USA Volleyball Opens SBC Tournament On Thursday
The fifth seeded Jaguar women’s volleyball team will open postseason play on Thursday in Troy, Alabama when they take on the fourth seeded Texas-Arlington Mavericks in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Championships at 5pm on Thursday.
This is the first appearance by the Jags in the last three season and only one player of the roster has experience in playing in a conference championship event.
The Jags (14-14, 9-9 SBC) finished the season with a 7-2 record over their final nine conference matches and was second only to top seeded Western Kentucky during that span. After opening the conference schedule by going 0-5, they won 9 of their next 13 matches.
Mechell Daniel and Jessica Lewis have combined to earn eight SBC Freshmen of the Week honors this season with Daniel being named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week on November 11.
With 411 kills on the season, Daniel has set the record for most ever by a freshman at USA and ranks seventh all-time for a single season. Of her 14 double-doubles this season, 13 of them have come against Conference foes.
UT-Arlington holds a 2-1 advantage in the series. UTA won in Arlington earlier this season 3-0 but the Jags won their second meeting 3-1 in Mobile. They ended a five-match losing streak last weekend with a 3-1 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday and a 3-2 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday. During their losing streak they lost matches to Troy, USA, WKU, Georgia State and Texas State.
“I think it’s very good for our team to get the experience of playing in the Sun Belt tournament and I’m excited for our players,” Jaguar head coach Amy Hendrichovsky said. “It’s a special occasion and not everyone gets to go to the conference tournament. On the other hand, I feel we have a group of young ladies that have all been competing for championships before at other levels, so I don’t think that’s anything out of the ordinary for them. This is something that they are familiar with. We’re just going to try to focus on it like any other match.”
“We had a tough test at the net against Georgia State (on Sunday),” Hendrichovsky continued. “Like UTA, they have a very physical presence at the net. I think we have to keep the same type of mentality and approach that we have against any other team. Our game can’t change because of who’s on the other side of the net. We have to control our side. A lot of it will be on our first contact and how we handle that. I want our attackers to keep the same mentality that they’ve had. We’ve played many teams that have a physical presence on the other side of the net. We compete against ourselves every day in practice and we’re third in the conference (in league play) in blocking. So it’s not something we haven’t seen throughout the year.”
Live stats of the matches can be found on the Sun Belt Conference website by going here.