Sept. 26, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- The WMU volleyball team improved to 10-3 overall, 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference, with a 3-0 win over Ball State on Friday (Sept. 24) and a 3-1 victory over Bowling Green on Saturday (Sept. 25). Both matches were played at WMU's University Arena.
Bowling Green (Saturday, Sept. 25)
WMU struggled through the first two games of its match with a spirited Bowling Green team, losing the first game, 9-15, and nearly dropping the second before pulling out a hard-fought 16-14 win. The Broncos took control early in games three and four, held off rallies by Bowling Green, and won both games, 15-7.
Service aces were a big factor in the WMU win. The Broncos got 13 points off aces, compared to only one for BGSU, which both out-hit and out-blocked Western for the match.
Sophomore middle blocker Zakiya Pope led the Broncos with a career-high 17 kills and a .593 hitting percentage. She also led WMU with five blocks, including one solo. Setter Jen Nowak assisted her teammates 64 times and spread the ball around effectively, leading to five Broncos with double-figure kills. Seniors Traci Morin and Mandy Whitfield both recorded 16 kills. Morin hit .440 for the match. Whitfield had her fourth double-double of the season and second of the weekend with a team-high 13 digs.
Defensive specialist Kelly Kuharski also hit double figures in digs with 10. Junior Monyka Paul continued an excellent start to the 1999 season with 11 kills and a .429 attack percentage. Junior Alberta Griffin also continued a strong season start, coming off the bench for 12 kills and one solo block.
Ball State (Friday, Sept. 24)
Versus Ball State, WMU trailed only once, 11-10 in game two, winning the three-game match 15-7, 16-14 and 15-10. As a team, the Broncos had 57 kills (.339) to 51 (.202) for Ball State and topped the Cardinals in every category: services aces, (10-6), digs (37-31), and blocks (20-11). WMU also committed fewer errors than its opponent.
The victory convincingly ended a 14-match winning streak by Ball State over WMU. It was the first win by the Broncos over the Cardinals since 1991 and the first on Western's home court since 1989. With the win, WMU leads the all-time series 23-22.
Junior Monyka Paul led the Broncos with 14 kills and a .522 attack percentage (14-2-23). Senior Traci Morin had 12 kills (.476), three service aces, and a team-high seven blocks, including two solo blocks. Senior Mandy Whitfield and sophomore Zakiya Pope each added 10 kills. Pope hit .444 for the match. Whitfield also had a team-high 11 digs for her third double-double of the season.
Junior setter Jen Nowak had two kills (.400), five digs, three blocks and assisted her teammates 50 times for a 16.67 assists-per-game average.
The Broncos' next home match is Wednesday, Oct. 6, versus perennial MAC power Northern Illinois. The contest begins at 7 p.m. in University Arena.
Media contact: Geoff Brown; 616 387-4138; firstname.lastname@example.org
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