Oct. 27, 2004Megan Hoffman
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The 2004 Horizon League standings continue to shake out following the halfway point of the conference season.
Butler and UW-Milwaukee are tied for first place entering the week's action with identical 7-1 records after both won their lone League matches last week. Loyola, meanwhile, slipped a half-game back at 7-2 following a 3-1 upset loss at Youngstown State, which was winless in the conference prior to that victory.
Butler currently holds the tiebreaker over UWM with a 3-2 victory at Indianapolis earlier this season, but the teams will meet again Nov. 5 at Milwaukee. In fact, all three teams have to face each of the other two once more in the final three weeks of the regular season.
Loyola plays its final two home games this week before finishing with three on the road. Butler has four of its last six at home, while UW-Milwaukee has two road games this week and then ends with four straight at home.
Cleveland State and UIC are tied for fourth place at 4-5 but have reached that point in opposite ways. The Vikings have lost three of their last four matches, while the Flames have won back-to-back contests for the first time since the season's opening week. UW-Green Bay is one-half game behind in sixth place with a 3-5 mark.
Wright State and Youngstown State round out the standing in seventh and eighth place with respective records of 1-7 and 1-8.
Butler and UW-Milwaukee remained tied for first place in the Horizon League standings at 7-1 after both won their only conference match last week with sweeps of Wright State and UW-Green Bay, respectively. Butler's Kali Carter (4.83 kpg) and UWM's Karen Fruit (4.75 kpg) were the top two kill-producers during the week as both teams went 2-0 overall without dropping a game.
In the upset of the year so far in the Horizon League, last-place Youngstown State shocked co-leader Loyola 3-1 for the Penguins' first conference win of the season. Loyola (7-2) , meanwhile, was coming off a sweep of previously unbeaten Butler the prior weekend. YSU freshman Jessica Fraley was a perfect 8-for-8 in kills attempts in the fourth and deciding game.
Behind the play of Horizon League Player of the Week Megan Hoffman, UIC won its first away game of the season at Cleveland State Friday, ending a 13-match road losing streak. But the Flames weren't done as they then downed Youngstown State Saturday in five games for their first conference weekend sweep since Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2001, and their first on the road since Nov. 9-10, 2001.
Horizon League Player of the Week - Oct. 25
of UIC has been named the Horizon League Player of the Week for Oct. 25
Hoffman averaged 3.67 kills per game on .333 hitting plus 0.67 blocks as the Flames won a pair of League matches on the road that positioned them for an upper-division finish. She slammed 15 kills (15-3-33, .364) in a 3-1 victory at Cleveland State Friday and followed with a career-high 18 kills (18-6-39, .308) in a five-game marathon win at Youngstown State Saturday.
The wins were UIC's first on the road this season, snapping a 13-game losing streak, and marked the Flames' first Horizon League weekend sweep away from home since November 9-10, 2001.
UIC is now tied for fourth place after entering the week alone in sixth.Other Top Horizon League Performers - Oct. 25Nicole AmbergLoyola, Senior, Outside Hitter, Tulsa, Okla.
Amberg averaged 4.25 kills and 4.43 digs per game as Loyola split two Horizon League matches. She had 17 kills and 17 digs in a four-game loss at Youngstown State and then had 17 kills and 15 digs in a road win against Cleveland State. With her first digs versus the Penguins, she became the seventh player in school history with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career.Kali CarterButler, Senior, Outside Hitter, Columbus, Ind.
Carter powered Butler to a pair of sweeps, averaging 4.83 kills and 2.50 digs per game while hitting .324 (29-6-71). Against Wright State, she posted 12 kills, eight digs and four service aces, followed by 17 kills in a non-conference victory over North Dakota State.Jessica FraleyYoungstown State, Freshman, Opposite, LaGrange, Ohio
Fraley led Youngstown State to its first Horizon League win of the season, a 3-1 upset of first-place Loyola, averaging 3.89 kills and 3.00 digs per game. She had 19 kills and 16 digs versus Loyola and 16 kills and 11 digs against UIC. In the win over the Ramblers, she dominated the fourth and deciding game with eight kills on eight attempts.Karen FruitUW-Milwaukee, Senior, Outside Hitter, Viola, Wis.
Fruit averaged 4.75 kills and 3.50 digs per game in leading UW-Milwaukee to a pair of wins that kept the Panthers tied for first place. In a sweep of UW-Green Bay, she had a team-high 12 kills while adding 11 digs. She then powered the Panthers to a come-from-behind 3-2 non-conference win over Northern Colorado with 26 kills and 17 digs.Tara GeeganWright State, Freshman, Middle Hitter, Algonquin, Ill.
Geegan hit .378 with 2.71 kills and 1.14 blocks per game in three losses for Wright State during the week. She had a season-high 11 kills on .474 hitting (11-2-19) at IPFW and hit .385 (7-2-13) against Cincinnati.Jill SmitsUW-Green Bay, Junior, Middle Blocker, Waupun, Wis.
In a pair of losses, Smits averaged 4.33 kills and 1.17 blocks per game while hitting .407 (26-4-54). She totalled 13 kills against both UW-Milwaukee and Northern Colorado, including hitting .571 (13-1-21) versus the Bears.2004 Horizon League Players of the Week
Sept. 6 - Karen Fruit, UW-Milwaukee
Sept. 13 - Lauren Holbrook, Loyola
Sept. 20 - Jamie Bouyer, Cleveland State
Sept. 27 - Hilary Stromath, Loyola
Oct. 4 - Karen Fruit, UW-Milwaukee
Oct. 11 - Areal Bienemy, Butler
Oct. 18 - Nichol Amberg, Loyola / Karen Fruit, UW-Milwaukee
Oct. 25 - Megan Hoffman, UIC