Red Wolves Volleyball wraps up regular season this weekend


North Texas Friday, Nov. 13 7:00 p.m.

Denver Saturday, Nov. 14 7:00 p.m.

SERVING IT UP: Arkansas State will host North Texas and Denver to wrap up its regular season Sun Belt Conference schedule. ASU will face the Mean Green Friday, Nov. 13 and the Pioneers Saturday, Nov. 14. Both matches will be held at Jonesboro High School and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

THE TEAMS: ASU will enter its final weekend of the regular season at 20-10 overall and 10-6 in conference action. The Red Wolves topped UALR for the second time this season 3-1 in their only match last week.

North Texas will come into the weekend off of a 3-0 sweep over Louisiana-Lafayette Monday night in Denton. The Mean Green will close the regular season at ASU Friday night and at UALR Saturday. The team stands at 11-18 overall and 7-8 in SBC matches.

Denver currently leads the SBC West Division standings at 11-5 in conference matches and 16-14 overall. The Pioneers topped New Orleans 3-1 and swept both Lousiana-Lafayette and ULM in Denver last week. DU will meet UALR in Little Rock Friday night before facing the Red Wolves Saturday.

The North Texas Series: Arkansas State took the series lead 13-12 when the Red Wolves defeated the Mean Green 3-2 earlier this season. Last season, the teams split a pair of matches, each winning on the road. The Mean Green topped ASU 3-1 in

Jonesboro before the Red Wolves swept NT

3-0 in Denton.

THE Denver SERIES: Denver holds an

11-4 advantage in the all-time series against Arkansas State. The Pioneers took the first matchup between the teams this season 3-1 in Denver. DU claimed both matches during the 2008 season, winning 3-1 in Jonesboro and 3-0 in Denver.

Senior Night: The senior Red Wolves players will be honored following Saturday's match against Denver. Heather Bowman, Mandy DeWalt and Erin Neeley will be recognized for their efforts during their time at Arkansas State.

Bowman Garners Fourth SBC Defensive Player of the Week Honor: JONESBORO, Ark. (11/2/09) - Arkansas State senior libero Heather Bowman garnered her fourth Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week accolade of the season after notching 80 digs in three matches as the Red Wolves posted a 2-1 record last week.

Bowman surpassed her career-high for the fourth time this season with a 36-dig performance in ASU's five-set victory over UALR Tuesday night. She averaged 7.20 digs per set and notched two service aces against the Trojans.

She went on to put up 24 digs against Denver Friday night and 20 digs in ASU's second five-set win of the week at North Texas Sunday afternoon. She also added five assists on the week.

The Fort Smith native has moved into fifth place on the ASU chart for single-season digs with 593 so far this season. She leads the league in digs per set and ranks fifth nationally with a 5.59 average.

five-Set Wins: The last time ASU won two five-set matches within one week was during the 2004 season, when Arkansas State topped New Orleans Saturday, Oct. 15 in five sets and UT-Martin the next Tuesday, Oct. 18 in five sets as well. Prior to the Red Wolves' five-set wins over UALR Oct. 27 and North Texas Nov. 1, ASU had never won two five-set conference matches within a week of each other.

Double Trouble: Three Red Wolves posted double-doubles in ASU's five-set victory over UALR Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the ASU Convocation Center.

Freshman Brittany Hoag led the team with 19 kills and added 11 digs. Freshman Taylor Coughlin posted 16 kills and 17 digs, while senior Mandy DeWalt notched 15 kills and 13 digs.

Climbing The Charts: Three Red Wolves are climbing charts in the ASU record book so far this season. Junior setter Laura Bennett currently ranks fifth on the ASU career assists chart with 2,598 assists. Bennett has 1,188 assists on the season so far. Senior Erin Neeley has moved into third on the ASU career digs chart with 1,478 overall and 155 so far this season. Senior Heather Bowman's 619 digs so far this season rank fifth-best for a single season in ASU history.

Bowman Earns Third SBC Defensive Player of The Week Award: JONESBORO, Ark. (10/19/09) - For the third time this season, Arkansas State senior libero Heather Bowman was named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week Monday, Oct. 19 as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches.

"Heather has been very consistent in providing what we need defensively, and on top of that, she is a tremendous serve receiver for us," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "She deserves credit for doing great things."

Bowman notched 74 digs to lead the Red Wolves' defensive effort as they went 2-1 in SBC action last weekend, topping Louisiana-Lafayette and ULM at the ASU Convocation Center. She posted a weekend-high of 31 digs in ASU's five-set loss to New Orleans Saturday and added four service aces in ASU's 3-0 victory over the Warhawks Sunday afternoon.

The Fort Smith native averaged 6.17 digs per set in the three matches last weekend and currently leads the league in that category, averaging 5.67 on the year and 5.32 against SBC opponents. Bowman's 5.67 average also ranks seventh in the NCAA.

UTA HALTS ASU'S TEN-MATCH WIN STREAK: ASU's ten-match win streak came to an end after the Red Wolves fell to tournament host UT-Arlington 3-2 Sept. 18 at the UT-Arlington Hilton Invitational. A-State dropped to 10-4 on the season after suffering losses to UTA, Tulsa and Texas Christian at the tournament.

Bowman Earns Second Consecutive SBC Defensive Player of the Week Honors: JONESBORO, Ark. (9/21/09) – Arkansas State senior libero Heather Bowman was named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week Monday, as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches.

Bowman earned her third straight all-tournament honor last weekend at the UT-Arlington Hilton Invitational. She was named "Libero of the Tournament" and tallied a team-high 94 digs on the weekend, averaging 6.27 digs per set.

She surpassed her career-high for a third time this season with 35 digs against UT-Arlington Friday night. Bowman led the Red Wolves in all four matches on the weekend, posting 31 digs against Texas Christian and 14 digs against both Texas Southern and Tulsa. She also added five assists and four service aces on the weekend.

Bowman continues to lead the league with her 286 total digs and has helped the Red Wolves top the conference in the same statistical category. Behind Bowman's 5.96 digs per set, the Red Wolves have registered 783 digs so far this season, for their conference-best 15.66 per set average.

Bowman and the Red Wolves will begin Sun Belt Conference play Thursday, Sept. 24 when they travel to New Orleans for a 7:00 p.m. contest against the Lady Privateers.

19-SET STREAK ENDS: The Red Wolves' 19-set win streak came to an end 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.

Sophomore Charlyn Ursell became the fourth Red Wolf to earn all-tournament honors this year. At the UT-Arlington Hilton Invitational, Ursell led the Red Wolves on the weekend with 51 kills, averaging 3.40 kills per set.

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 at the Memphis Invitational.

Freshman Taylor Coughlin led the Red Wolves in their first weekend of SBC play in Jonesboro with a total of 24 kills against South Alabama and Troy. Coughlin also posted 18 digs, a service ace and an assist in the two 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. The Kansas City native also surpassed her career-high with 62 assists in ASU's 3-1 win over UALR Nov. 6 in Little Rock.

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 libero Heather Bowman surpassed her career-high for the fourth time this season, posting 36 digs in ASU's five-set win over UALR Oct. 27 in Jonesboro.

Fielder and Bowman both surpassed their career-highs in service aces in ASU's 3-0 victory over ULM. Fielder notched four service aces, while Bowman tallied five. As a team, the Red Wolves tied their season-high with 14 service aces in the match. The team posted 14 earlier this season against Texas Southern at the UT-Arlington Hilton Invitational.

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.

Red Wolves Volleyball Tops UALR 3-1 in Final SBC Road Match:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (11/6/09) - The Arkansas State Red Wolves (20-10, 10-6) topped in-state Sun Belt Conference rival UALR (14-13, 8-8) for the second time this season, winning in four sets (25-13, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20) Friday night in Little Rock.

"I thought we came out on fire," said ASU head coach Justin Ingram. "We were hitting .424 and .417 in the first couple of sets, and that is pretty hard to do offensively. (Laura) Bennett had 62 assists and did a great job distributing our offense tonight. We knew UALR was going to fight hard, but we had to sustain that high level of play throughout the match. We did just that, and overall our offense was tremendous tonight."

ASU rolled past UALR 25-13 in the first set and took set two 25-17. The Trojans fired back to win the third set 25-23 on three consecutive kills.

The Red Wolves bounced back in set four, jumping out to an early 8-3 lead before UALR rallied to tie the set 18-18. ASU scored four consecutive points on two kills from sophomore Cayla Fielder and two Trojan attacking errors, and the Red Wolves went on to take the match with a 25-20 win.

Freshman Brittany Hoag led the team with a career-high 23 kills, while Fielder added 17 and a .519 hitting percentage on the night. Junior setter Laura Bennett notched a career-high 62 assists in the match, averaging 15.5 assists per set.

Senior libero Heather Bowman led the defensive effort with 26 digs, while sophomore Charlyn Ursell and freshman Kelsie Hodges each put up two blocks.

ASU will wrap up the regular season Nov. 13 and 14 when they host Denver and North Texas. Both matches will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held at Jonesboro High School.

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