have over 70 percent, you will win a lot of games." Marshall was just short of that in game one with 68 percent.
On Sunday, the four seniors: Billingy, Cahill, Ndubisi and Arias will try to extend a current winning mark of 36-4 in their four years in the Henderson Center court. They will hopefully go on the road next week, at UAB (19-7, 9-3 in league play) and at Memphis (20-9, also 9-3 entering Friday night's play), and bring back a second C-USA Championship in three seasons in the league. Marshall won the regular season and tournament titles in year one in the league, back in 2005, and advanced to the programs second-ever NCAA Tournament.
Tickets for the C-USA Tournament are available at HerdZone.com or at 1-800 THE HERD. They range from adult and children's prices for daily or tournament packages. Adults can get in for $8 per day or $25 for the four-day tournament in advance, $10/$30 day of the match. Youth advance are $6/$20 or walk up for $8/$25. Groups of ten or more can also get discounts on tickets of $15 for tournament packages purchased in advance of the tournament. All MU games are also heard on WMUL 88.1 FM, the Marshall student station, and on the web at www.marshall.edu/WMUL.