WMU News

WMU snubbed by NCAA Tournament

Nov. 28, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University volleyball team's 1999 season ended Saturday (Nov. 27) at Ball State in the championship match of the 1999 Mid-American Conference Tournament.

WMU learned Sunday (Nov. 28) that it had not been selected to compete in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.

The Broncos conlcuded the season with a 25-7 overall record. WMU was 15-3 in MAC matches.

"We certainly looked at Western Michigan," Brenda Weare of the NCAA Volleyball Selection Committee said. "We gave them a good long look and reviewed their schedule and wins and losses. They were definitely one of many institutions under consideration.

"We look at strength of schedule, how you did against other teams, good losses, wins versus Top 25 teams, and bad losses. If you have great strength of schedule, you're in much better shape."

"We had some bad losses late and that hurts," Bronco head coach Cathy George said. "We shot ourselves in the foot. I thought we had a really good year but we lost focus and started doubting ourselves. We learned from that and will go about it differently next year. We have a lot of talent returning."

WMU seniors Traci Morin and Mandy Whitfield concluded their careers Saturday in WMU's 3-0 (15-11, 16-14, 15-9) loss at Ball State on Saturday (Nov. 27) in the title match of the 1999 MAC Tournament.

Whitfield finished her career ranked No. 5 on the Broncos' all-time kills list with 1,241. She established a school record with 27 digs against Kent Friday in the MAC semifinals and earned all-conference first team and all-tournament team honors this season. Morin was ranked among national leaders in hitting percentage and finishes her career No. 2 all-time in hitting percentage with a .345 career mark. She was the only player to individually lead WMU in blocks in three straight seasons. She is just the second player in WMU history to post a career hitting percentage higher than .330.

Whitfield blasted a match-high 23 kills and hit .306 in the title match. She also made 12 digs for the double-double performance. Fellow senior Morin also hit .306 and added 13 kills, 10 digs, and six blocks to the Bronco effort. Whitfield and Morin were both named to the all-tournament team.

Junior Alberta Griffin and sophomore Zakiya Pope each recorded 12 kills against Ball State. Pope also assisted on three blocks. Monyka Paul had five blocks and 10 kills to conclude her solid postseason performance. Setter Jen Nowak totaled 37 assists in guiding the WMU attack, which finished the night with a .260 team hitting percentage. Rookie Ashley Ritter had 24 assists and five kills against BSU. Defensive specialists Kelly Kuharski and Cindy Kizer made 12 and 11 digs, respectively.

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

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