Volleyball Concludes 2012 Season With Two Road Matches
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake (5-22, 4-12 MVC) volleyball team will conclude the 2012 season with a pair of road matches, first against Missouri State (15-13, 9-7 MVC) on Friday, Nov. 16 and against Wichita State (19-7, 12-4 MVC) the following night. The Missouri State match will be broadcast live on Mediacom, Channel 22 and the Wichita State match will be available for free to subscribers of Drake's True Blue TV package. Both matches will start at 7 p.m. and live stats will be available at www.godrakebulldogs.com.
The Bears are fighting for seeding at the 2012 MVC Championships that they will host next week. Missouri State can finish as the fourth, fifth or sixth seed for the tournament. The Bears rank second in the Valley in kills per set (14.05) and assists per set (13.23). Junior outside hitter Christine McCartney paces the Bears with 305 kills and a 2.90 kills per set average.
The Shockers can clinch the number three seed at the MVC Championships with a win over Creighton Friday night or a win over the Bulldogs. Junior setter Chelsea Feekin has the top hitting percentage in the MVC at .443 and is fifth in assists per set at 9.85. Senior outside hitter Emily Adney leads WSU with 319 kills and is seventh in the conference in kill per set at 3.16.
The Bulldogs split their home matches this past weekend. Illinois State beat Drake in three sets Friday night but the team bounced back to beat Indiana State in four sets Saturday night. The win over the Sycamores was the first Senior Night win for Drake since they defeated Southern Illinois, 3-2, on November 14, 2009.
A pair of seniors, outside hitter Bentley Mancini (Burnsville, Minn.) and outside hitter/defensive specialist Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) were honored before the Indiana State match. Mancini suffered a torn ACL against Bradley earlier this month and will miss the rest of the season. Tramosljanin has started every match this fall for the Bulldogs. Mancini and Tramosljanin are one and two on the team in kills this season with 236 and 219, respectively.
A left-handed hitter, Mancini had started every match before the knee injury and recorded double-figure kills in 12 matches for the Blue and White this year. Her season-high of 18 kills against Bradley on Oct. 5 tied her career-high and are the most by a Bulldog in a match this fall. The Minnesota native is a senior captain and ends her career with 524 kills. In her final match for Drake she finished with 17 kills, a .306 hitting percentage, five block assists and one dig. A two-time letterwinner, Mancini still leads the Bulldogs with 236 kills, a 2.65 kills per set average and is third in points with 260.5. Her kills per set average ranks 16th in the conference.
Tramosljanin leads the team with 13 double-doubles this season and narrowly missed another last weekend against Illinois State as she finished with nine kills and 10 digs. Tramosljanin transferred to Drake from Wyoming prior to the 2011 season. Tramosljanin has 361 kills and 1,193 digs in her career between the two schools. Tramosljanin is 11th in the Valley in digs per set at 3.79.
Sarah Madden (Van Meter, Iowa) has started every match at the libero position this fall for the Bulldogs tallying 569 digs. In the second match against North Dakota State this season, she finished with a school record 45 digs, which were one short of tying the MVC match record. Madden, a redshirt junior leads the conference in digs per set at 5.93 and her average ranks eighth in the country. In just her second season at Drake, she is fifth all-time in school history with 996 digs. Madden was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the period of Oct. 15-21.The defensive award is the first for Madden and the first for a Drake volleyball student-athlete since Alana Wittenburg won it in 2010.
The Bulldogs are one of the top serving teams in the Missouri Valley Conference averaging 1.11 service aces per set. Drake recorded a season-high 11 aces in the Indiana State win earlier this fall. Tramosljanin has 37 aces and a 0.38 service aces per set average, which ranks first in the MVC and 44th in the nation. Tramosljanin had a career-high six service aces against UNI earlier this fall. Madden ranks 13th in the MVC at 0.23 per set.
After Drake lost starting middle blockers, Emily Heffernen and Michelle Reidy, to graduation from the 2011 team, Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.) and Katie Dulek (Lenexa, Kan.) were inserted into the middle positions at the start of the year and both have produced in their first collegiate seasons for the Bulldogs. Effken leads the team in block solos (26), block assists (78), points (286.0) and is third in kills (219). Effken is seventh in the MVC in blocks per set at 1.08 and earned all-tournament honors at the first tournament of the season in Green Bay. Dulek is second in block assists (65) and fifth in kills (130) and points (169.5) on the team and earned all-tournament honors at the InnTowner tournament earlier this fall.
Four Bulldogs have 200 or more kills this fall led by Mancini with 236 kills followed by Tramosljanin (219), Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) (219) and Effken (214). Drake had a season-high five players with double figure kills in the win over Bradley earlier this fall led by Mancini's 18, which tied her career-high. Effken (16), Platte (14), Tramosljanin (12) and Dulek (11) rounded out the five that night with Effken and Dulek each setting new career-highs in kills.
Sophomore setter Halli Meyer (Bettendorf, Iowa) dished out a career-high 40 assists in the win over Bradley. Meyer has five double-doubles and has posted double figure assists in every match but two this fall. Meyer has tallied 503 assists this season, which leads the team. Meyer ranks 10th in the Valley with a 5.29 assists per set average. Freshman Rebecca Brown (Bentonville, Ark.) tied her career-best with 24 assists in the Bradley win, and has seen action in every match while recording 412 assists.
Platte has 219 kills this season and a 2.33 kills per set average, which ranks 25th in the MVC. She tallied a career-best 16 against the UNI Panthers at the Knapp Center. She has started the last 18 matches at the outside hitter position. Shelby Daum (Battle Creek, Neb.) has recovered from an injury early in the season and earned more playing time at the hitter position in her first year. Daum, a left-hander, came off the bench in the first SIU match and had four kills in nine attempts with no errors. Defensive specialist/outside hitter Scarlett Howerter (Lincoln, Neb.) has appeared in every match for the Bulldogs to steadily improve in her first year.
The 3-0 win over Evansville (25-21, 25-20, and 25-22) was the first sweep for Drake since they beat Southern Illinois, 3-0, on September 18, 2010. This season the Bulldogs have one sweep, two four-set wins and two five-set wins.
READY FOR ACTION
Drake has five players (Dulek, Effken, Meyer, Tramosljanin and Madden) who have started every match for the Blue and White this fall.
ALL HANDS ON DECK
Eleven of the 12 student-athletes on this season's roster have seen match action. Drake has one of the youngest rosters in the nation with two seniors, one redshirt junior, three sophomores and six freshmen.
2012 LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
This season the Bulldogs have a leadership council with Bentley Mancini as the designated senior class member, Sarah Madden as the junior class member, Halli Meyer as the sophomore class member and Cassie Effken representing the freshman class.
Drake head coach Tony Sunga is in his second season leading the program. Sunga is a 1988 Drake graduate, who previously served as a Drake assistant under former coach Amy Farber Knowles from 2005-07. Sunga was hired from Wyoming, where he was an assistant coach for three seasons and was responsible for recruiting, defensive scouting and match preparation for the Cowgirl program.
Sunga helped transform Wyoming into a contender in the Mountain West Conference. The Cowgirls improved from five wins during his first year to 22 wins - the most since the 1989 squad made a run to the NCAA Elite Eight. In addition, Sunga spearheaded the recruitment of Winterset, Iowa product Jodi Purdy, who earned 2010 MWC All-Conference honors and was named the 2009 MWC Freshman of the Year. In his first season at Drake, his team was named a 2011-12 AVCA Team Academic Award recipient.
Sunga is assisted by Erin Hirsch and Rob Batzler. Hirsch is in her sixth season as a Drake assistant coach and played at the University of Northern Iowa. Batzler is in his first season as an assistant coach after serving as a volunteer coach in 2011.