Sept. 27, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. -
Western Carolina volleyball hosts conference and division rivals with the Elon Phoenix and the UNCG Spartans coming this weekend to the Ramsey Center. This weekends marks the first conference matches to be played in Cullowhee this season where the Catamounts are 3-1 this season. The match against Elon is set to begin Friday at 7:00 p.m. with Saturday's match to be played at 5:00 p.m.
WCU split in its conference opening matches this past weekend on the road against the defending Southern Conference champion Samford Bulldogs and the Chattanooga Lady Mocs, downing the Mocs in Chattanooga, 3-1, and being swept by Samford in Birmingham.
In that week, sophomore outside hitter Jordan Timmermann led the Catamounts in kills with 35 (3.50 k/s) and finished with 18 digs. Classmate Caitlin Piechota finished with 26 kills and 32 digs. Libero Morgan Cochran had her best week defensively picking up 65 digs for the Catamounts, averaging an impressive 6.50 digs per set. She matched her career-best 33 digs against Chattanooga.
Last week was also a solid week for freshman Nicole Ford. Ford finished third on the team in kills with 24 (2.40 k/s), hitting at a .222 clip. She also tied a team-best eight blocks and a team-high four aces.
Overall, the Catamounts are fourth in the Southern Conference in digs, averaging 16.40 digs per set. Many of those coming from libero Morgan Cochran who is third in the SoCon with 4.95 digs per set. The Catamounts as a team are 53rd in the country (out of 323 D-1 teams) in digs per set with 16.40
Historically, Western Carolina is 9-13 all-time against the Phoenix, splitting matches last season. WCU owns the all-time record against UNCG 23-15, splitting in 2012, but dropping its last match against the Spartans on Oct. 30.
All matches will feature live stats through the live stats link on the front page of CatamountSports.com. Both matches will be streamed through the Catamount All-Access page also found at CatamountSports.com.
Elon comes off its SoCon-opening week having dropped its first two conference matches to the College of Charleston (0-3) and UNCG (2-3). The two opponents that WCU and Elon have both played this season is Gardner-Webb and North Carolina A&T. Both SoCon teams swept their opponents in their respective meetings.
The Phoenix are 7-10 overall for the season with their other wins over Howard, Hampton, East Carolina, Radford and N.C. Central.
Elon has been outhit by its opponents .224 to .182 with its opponents hitting 11.9 kills per set while the Phoenix averages 11.4. Defensively, opponents are outdigging Elon 13.9 digs per set to 12.1 while also being outblocked 1.6 per set to 1.5.
Offensively, the Phoenix are led by freshman Megan Gravley who has 173 kills on the year (2.93 per set) with Kris Harris with the second-most number of kills, 125 (2.36 k/s).
Defensively, senior libero Ali Deatsch leads Elon in digs with 215, averaging 2.93 per set. Kris Harris leads in blocks with 37 while Celia Eddy is just behind her with 36 total blocks.
The Phoenix boast five seniors on their roster while also welcoming four freshmen to the 2012 team.
Historically, Elon leads the all-time record against WCU with a 9-13 record. Last season, the Catamounts split with the Phoenix, with WCU winning the last match in five sets.
UNCG is coming off its opening weekend of Southern Conference play with two wins, defeating Elon on the road before returning home to take down The Citadel. The Spartans needed five sets to take down both teams.
UNCG is 7-6 overall for the season with its other wins over N.C. Central, Liberty, Hampton, North Carolina A&T and UNC Wilmington. Both schools have played North Carolina A&T, Ohio and UNC Asheville with both records matched at 1-2. Both schools lost in five sets to UNC Asheville.
The Spartans' two liberos, junior Kellie Orewiler - the 2011 SoCon Libero of the Year, and freshman Katherine Santiago have combined for 426 total digs while averaging 3.36 and 3.98 digs per set, respectively. The Catamounts counter with Morgan Cochran - currently third in the league in digs per set with 4.95 - and defensive specialist Paige McConlogue who averages 3.15 every set.
Offensively, Karrian Chambers and Olivia Humphries leads the attack with 155 and 149 kills apiece. Chambers is also top three on the team in digs (third, 87) and aces (second, 12).
Vicky Harley leads the Spartans in blocks with 42 (0.86 blk/s).
Historically, WCU owns a 23-15 overall record against UNCG, having split its matches a season ago. The Catamounts swept the Spartans in their first meeting of the 2011 season in Greensboro snapping a 10-match losing streak to UNCG, but then fell in Cullowhee, 1-3, in their second meeting.
Cochran Enters Top-10 All-Time Digs Chart
Junior co-captain Morgan Cochran has entered the all-time digs chart with her digs over the past week, sitting at No. 8 all-time in digs with 1,173 entering this weekend's matches. The Lakeland, Fla., native has collected 459, 417 and 297 digs in her three seasons thus far with the Catamounts. Those numbers equate to 4.49 digs per set over her three year career. Her current pace puts Cochran second all-time in digs per set with 4.49. Liz Rondone (2006-09) sits atop the all-time digs and digs per set lists with 2,184 digs over her four-year span, averaging 5.02 d/s.
Catamounts, Cochran Among the Nation's Best in Digs
The most current NCAA statistics released Monday show Western Carolina 53rd in the country out of the 323 Division I schools in digs per set, averaging 16.40 d/s. Libero Morgan Cochran is 54th individually with 4.92 d/s. Cochran is currently second in the SoCon in that category.