Release  Horizon League ·

Sept. 21, 2004

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Following an eventful pre-conference schedule, the 2004 Horizon League volleyball conference season commences this week with six league matches on the slate.

The first conference match is a rare Thursday affair as Wright State hosts Butler on Sept. 23. In one of the week's key matchups, defending Horizon League regular-season champion UW-Milwaukee will play at in-state rival UW-Green Bay, last year's conference tournament champion on Friday, Sept. 24.

Loyola, which is riding an eight-match winning streak, received nine points in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll, which is good for 37th place. It is the team's first listing in the poll since 2002. The Ramblers have the busiest week in the Horizon League with three matches, including a pair of home conference tilts this coming weekend.

Ramblers Rolling Entering League Play

Loyola enters the conference schedule as the Horizon League's hottest team, having won its last eight after opening the season 0-3. Highlighting the stretch was a thrilling five-game upset of #9 Illinois (30-25, 30-24, 26-30, 28-30, 15-13) Sept. 14. The Ramblers also have captured tournament titles each of the last two weekends at their own LaSalle Bank Chicago Challenge and the Jesuit Joust in Milwaukee. Five of Loyola's wins have been sweeps. The Ramblers are now 8-3 under first-year head coach Tim O'Brien, who was an assistant coach the last two years for the team.

Butler Picked to Win League Crown

The Butler volleyball team has been picked to win its first Horizon League championship since 1997 in preseason voting by the conference's eight head coaches. The Bulldogs received 45 points and four first-place votes to edge defending regular-season champion UW-Milwaukee by one point for the top spot. The Panthers garnered three of the remaining four first-place votes and 44 total points. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

Six All-League Honorees Back for '04

Six of the 12 members of the 2003 All-Horizon League Volleyball Team return this season to provide a formidable nucleus for success around the conference. Back for more in 2004 are Areal Bienemy and Kali Carter of Butler, Jamie Bouyer of Cleveland State, Karen Fruit of UW-Milwaukee, Lauren Holbrook of Loyola and Leslie Kuhn of UW-Green Bay. All are seniors.

Holbrook Doing It All for Loyola

Loyola setter Lauren Holbrook has enjoyed an outstanding start to her senior season. In addition to her team's success, she became the Ramblers' all-time assists leader Sept. 18 at Marquette with her 4,399th to break Julie McShane's 12-year-old school record. Holbrook has been named tournament most valuable player in leading Loyola to tourney titles each of the past two weeks. She leads the Horizon League with 12.55 assists per game and also averages 3.53 digs and 1.60 kills. Twice this season she has come within one kill of a triple-double.

Bulldogs Duo Double Trouble for Opponents

Butler seniors Kali Carter and Areal Bienemy form arguably the Horizon League's top one-two punch this fall. The returning all-conference picks are first and fourth, respectively, in the conference with 5.00 and 405 kills per game through the season's first three weeks. In fact, they have combined for 66 percent of the Bulldogs' kills, with Carter having 220 and Bienemy 178, compared to only 208 for the rest of the team.

Against Western Illinois Sept. 10, Carter recorded the first 30-30 game in Butler history with 32 kills and 30 digs. She also had 28 kills and 26 digs versus at Maryland Sept. 18.

Panthers' Fruit Juiced Again in 2004

After leading the Horizon League with 4.22 kills per game last season, UW-Milwaukee senior Karen Fruit has picked up where she left off to begin the 2004 campaign as she ranks second in the conference with 4.93 kills per game, including 30-kill performance in the Panthers' four-game win over Northern Illinois Sept. 3. That total ties for the second-highest single-match mark in UWM's Division I history. Fruit, an All-League pick in 2003, had 11 kills in the third game and 12 in the deciding fourth against the host Huskies. She has posted double digits in kills in 25 of UWM's last 26 matches dating to last season.

UW-Green Bay Position Moves Pay Off

After losing four starters from last season's Horizon League Tournament championship team, UW-Green Bay has regrouped with a decidedly new lineup this fall. Returning All-League setter Leslie Kuhn has moved to an outside hitter spot and is averaging 2.51 kills per game, while Jackie Rosen joined the starting unit after playing the libero spot a year ago and is averaging a team-high 3.59 kills. Meanwhile, true freshman setter Betty Slinger, last year's Ms. Volleyball in Minnesota as a prep, currently ranks seventh in the conference with 8.34 assists per game.

Balance the Key for Cleveland State

A balance of offense and defense has been the reason for Cleveland State's 6-2 start the season. The Vikings currently lead the Horizon League in both hitting percentage (.245) and opponent hitting percentage (.177) as well as in blocks (2.83 bpg). Cleveland State hit a school record with a .418 hitting percentage against Robert Morris Sept. 17. The Vikings' current five-match winning streak is their longest since a 10-match string in 2002.

Youngstown State Starts Strong

Looking to put last year's last-place Horizon League finish (10-19, 1-13) behind them, the Youngstown State Penguins already are on the verge of surpassing last year's win total with a 7-5 record so far this season. Freshman Jessica Fraley is the top freshman in the conference in both hitting percentage (.247, seventh) and kills per game (3.33, eighth).

Youthful Wright State Has Eye on the Future

Wright State has opened the season with a 2-10 record but that may not be entirely unexpected considering the Raiders' youthful roster. Of the 13 players on the team, six are sophomores and three are freshmen, which should provide hope for the rest of the year.


Loyola senior Nichol Amberg became just the ninth player in school history to record 1,000 career kills in the Ramblers' win over Boston College Sept. 18.

Youngstown State junior Angie Pasquinelli became the fifth player in YSU history to surpass 2,000 career assists in a five-game loss to Wofford Sept. 18.

Streaks at Stake

Several Horizon League teams will try to extend streaks this week, while others will try to end them. UW-Milwaukee has won 20 of the last 22 meetings with UW-Green Bay and the last six versus crosstown rival Marquette. Youngstown State makes the trip to Chicago this weekend looking to end an 0-26 string against Loyola and UIC in Chicago.

Horizon League Player of the Week - Sept. 20

Jamie Bouyer
Cleveland State
Middle Hitter
Bedford Heights, Ohio

Jamie Bouyer of Cleveland State has been selected the Horizon League Player of the Week for Sept. 20.

The senior middle hitter led the Vikings to a perfect 3-0 record, including the championship of the CSU Medical Mutual Invitational.

In a win over Robert Morris Sept. 17, Bouyer hit .538 (15-1-26) to help CSU set a school record with a team hitting percentage of .418.

Bouyer then hit .600 (14-2-20) in a win over IUPUI and had 21 kills in the tournament-clinching, five-game victory over Eastern Michigan.

She hit .483 (50-8-87) for the week with 4.17 kills, 1.92 blocks and 1.17 digs per game.

For the season, Bouyer leads the Horizon League in both hitting percentage (.408) and blocks (1.60).

Other Top Horizon League Performers - Sept. 20

Kali Carter
Butler, Senior, Outside Hitter, Columbus, Ind.

Carter averaged 4.73 kills and 4.53 digs per game en route to double-doubles in three of Butler's four matches during the week. Highlighting her performance was a 28-kill, 26-dig outing at defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Maryland.

Leanne Felsing
UW-Milwaukee, Freshman, Outside Hitter, Elm Grove, Wis.

Felsing, one of two freshmen in the starting lineup for UW-Milwaukee, averaged 2.30 kills and 2.80 digs per game in three matches last week. Her performance was highlighted by a double-double of 12 kills and 14 digs against SMU at the Hurricane Ivan Sugar Bowl Invitational.

Jessica Fraley
Youngstown State, Freshman, Opposited, LaGrange, Ohio

Fraley averaged 3.24 kills and 1.35 digs per game in five matches during the week for Youngstown State. Her top performance came against Columbia at the UMES Lady Hawk Invitational with 18 kills and 10 digs.

Lauren Holbrook
Loyola, Senior, Setter, Indianapolis, Ind.

Holbrook became Loyola's all-time assists leader with her 4,399th in helping the Ramblers extend their winning streak to eight with a 4-0 week. In an upset of #9 Illinois, she had 56 assists, 15 digs and seven kills as Loyola posted its first-ever win over a top-10 team. Holbrook also had 58 assists, 14 digs and nine kills against South Dakota State and 63 assists and 26 digs versus Boston College in winning the Jesuit Joust at Milwaukee in which she was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Sarah Rauen
UW-Green Bay, Sophomore, Libero, Stacy, Minn.

Rauen averaged 5.16 digs per game from her libero position in five matches for UW-Green Bay. That included 28 in five games in an upset win over DePaul and 27 in only four versus Dayton at the Westgate Rocket Classic.

Ambria Springer
UIC, Sophomore, Middle Hitter, Murfreesboro, Tenn..

Springer hit .316 in four matches for UIC during the week and had at least 12 kills in every match, averaging 2.79 kills per game. She also averaged 1.26 blocks per game with eight against Chicago State and 10 versus Jacksonville State at the Rebel Classic.

McKenzie Tiffin
Wright State, Senior, Outside Hitter, Jacksonville, Ill.

Tiffin averaged 2.94 kills and 3.31 digs per game in five matches for Wright State. She recorded a pair of double-doubles in the Raider Challenge, netting 14 kills and 13 digs against Bowling Green and 12 kills and 14 digs versus Wake Forest.

Previous Players of the Week:
Sept. 6 - Karen Fruit, UW-Milwaukee
Sept. 13 - Lauren Holbrook, Loyola

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