WMU News

Volleyball Broncos advance to MAC semifinals

Nov. 23, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the 1999 Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 3-1 (15-7, 15-8, 13-15, 16-14) triumph over cross-state rival Eastern Michigan on Tuesday (Nov. 23) at University Arena.

The Broncos will take on Kent on Friday (Nov. 26) at 5 p.m. in the semifinals in Muncie, Ind. No. 6 seed Kent defeated No. 3 seed Akron 3-0 (15-11, 15-13, 15-9) to advance to the second round. WMU defeated Kent 3-0 (15-5, 15-13, 15-7) in the two schools' only meeting Oct. 2 in Kent, Ohio.

Tuesday's victory marked WMU's first MAC Tournament win in 10 years. Western Michigan last won a conference postseason match Nov. 24, 1989 -- a 3-1 victory over Eastern Michigan. The Broncos advanced to the NCAA Tournament that season.

The MAC semifinals will be hosted by No. 1 Ball State, which defeated No. 8 seed Marshall, 3-0, Tuesday. In the other MAC Tournament match Tuesday, No. 5 seed Miami lost, 3-2, at No. 4 Bowling Green. Ball State will take on BGSU on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The winner of the WMU-Kent match will face the winner of the Ball State-Bowling Green match in the tournament championship on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. That match will also be hosted by Ball State, regardless of which two teams meet for the championship.

Western Michigan senior Mandy Whitfield totaled a match-high 23 kills in her final home contest. Junior Alberta Griffin came through with 15 kills, a career-high 14 digs, and a .290 attack rate. Monyka Paul also posted a double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs in the win. Traci Morin contributed 10 kills and a .409 hitting percentage while defensive specialists Kelly Kuharski and Cindy Kizer made 11 and eight digs, respectively.

WMU hit .306 as a team, its best hitting percentage in five matches. Rookie setter Ashley Ritter assisted her teammates 50 times and also made 10 digs for the first double-double of her career. Jen Nowak totaled 13 assists Tuesday.

The winner of the MAC Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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

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