WMU News

Volleyball Broncos fall to second place in MAC

Nov. 13, 1999

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Western Michigan University volleyball team bounced back from a disappointing loss at Ohio with a 3-2 victory at Marshall on Saturday (Nov. 13).

On Friday (Nov. 12), the Broncos were stunned by last-place Ohio with a 3-0 (8-15, 13-15, 11-15) setback. The loss dropped WMU to the second-best record the the MAC, one-half game behind Ball State, which improved to 15-1 MAC with a 3-1 win at Central Michigan on Saturday night.

For the first time this season, the Broncos do not control their own destiny in terms of gaining the top seed in the MAC and home court throughout the MAC Tournament. To regain the top spot, WMU must win its final regular season match at Northern Illinois (Nov. 19) and hope for some help from one of Ball State's two remaining opponents. Ball State plays at Akron (Nov. 19) and at Kent (Nov. 20) to complete their regular season schedule.

On Saturday night, The Broncos outlasted the Herd 3-2 (1-15, 15-11, 15-10, 4-15, 15-11) to improve to 23-5 overall, 15-2 in the Mid-American Conference. Saturday's match was WMU's first five-game set of the season and first since Oct. 31, 1998, also against Marshall. Western Michigan had gone a program-record 27 matches without going to rally scoring.

Seniors Traci Morin and Mandy Whitfield came up big to help keep the Broncos' hopes of hosting the MAC Tournament alive. Morin recorded 19 kills and 13 digs while Whitfield posted totals of 18 kills and 14 digs. Morin hit .341 (19-5-41) in the match and ended the contest with a kill in game five. Monyka Paul and Zakiya Pope totaled 17 and 13 kills respectively. Setter Jen Nowak assisted on kills 62 times and also made eight digs. Kelly Kuharski made 12 digs to help WMU triumph in its first-ever trip to Huntington, W. Va.

In Friday's loss at Ohio, Western Michigan hit just .124 as a team and committed 11 reception errors. Whitfield had 11 kills and 12 digs to pace the Broncos. Paul was the only other Bronco to reach double figures in kills, finishing with 10 in the loss. The defeat snapped WMU's five-match victory streak against Ohio.

Western Michigan wraps up the regular season at Northern Illinois on Friday, Nov. 19.

The Broncos will host a 1999 MAC Tournament Quarterfinal match Nov. 23 at University Arena. That contest will begin at 6 p.m.

The semifinals and finals will be held Nov. 26 and 27, respectively, at the highest-seeded team remaining following the quarterfinals. The top eight teams in the MAC qualify for the tournament, with the top four hosting first-round matches.

Media contact: Geoff Brown; 616 387-4138; geoffrey.brown@wmich.edu

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