Four Top 25 battles on the schedule this week

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- With five teams ranked in the CSTV/American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25, the possibility exists for big matches in the MIAA every week. There are four this week.

On Wednesday (Sept. 26), there will be two head-to-head match-ups with nationally-ranked teams. The No. 5 Central Missouri Jennies (18-1, 5-0 MIAA) put their 14-match winning streak on the line at the UCM Multipurpose Building against No. 8 Truman (15-3, 3-0 MIAA), while No. 7 Washburn (18-1, 3-0 MIAA) brings a 13-match hot streak to the court when No. 23 Emporia State (13-4, 3-1 MIAA) heads to Lee Arena.

The Truman Bulldogs have won six in a row, including triumphs over then-No. 5 Florida Southern and Columbia (Mo.), the No. 10-ranked team in the NAIA. Truman is 4-1 against top 10 teams in 2007.

Emporia State comes into the first installment of the Turnpike Tussle with the aim of making the Lady Blues the third Top 25 team in a row to fall at the hands of the Lady Hornets. ESU has downed then-No. 23 Rockhurst (Mo.) and No. 14 Pittsburg State (16-3, 2-2 MIAA) in the past 10 days.

The Lady Hornets have won 15 straight games and are on a six-match winning streak.

Truman is involved in the other two Top 25 dust-ups this week. The Bulldogs are at Pittsburg State Saturday (Sept. 29), then host Washburn on Tuesday (Oct. 2) at Pershing Arena.

MIAA DOMINATES NATIONAL RANKING: With Emporia State making its debut at No. 23 this week, MIAA schools make up one-fifth of the CSTV/American Volleyball Coaches Top 25.

No other conference has five teams in the poll, and only two others -- the North Central Conference and California Collegiate Athletic Association -- have as many as four in the survey.

Four of the MIAA's ranked schools are in the top 15, joining the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (three) as the only leagues with more than two schools in the upper echelon of the ranking.

WU DOWNS PSU IN FIVE: Junior OH Monica Miesner scored 24 points as the No. 7 Washburn Lady Blues defeated then-No. 12 Pittsburg State, 3-2 (22-30, 30-18, 23-30, 30-25, 15-12) last Friday (Sept. 21) at Lee Arena.

Miesner logged 19 kills, two block solos, four block assists and a service ace, and hit .386 (19 kills, 2 errors, 44 attempts) on the night while adding 19 digs.

She also surpassed 1000 career kills in the match, finishing the night with 1,003. Miesner would add 13 during WU's sweep of Missouri Southern (10-8, 1-4 MIAA) the next day.

The Lady Blues hit just .167 (51-26-150) in the first three games, but rallied to win the match thanks to an efficient .431 attack percentage (31-3-65) in the final two.

Senior RH Tessa Jones added 19.5 points (18 kills, 3 block assists) with a team-high 24 digs, while senior MH Mandi Cox chipped in 13.5 points (11 kills, 1 ace, 3 block assists). Sophomore S Kate Hampson had a career-high 66 assists.

The Gorillas, which hit a respectable .294 in the final two games (28-8-68), was led by senior OH Laura Toman's 20.5 points (18 kills, 5 block assists). Sophomore OH Pamela Cartagena added 16.5 points (16 kills, 1 block assist) and hit .311 (16-2-45), and junior L Ashlee Maple collected a career-best 40 digs.

LADY HORNETS SWEEP GORILLAS: The Emporia State Lady Hornets played their way into the AVCA Top 25 with their second win over a ranked foe inside a week, as they swept then-No. 12 Pittsburg State, by scores of 30-22, 30-22, 30-22 Saturday afternoon (Sept. 22).

Junior OH Megan Koster scored a career-high 20 points on 18 kills, 1 ace and two block assists while logging a .342 attack percentage (18-5-38). Sophomore OH Arica Shepard (16 kills, 2 block assists) and freshman MH Brianne Boner (13 kills, 2 block solos, 4 block assists) each added 17 points -- Boner hit .500 (13-2-22) as well.

Freshman S Ting Liu dished out 56 assists and led ESU to a team attack percentage of .333 (63-14-147). Sophomore L Amy Byfield had 34 digs.

PSU, coming off a five-game loss the previous night at No. 7 Washburn, hit just .138 (43-21-160). Junior RH/MH Lindsay Quall had 10.5 points (8 kills, 1 ace, 3 block assists) to lead the Gorillas.

Pitt State would then head south to Wichita and bounce back with a 3-0 sweep of Newman (Kan.) later that evening.

BEARCATS TRIP NATIONALLY-RANKED UNO: The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (10-10, 2-2 MIAA) held then No. 18-ranked Nebraska-Omaha to a .130 attack percentage (50-30-154) as they upset the Mavs, 3-1 (30-25, 26-30, 30-22, 30-28) Wednesday (Sept. 19).

The Bearcats forced UNO to hit -.067 (7-9-30) in game three as Northwest regained the match lead.

Freshman MH Sara Falcone hit .312 (16-6-32) and scored a team-high 17.5 points (16 kills, 1 block solo, 1 block assist) while sophomore OH Alicia Johnson added 16.5 points (13 kills, 3 aces, 1 block assist) and sophomore OH Rachel Nisi chipped in 14.5 (13 kills, 1 ace, 1 block assist).

Johnson added a team-leading 18 digs while senior L Nicole Wojtowicz added 16. Freshman S Katie Swenson distributed 47 assists.

COWHICK CHART CHECK: With 32 digs in her two matches last week, Washburn senior L Erica Cowhick remained in fourth place on the MIAA's career digs list.

She now has 1,979 for her career and needs 21 more to reach the 2000-dig club. Cowhick needs 143 digs to pass Truman's Neely Forbes (1991-94 -- 2121) for third place.

KENNEY COLLECTS TRIPLE-DOUBLES: Senior S Chelsea Kenney of Southwest Baptist (7-13, 1-4 MIAA) collected her fourth triple-double (kills-assists-digs) of 2007 in the Lady Bearcats' 3-2 home win over Missouri Western (6-11, 0-3 MIAA) Saturday (Sept. 22).

She had 10 kills, 35 assists and 19 digs in SBU's second victory over the Griffons in as many seasons, and seventh of the season -- the most for a Lady Bearcat volleyball squad since getting 10 wins in 2002.

Kenney is the only MIAA player to record a triple-double this season.

QUICK SETS: ESU Junior OH Megan Koster was the first Lady Hornet to earn AVCA/Sports Imports Division II Player of the Week honors, as the MIAA claimed the winner of the award for the second time in as many weeks... WU sophomore S Kate Hampson set a school record with 55 assists in a three-game match as the Lady Blues swept MSSU Saturday (Sept. 22)... Southern senior OH Sarah Hoffmeister became just the sixth Lion to reach 1000 kills and 1000 digs in a career when she logged 20 kills and 22 digs in a 3-1 win at Fort Hays State (12-8, 0-3 MIAA) Friday (Sept. 21)... FHSU junior S Whitney Hoffman had a career-high 63 assists in the Tigers' 3-1 win Saturday over Bethany (Kan.).

MIAA Volleyball Players of the Week

For the week of play ending Sept. 23

Megan Koster, OH
Emporia State University

Koster, a 5-foot-10 junior from Clay Center, Kan., averaged 5.67 points per game as the Lady Hornets defeated a pair of nationally-ranked opponents last week.

In a 3-0 sweep at No. 23 Rockhurst (Mo.) Tuesday (Sept. 18), Koster hit .357 (13 kills, 3 errors, 28 attempts) while adding two block assists and 10 digs. She hit .750 in game one, and scored the game-ending kill. She had three kills in a 9-3 ESU run to close out game two.

She scored a career-high 20 points (18 kills, 1 ace, 2 block assists) and added 20 digs in a 3-0 home sweep of No. 12 Pittsburg State Saturday (Sept. 22). She had seven kills in game two vs. the Gorillas, and hit .342 (18-5-38) in the match.

She also was named AVCA/Sports Imports Division II Player of the Week.

Koster is a graduate of Clay Center High School, and transferred to ESU from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.

Others Nominated: Alyssa Berg, MH/RH, MWSU; Sarah Hoffmeister, OH, MSSU; Alicia Johnson, OH, NWMSU; Melissa Keck, RH, TSU; Monica Miesner, OH, WU; Jillian Ohrman, MH, UCM; Kellyn Thaut, OH, FHSU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Pamela Cartagena, OH, PSU & Melissa Keck, RH, TSU; 9/3 -- Jillian Ohrman, OH UCM; 9/10 -- Leanna Roberts, MH, FHSU; 9/17 -- Tessa Jones, RH, WU.

Ting Liu, S
Emporia State University

Liu (pronounced loo), a 6-foot-1 freshman from Beijing, China, averaged 17.50 assists, 3.17 digs and 0.83 service aces in two ESU wins over nationally-ranked foes last week.

She had 49 assists with eight digs, and scored nine points in the Lady Hornets' 3-0 sweep at No. 23 Rockhurst (Mo.) Tuesday (Sept. 18). Liu had four kills, four aces and two block assists in the match, and helped ESU to a .292 team hitting percentage (.500 in game two).

Liu tallied 56 assists in a 3-0 home win over No. 12 Pittsburg State Saturday (Sept. 22) with 11 digs, 1 ace and 1 kill. She had 20 of her assists in the third game and 19 in game one, as she set the three-game season-best in the MIAA for 2007. ESU hit .333 against the Gorillas.

Liu is a graduate of Beijing Fifth Sport School.

Others Nominated: Whitney Boehler, L, TSU; Kari Hammerbacher, L, MSSU; Kate Hampson, S, WU; Whitney Hoffman, S, FHSU; Ashlee Maple, L, PSU; Caitlin Pankratz, S, UCM; Katie Swenson, S, NWMSU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Audrey Jensen, L, UCM; 9/3 -- Ashlee Maple, L, PSU; 9/10 -- Kate Hampson, S, WU; 9/17 -- Ting Liu, S, ESU.

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