From the Sun Belt Conference
Arkansas State's Cayla Fielder and Megan Baska have been named the Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Player and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, as announced by the conference office on Monday.
The honor is the first of the season for Fielder and the second of her career. Baska has now racked up four Defensive Player of the Week honors to bring the total to five on the year for the Red Wolves.
Junior Cayla Fielder led the A-State squad to a 3-0 week in Sun Belt Conference action, taking wins over UALR, ULM and Louisiana-Lafayette. Fielder tied her career high of 22 kills for the third time this season in the Red Wolves' four-set win over UALR Tuesday and added another 30 on the weekend, totaling 52 for a 5.20 average last week. In ASU's three-set sweep over ULL, she hit for .500 and put up 17 kills. The Jonesboro, Ark., native also added 10 digs and six blocks this week, including four unassisted (two against each ULM and ULL). Fielder now owns a total of 326 kills on the year.
Freshman Megan Baska racked up another 51 digs to her credit as the Red Wolves went 3-0 last week in Sun Belt Conference action. She tallied 22 digs for a 5.50 average in ASU's 3-1 victory over UALR Tuesday. Over the weekend, she chalked up 13 digs in A-State's 3-0 sweep over ULM and another 16 when the Red Wolves topped Louisiana-Lafayette in three sets. The true freshman now sits seventh on the single-season digs chart with 548 so far this year. Baska also added five assists through the three matches.
The 2010 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship begins on Thursday, Nov. 18 and is hosted by Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Middle Tennessee became the SBC's East Division Champions for the first time since 2007 with a sweep over Western Kentucky on Friday to finish with a 15-1 conference record. With the win, the Blue Raiders clinched the No. 1 seed in the SBC Tournament.
After an Arkansas State win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, the Red Wolves captured a share of the the West Division title to become co-West Division Champions along with North Texas. ASU won more games head-to-head over North Texas and therefore earned the No. 4 seed. The seeds are as follows:
1. Middle Tennessee 15-1 (.938)
2. Western Kentucky 14-2 (.875)
3. FIU 12-4 (.758)
4. Arkansas State 11-5 (.688)
5. North Texas 11-5 (.688)
6. Denver 8-8 (.500)
7. Louisiana-Lafayette 7-9 (.438)
8. South Alabama 6-10 (.375)
The championship will be held November 18 through 20 on the campus of Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tenn. All games will be available for webstream on SBC Extra and fans can purchase a tournament pass for only $9.95 to tune-in. The championship match at 3 p.m. (CT) will also be broadcast by the Sun Belt Network (times subject to change due to television demands). SBC Extra Webstream
2010 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Championship Central
AROUND THE LEAGUE:
Western Kentucky is ranked No. 36, followed by Middle Tennessee at No. 40 in the most recent NCAA RPI standings. In the pseudo-RKPI poll, WKU is ranked No. 37 and MTSU is ranked No. 40. Both polls released Nov. 8.
Middle Tennessee became the Sun Belt's Regular Season Champions when the Blue Raiders defeated WKU Friday night. MT also earned the East Division title and the No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
With a win Saturday night over Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State grabbed a share of the West Division title. North Texas and ASU are Co-Champions of the West Division.
For the second consecutive week, a Sun Belt player was honored as a Global Player of the Week Special Mention by the American Volleyball Scouting Report. Troy's Natasha Kolunija received the honor this week and was also named AVSR's Global Player of the Week earlier this season. She led all Troy attackers this year in kills per set, total kills and hitting efficiency and placed second on the team in blocks.
In the latest NCAA rankings released Nov. 8, WKU and MT are ranked No. 5 and No. 10, respectively, in the nation in hitting percentage (WKU: 0.298; MT: 0.290). Individually, MT's Lindsey Cheatham is ranked No. 17 with a 0.395 hitting percentage, followed by WKU's Tiffany Elmore at No. 31 (0.375).
MT is No. 22 in kills per set with 14.13, followed by No. 31 WKU (13.94) and No. 36 North Texas (13.87). MT's Izabela Kozon leads the SBC in kills per set with 4.12 ranked No. 29 nationally, and also in points per set with 4.53 at No. 37.
Three SBC teams rank in the top 40 nationally in assists per set. MT is No. 31 (13.06), North Texas ranks No. 37 (13.0) and WKU is No. 39 (12.93). Kayla Saey ranked No. 25 and leads the league with 11.18, followed by FIU's Natalia Valentin at No. 31 (10.99).
Arkansas State's Megan Baska leads the conference in the national rankings for digs per set at No. 37 with 5.07. The freshman is followed by Louisiana-Lafayette's Lindsay Brown at No. 42 (5.01).