Oct. 12, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina volleyball returns to action this weekend, traveling to the Palmetto State to take on Furman Friday and the Wofford Terriers on Saturday. Both matches are set to begin at 6:00 p.m. Subscription-based video is available for Friday evening's match up against the Paladins with live stats available for both matches.
WCU went 1-1 last week at home in the Ramsey Center, downing Appalachian State in five sets and falling to Davidson in three. The Catamounts posted a season-high 18 blocks against the Apps, while the team from Boone picked up 15 of their own. The combined 33 blocks is the most for a match featuring Western Carolina since 2001. Junior co-captain Morgan Cochran was named Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts in last week's matches. Cochran averaged 7.67 digs per set last week, including a career-high 35 digs against rival Appalachian State.
Furman went 3-0 last week - all against SoCon opponents - with a trio of seniors (Chandler Ambrester, Natalie Braun and Caroline Adams) combining for 111 kills, 77 digs, and 17 blocks against Wofford, College of Charleston and The Citadel. The win against CofC snapped the Cougars' 21-match home SoCon win streak. The Paladins are 15-5 overall, with a 4-2 SoCon record.
Ambrester, a senior outside hitter, was named SoCon Offensive Player of the Week last week. Ambrester recorded 44 kills and only 10 errors to average 4.40 kills per set (.330 attack percentage). She recorded double-digit kills in all three matches, including a 15 kill/18 dig performance in Furman's 3-1 win at College of Charleston.
Teammate Natalie Braun is second on the team in kills - just three behind Ambrester - and was named offensive player of the week for Sept. 4-10. Freshman setter Jo Wilks has been named Freshman of the Week four times this season including receiving the honor this week. Wilks averaged 13.3 assists per set last week and averages 12.23 assists per set for the year, good for fourth in the NCAA. Wilks has seven double-doubles for the year.
Senior middle blocker Caroline Adams hit .473 last week. Adams recorded 30 kills and only four errors in 10 sets.
Furman leads the conference in hitting percentage (.271), assists (13.65) and kills (14.39). Individually, setter Wilks leads the conference in assists (12.23) while Caroline Adams is second in hitting percentage (.378). Braun is third in the SoCon in two categories - kills and aces - averaging 3.87 kills per set and 0.36 aces per set.
The Catamounts and the Paladins have met 64 total times with Furman leading 36-28 in the series. Last season the two met twice, with Furman winning 3-1 in Cullowhee and then sweeping the Catamounts in the first round of the Southern Conference tournament last year in Birmingham.
Wofford comes into the match with a 10-8 overall record, but have only picked up one win in conference. The win came last week in a 3-1 victory over The Citadel. Wofford averages a hitting percentage of .211 while holding opponents to a .197 average. The Terriers have outblocked their opponents 127 to 102, averaging 1.8 blocks per set.
Amanda Liquori leads the Terriers offensively, averaging 2.75 kills per set. Rachel Woodlee trails Liquori by just six kills, averaging 2.63 k/s. Bekah Dorsey is the Wofford setter, averaging 6.90 assists per set.
Last season, WCU defeated Wofford in its only meeting, winning in Cullowhee, 3-2. Western Carolina leads the overall series 21-7.
Recaps and complete stats from both matches can be found at CatamountSports.com.