SERVING IT UP: Arkansas State travels to Arlington, Texas Sept. 18 and 19 for the UT-Arlington Hilton Invitational. The Red Wolves will play Texas Southern and tournament host UT-Arlington Friday before taking on Tulsa and Texas Christian Saturday.
UT-Arlington Hilton Invitational Schedule
Friday, Sept. 18
TSU vs. ASU 3:00 p.m.
Tulsa at TCU* 6:30 p.m.
ASU at UTA 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 19
Tulsa vs. ASU 10:30 a.m.
TSU at UTA 12:30 p.m.
ASU vs. TCU 2:30 p.m.
TSU vs. Tulsa 5:00 p.m.
TCU at UTA 7:30 p.m.
*at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas
(all other games at Texas Hall)
THE TEAMS: Arkansas State travels to Arlington with a 9-1 record on the year and on a nine-match win streak. The Red Wolves swept the MSU Bulldog Invitational last weekend with wins over Mississippi State, Eastern Michigan and Northwestern State.
Texas Southern posted a 3-1 victory over Southern University Tuesday, improving the Tigers to 5-6 on the year.
UT-Arlington comes into this weekend's tournament at 2-7 overall. The Mavericks dropped both matches of the UT-Arlington Invitational Saturday, losing to UALR and Oklahoma.
Tulsa stands a 8-2 on the season and makes the trip to Arlington off a 2-1 weekend. The Golden Hurricane won the Radisson Tulsa Airport Invitational, posting wins over Stephen F. Austin and Texas Tech.
Texas Christian topped New Mexico 3-1 in Albuquerque, N.M. Wednesday night. The Horned Frogs now stand at 9-3 on the season.
THE TEXAS SOUTHERN SERIES: ASU holds a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series against Texas Southern. The two teams met for the first time in 2008 at the Texas Southern Tournament with the Red Wolves taking the match 3-0.
THE UT-Arlington SERIES: Arkansas State is 1-6 all-time against UTA. ASU's lone win against the Mavericks came during the last meeting of the two teams at the Texas-Arlington Classic in 2001. The Red Wolves defeated UTA 3-2.
THE tulsa SERIES: The Red Wolves are 4-3 in the all-time series against Tulsa. The two teams last met in 1986, each claiming a match that year. ASU swept the Golden Hurricane 3-0 at the St. Louis Invitational, but Tulsa topped the Red Wolves 3-0 later in the same tournament.
The texas christian series: TCU holds a 4-0 record in the all-time series against Arkansas State. The Red Wolves and Horned Frogs last met in 2003 at the TCU Adidas Classic. The Horned Frogs topped ASU 3-1.
19-SET STREAK ENDS: The Red Wolves' 19-set win streak came to an end Friday night against Mississippi State at the MSU Bulldog Invitational. ASU took the first set against MSU 25-14, but the Lady Bulldogs bounced back to take set two 25-23. The Red Wolves recovered to win the match, then defeated Eastern Michigan and Northwestern State Saturday to close out the tournament.
fielder, bowman sweep sun belt conference weekly awards: JONESBORO, Ark. (9/14/09) - Arkansas State sophomore middle blocker Cayla Fielder and senior libero Heather Bowman were named the Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Player and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches Sept. 15. The award marks the first for both student-athletes this season and the first time a school has swept the awards since Denver during the 2007 season.
"I think it's a great honor to receive any conference award," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "I think it's a credit to how we've been playing as a team and how strong we've been this past week. I think overall our effort was strong."
Fielder earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors for the second consecutive weekend at the Mississippi State Bulldog Invitational, leading the Red Wolves to an undefeated week and their ninth consecutive win. Fielder pounded out a team high 43 kills on the weekend, averaging 3.91 kills per set. She led the Red Wolves with 14 blocks over the three-match tournament. In ASU's 3-0 win over UT-Martin Tuesday night, Fielder led the team with four blocks and added 11 kills, hitting .400 in the match.
On the season, Fielder has recorded a league-best 48 total blocks - 1.45 per set - along with 111 kills and a .366 hitting percentage. The local Jonesboro product has put ASU atop the Sun Belt in blocks and opponent hitting percentage, as the Red Wolves lead the league with 94 blocks -- a 2.69 per set average -- while limiting their competitors to just a .114 hitting percentage.
Bowman notched a career-high 31 digs in ASU's 3-1 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday in the Mississippi State Bulldog Invitational. Bowman earned her second all-tournament honor of the 2009 season over the weekend with her 70 digs, four service aces and six assists. She also led the Red Wolves with 20 digs Tuesday night in ASU's 3-0 win over UT-Martin.
Bowman also leads the league with 192 total digs and has helped ASU top the conference in the same statistical category. Behind Bowman's 5.82 digs per set, the Red Wolves have registered 572 digs so far this season, for their conference-best 16.34 per set average.
"Offensively, Cayla was tremendous at the Mississippi State tournament and Bowman was very strong defensively," added Ingram. "I give a lot of credit to those two players. They're playing great for us, and we have to keep it going this weekend at UT-Arlington."
ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Sophomore middle blocker Cayla Fielder pounded out 12 kills and added four blocks to lead the Red Wolves to a 3-0 victory over the Huskies of Houston Baptist in the championship game of the ASU Classic. Fielder won tournament MVP honors after hitting a team-high .550 to notch 23 kills and six blocks over the three-game tournament. She earned her second MVP honor at the MSU Bulldog Invitational, pounding out a team-high 43 kills on the weekend, averaging 3.91 kills per set. She also led the Red Wolves with 14 blocks over the three-match tournament.
Freshman Brittany Hoag also earned all-tournament honors at the ASU Classic for the second time this season after leading the team with 26 kills, and senior libero Heather Bowman earned all-tournament honors as well after leading the Red Wolves with 61 digs. Bowman earned her second all-tournament honor of 2009 at the MSU Bulldog Invitational, tallying 70 digs, four service aces and six assists. At the tournament, she surpassed her career-high for the second time this season, posting 31 digs in ASU's 3-1 victory over Eastern Michigan.
PUTTING UP "W's": ASU chalked up its ninth consecutive win Saturday, sweeping Northwestern State on the road at the Mississippi State Bulldog Invitational. The last time Arkansas State won nine consecutive matches was in 2004 when the Red Wolves posted wins over UALR, Denver,
Arkansas-Pine Bluff, South Alabama, New Orleans, UT-Martin, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas and UALR a second time. The 2004 team finished the year at 25-8 and tied for first place in the Sun Belt Eastern Division standings.
MAKING A DEBUT: Freshman outside hitter Brittany Hoag was named to the all-tournament team at the Memphis Invitational Aug. 28-29 after leading the Red Wolves to a 2-1 record at the tournament. Hoag finished the weekend with 35 kills, including a high of 14 against Evansville to help rally the Red Wolves from a two-set deficit and earn the five-set victory. Hoag averaged a team-high 2.92 kills per game and also led the Red Wolves with 44 digs and added 10 blocks.
Freshman Kelsie Hodges played in all 12 sets of her first weekend in the Red Wolves' lineup. She posted 25 kills, a team-high .303 hitting percentage and 18 blocks over the three matches.
NEW CAREER-HIGHS: Junior setter Laura Bennett posted a career-high five blocks to go along with 42 assists and 11 digs in ASU's season opener against SEMO at the Memphis Invitational. Bennett broke her own record the next day against Evansville, finishing the match with seven blocks, then added six more in just three sets in ASU's victory over Memphis to close out the tournament.
Sophomore middle blocker Cayla Fielder surpassed her previous career-high of eight blocks twice at the Memphis Invitational, opening the season with a 10-block effort against SEMO before adding nine blocks in ASU's second match against Evansville. Fielder notched five more blocks in just three sets of action against Memphis. Fielder was responsible for more than 50 percent of ASU's 46 blocks on the weekend and also averaged 2.83 kills per set.
Senior Heather Bowman surpassed her career-high for the second time this season, posting 31 digs against Eastern Michigan Sept. 12 at the MSU Bulldog Invitational. Her previous high was 30 digs against Houston Baptist in the ASU Classic.
ASU IN SEASON OPENERS: The Red Wolves are 22-12 all-time in season openers. Arkansas State fell to SEMO 3-1 in the 2009 season opener at the Memphis Invitational. The Red Wolves topped Mississippi Valley State in the 2008 season opener at the Texas Southern Season Opening Tournament. Following that win, ASU won its next three matches to get off to the best start since it went 5-0 to start the 2004 season.
FIELDER NAMED 2009 PRESEASON ALL-SUN BELT CONFERENCE: Arkansas State sophomore middle blocker Cayla Fielder has been named to the 2009 All-Sun Belt Conference Preseason Volleyball Team, the league announced Aug. 25. Fielder was the only sophomore selected for the team as voted on by all 13 head coaches from across the Sun Belt Conference.
Florida International outside hitter Yarimar Rosa was named the league's Preseason Player of the Year, while Denver libero Kacie Wikierak was named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Fielder earned All-SBC second-team honors and was named SBC Freshman of the Year following the 2008 season after seeing action in all 33 matches as a true freshman. She led the Red Wolves with 103 blocks on the year and was second on the team with 291 kills, averaging 2.47 kills per set. She also posted a hitting percentage of .363 at the end of regular season play to rank fourth in the Sun Belt and 36th nationally. Fielder ended the season with a .356 hitting percentage that ranks sixth in the ASU record book, and she was named to the Texas Southern and UMKC Kangaroo Klassic All-Tournament teams during the season as well.
"I think Cayla earning preseason all-conference is a great reward," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "She has proven to be one of the best players in the conference, and hopefully we can use this as momentum for our team going into this first weekend."
SENIORS READY FOR FINAL CAMPAIGN: "There are four seniors this year. Two of them are defensive specialist/libero candidates," said Ingram. "I think whoever can serve-receive best will be utilized in the libero position. That is the first thing I will look at, and then how they defend and how they serve. Those three things will make up that position. Both Heather Bowman and Erin Neeley have had playing experience last year. They both played significant amounts and contributed for the team last year, and I see both of them contributing again this year."
Senior defensive specialist Erin Neeley (5'5" Jonesboro, Ark.) led the Arkansas State squad for the third consecutive season with 441 digs and enters the 2009 season ranked fourth on the ASU career digs chart with 1,323 digs. She was named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week October 20 after leading ASU to a 3-0 week against New Orleans, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.
Senior defensive specialist Heather Bowman (5'8" Forth Smith, Ark.) posted 338 digs to rank second on the team in 2008. She added 15 service aces, 30 assists and nine kills on the season.
Senior outside hitter Mandy DeWalt (5'8" Houston, Texas) finished the 2008 season with 185 kills. She recorded a career high 17 kills twice in the same day, setting the mark September 13 against Southern Illinois and again later in the day against Western Illinois. DeWalt also posted 175 digs, 21 blocks, 21 service aces and 17 assists on the year.
"Mandy is a big contributor," Ingram added. "She's a passing left-side hitter. She plays all the way around and will have the ability to play for us a significant amount of time, because she can do more than one thing pretty well. She can pass well. She can attack at a pretty high level, and she can also do some of the little things that end up to be big things on the court. She has experience within the Sun Belt Conference."
Senior outside hitter Konae Purcell (5'11" Aiea, Hawaii) led the Red Wolves with 296 kills despite missing eight matches in 2008 due to injury, averaging 3.89 kills per set. Her average ranked her third in the Sun Belt. She added 35 blocks to finish third on the team and was named to the all-tournment team at the Southern Illinois-Hampton Inn Saluki Invitational. Purcell was named MVP of both the Texas Southern Season-Opening Tournament and the Western Carolina Catamount Clash.
"Konae is coming back from an ACL surgery. She had that done in December and is currently on track to begin her jumping. Hopefully, we can get her full-out match play soon. She has been participating in our practices, but I think her role will change throughout the course of the season. I think we'll count on her more as the season progresses. She's still in the beginning stages of coming back. It's a bit of a process," ASU head coach Justin Ingram explained.
HEAD COACH JUSTIN INGRAM: Arkansas State University Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee announced Friday, April 17 that Justin Ingram was named head coach of the Red Wolves volleyball team.
"We are very excited to name Justin Ingram as our new women's volleyball coach," said Lee. "Justin has obviously been associated with some outstanding programs at Kansas State and Houston. He comes with a tremendous reputation as a great trainer and as a great recruiter. He started as one of our top candidates and remained there until the end."
Ingram becomes the sixth head coach in ASU volleyball history after serving eight years as an assistant coach at Kansas State.
During his time at Kansas State, he served as the recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator for the Wildcats who posted a 171-79 record and made seven NCAA tournament appearances during his time with the program.
While at Kansas State, the Wildcats earned American Volleyball Coaches Association top-25 final rankings six different seasons including a No. 11 final ranking in 2003. The Wildcats also had seven 20-win seasons in his time there, including a 30-win season and a first-place finish in the Big 12 in 2003. Kansas State's final RPI ranked in the top-30 nationally during seven of Ingram's eight seasons with the Wildcats.
Ingram served the previous two years as an assistant coach at the University of Houston. He served as a junior college recruiting coordinator, travel coordinator and assistant director of camps. The Cougars posted a 42-24 record and made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances and posted consecutive 20-win seasons in 1998 and 1999. The Cougars were the Conference USA National Division Runners-up in 1998 and C-USA National Division Champions in 1999.
During his career, Ingram has helped lead teams to nine NCAA Tournament appearances including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 2003. He has coached eight All-America selections, 22 All-Big 12 selections, 55 Academic All-Big 12 players, six All-Conference USA selections, four Big 12 Libero of the Year winners, a Big 12 Player of the Year, a Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a C-USA Player of the Year.
Ingram earned his bachelor's degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University in 1995 and a master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1998.
"Arkansas State is a tremendous university with an excellent volleyball program and I'm thrilled to be here," said Ingram. "I think the program is heading in a very positive direction and I'm excited to be part of its future. Not only does ASU have a strong volleyball program, it's in a strong conference and has great support from the community. So, this is a great situation and opportunity and I look forward to the challenges ahead."
ASSISTANT COACH JULIE ALLEN: Julie Allen joined the Arkansas State volleyball staff as an assistant coach on April 1, 2008, after two seasons at Georgetown.
Allen joined the Georgetown program in August 2006 after spending nearly two years at California State University at Chico as the assistant women's volleyball coach and head men's club coach.
"I am truly excited that Julie agreed to come to Arkansas State and our volleyball program," ASU former head coach Craig Cummings said. "She brings with her a wealth of experience from the Big East Conference, training the setters and coordinating the offense at Georgetown University during the last couple of seasons. With some very talented candidates in the pool, Julie stood out as the best, allowing our program to take advantage of her experience and expertise and help us climb back to the top of the Sun Belt Conference."
After graduating from the University of Portland in 2002, Allen was the head volleyball coach at Tualatin High School in Tualatin, Ore. until 2003. She was a lead coach for the Empire Volleyball Club in Santa Rosa, Calif. from 2000-2004.
Allen is also a graduate of the NCAA Women's Coaches Academy, which is designed for women coaches who are ready and willing to increase their individual effectiveness through learning advanced skills and strategies that directly affect their personal and team success.
A four-year setter at Portland, Allen stands at fifth on the Pilots' all-time career assists list with 2,042.
"Julie is a bright young lady with a lot of energy and has an outside-the-box mentality towards developing new ways to train the team," Cummings said. "She will coordinate our recruiting efforts as well as handle the video systems throughout the year."
2008- A SEASON OF CHANGE FOR ARKANSAS STATE: The 2008-2009 season proved to be one of many up's and down's for the Arkansas State volleyball program. A new mascot, 21 wins and honors along the way highlighted the 2008 season.
In finishing the regular season at 21-11 and 10-8 in league play, Arkansas State posted its highest winning percentage (.656) since the 2004 season, when ASU finished 25-7 (.781) and tied for first place in the Sun Belt East Division.
Following regular season play, freshman Cayla Fielder was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference second team and selected as the SBC Freshman of the Year. After just one season, Fielder has etched her named in the ASU record book with the sixth best single-season hitting percentage.
Junior Libero Erin Neeley staked her claim on the ASU career digs chart, ranking fourth with 1,323 digs with a season to play still ahead.
Junior Laura Bennett also moved into the record rankings, posting 1,224 assists on the year and earning the seventh spot on the single season chart.
ASU entered the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the No. 7 seed, taking on second-seeded Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders ended ASU's postseason play, topping the Red Wolves 3-0.
Over the season, the team posted four win streaks of four wins or more.
With its 4-0 start, ASU got off to its best start since the 2004 season when it started 5-0. The team posted wins over Mississippi Valley State, Texas Southern and The Citadel in the Texas Southern Season-Opening Tournament followed by a win over UT-Martin at the Convocation Center September 2. The Red Wolves did not lose a set in their first four matches. Junior Konae Purcell was named MVP of the tournament and Neeley was named the tournament's outstanding defensive specialist, while Fielder was selected to the all-tournament team.
The second streak began in the last game of the Hampton Inn Saluki Invitational September 13 when Arkansas State defeated Western Illinois 3-1. The Red Wolves then won three straight matches at the Western Carolina Catamount Clash over Presbyterian, Western Carolina and Norfolk State. Purcell was also named MVP of the Catamount Clash, while now-departed senior Mafo Joelle earned all-tournament honors.
Back-to-back home wins over Louisiana-Lafayette September 26 and Louisiana-Monroe September 28 started the third win streak, followed by road wins over South Alabama and Troy. The Red Wolves also topped Memphis 3-1 at home October 7, before losing to Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky.
The last win streak started with a road-swing through the state of Louisiana beginning October 16. ASU defeated New Orleans 3-0, Louisiana-Lafayette 3-1 and Louisiana-Monroe 3-0 over the weekend. Neeley was named SBC Defensive Player of the Week following the weekend sweep. The Red Wolves returned home to top Florida Atlantic October 24 before falling to Florida International the next day.
Arkansas State won its last two matches on the road, winning at UALR 3-2 and North Texas 3-0.
The end of the 2008 season also marked the end of head coach Craig Cummings' time at Arkansas State. Cummings announced his resignation in February 2009 after 13 years at ASU, and Justin Ingram was named head coach in April.
ASU VOLLEYBALL tops mississippi state for seventh straight win: STARKVILLE, Miss. (9/11/09) - The Arkansas State volleyball team (7-1) recorded its seventh straight win topping Mississippi State (2-7) 3-1 Friday night at the MSU Bulldog Invitational in Starkville, Miss.
Sophomore Cayla Fielder led the Red Wolves with 18 kills and seven blocks, hitting a solid .531 on the night. Freshman Brittany Hoag added 16 kills to the Red Wolves' effort, followed by sophomore Charlyn Ursell with 14 kills. Hoag posted five of ASU's nine service aces.
ASU took the first set 25-14, but the Bulldogs bounced back to end a 19-set ASU win streak 25-23 in set two. The Red Wolves recovered, taking set three 25-23 on a block and kill from Fielder.
Arkansas State broke away from an 18-18 tie in set four on a Lady Bulldog attacking error, two kills from Ursell, a kill from freshman Kelsie Hodges, two service aces from Hoag and a kill from freshman Taylor Coughlin to end the set at 25-19.
Senior libero Heather Bowman led Arkansas State's defensive effort with 19 digs, while junior Laura Bennett added 44 assists and 11 digs.
The Red Wolves return to the hardwood Saturday to take on Eastern Michigan at 10:00 a.m. and Northwestern State at 4:30 p.m.
red wolves volleyball tops eastern michigan, northwestern state to extend win streak:
STARKVILLE, Miss. (9/12/09) - The Arkansas State volleyball team (9-1) won its eighth and ninth consecutive matches against Eastern Michigan (1-9) and Northwestern State (0-7) Saturday at the MSU Bulldog Invitational in Starkville, Miss. The Red Wolves topped EMU 3-1 before sweeping NSU 3-0.
Sophomore Cayla Fielder earned tournament MVP honors, recording 43 kills and 14 blocks on the weekend, while senior Heather Bowman was named to the all-tournament team after surpassing her career-high 30 digs by posting 31 against Eastern Michigan. Bowman had 70 digs on the weekend and tallied four service aces over the three matches.
"Our team was eager and ready to compete both days of the tournament," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "The level of play we sustained against Mississippi State on Friday night was exceptional, and I am proud of all the progress we are making. Everybody stepped up, and we are certainly defining what kind of team we are."
ASU took the first set against EMU 25-19, but the Eagles bounced back to take set two 25-23. The Red Wolves battled back in set three to break a 24-24 tie with a kill from freshman Brittany Hoag and a block by freshmen Kelsie Hodges and Taylor Coughlin to take the set 26-24.
Arkansas State jumped out to an early 10-3 lead in set four, and the Eagles came back to take the lead three more times throughout the set. ASU broke a 20-20 tie with two back-to-back kills from Hoag, and the Red Wolves coasted to a 25-22 win on kills from Hodges and sophomore Charlyn Ursell and a service ace from junior Laura Bennett.
In set one against Northwestern State, the Red Wolves broke away from a 17-17 tie on two errors by the Lady Demons, a service ace from Bowman and a kill from Bennett to go up 21-17. Bennett added a service ace, and freshman Kelsie Hodges put the set away with three kills.
ASU jumped out to an early 13-6 lead in the second set, and NSU never got within six the rest of the way, for the 25-15 Red Wolves' win. Arkansas State cruised through set three, winning 25-17.
Arkansas State will be back in action Friday, Sept. 18 against Texas Southern and Texas-Arlington in the UT-Arlington Hilton Invitational in Arlington, Texas. ASU will take on TSU at 3:00 p.m. and UTA at 7:00 p.m
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