Volleyball Broncos 2-0 at Ameritech Invitational
Sept. 15, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- The WMU volleyball team improved to 5-3 for the season with opening-round victories over Liberty, 3-0, and Connecticut, 3-1, at the Ameritech Invitational in WMU's University Arena on Friday (Sept. 15).
The Broncos play 26th-ranked Ohio State at 1 p.m. Saturday for the tournament championship. OSU (9-0 overall) was also 2-0 in the first day of the tournament, defeating both Liberty and Connecticut 3-0.
WMU vs Connecticut
On Friday night (Sept. 15), the Bronco volleyball team defeated Big East power Connecticut, 3-1 (15-8, 9-15, 15-10, 15-13). WMU won its third straight match to improve to 5-3 on the season. Connecticut fell to 6-3 overall.
Cathy George, who notched her 100th career win as the Broncos' head coach, said before the match that Connecticut would be "a pivotal contest for our whole season." Connecticut finished second in the Big East in 1999 and is expected to challenge for that conference's title and an NCAA tournament berth this season.
Sophomore middle blocker Angela Sillmon came off the bench and had a huge night for the Broncos. She carded 16 kills, second most on the team, led the Broncos with six blocks, and had a .414 hitting percentage. Sillmon's 16 kills is her career best at WMU.
Also with career-best performances in the win over Connecticut were junior outside hitter M'Myia McQuirter, who led WMU with 20 kills, and senior outside hitter Alberta Griffin, who made a staggering 21 digs for her team.
Senior Monyka Paul, playing with a foot injury, carded a double-double with 11 kills and an equal number of digs. Middle blocker Zakiya Pope added 15 kills to the Bronco effort, and defensive specialists Cindy Kizer and Kelly Kuharski contributed 12 and 11 digs, respectively.
Senior setter Jen Nowak, who played all but a few minutes of the match, had 57 assists (14.25 apg) and helped her team to a .251 overall hitting percentage. Nowak was relieved briefly in the fourth game by sophomore Ashley Ritter, who helped stem a Connecticut rally and preserve the win.
The matched was played in front of 958 fans for what Bronco athletics had dubbed "Premiere Night," a gala celebration of the start of the 2000 seasons for all WMU teams.
WMU vs Liberty
In a mid-day match on Friday (Sept. 15), the WMU volleyball team opened play at the Ameritech Invitational in University Arena with a 3-0 win over Liberty (15-11, 15-6, 15-5). Liberty qualified for the NCAA tournament in 1999, but has struggled to a 1-8 record so far this season.
Junior middle blocker Zakiya Pope led all players with 16 kills and a .462 hitting percentage (16-4-26). She also led the field with two solo blocks and four block assists. Pope contributed four digs and three services aces in the Bronco win.
M'Myia McQuirter had 14 kills and hit .379 (14-3-29) for the match. Alberta Griffin contributed 11 kills (.259) and Angela Sillmon chipped in with seven (.333). As a team, WMU hit .326 and held Liberty to a .125 attack percentage.
Griffin carded a double-double in the contest, adding 10 digs to her 11 kills. Defensive specialist Kelly Kuharski had six digs, one service ace, and one kill.
Sparking the Bronco offense through the first two games, setter Jen Nowak had 32 assists for a 16 assists-per-game average, made two kills (.333), eight digs, and had one block and one service ace. Setter Ashley Ritter played the third game and compiled equally impressive stats in relief. She had 11 assists, one block, and hit .400 with three kills in five attempts (3-1-5).
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