Volleyball Opens 2011 At Loyola Marymount Invitational Friday

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2011 Loyola Marymount Invitational
Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0) vs.
UCLA Bruins (0-0)
Friday, Aug. 26, 2010 – 4 p.m. (PT)/7 p.m. (ET)
Gersten Pavilion – Los Angeles, Calif. 

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0) at
Loyola Marymount University Lions (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 27 – 10 a.m. (PT)/1 p.m. (ET)
Gersten Pavilion – Los Angeles, Calif. 

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0) vs.
Cal State Fullerton Titans (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 27 – 5 p.m. (PT)/8 p.m. (ET)
Gersten Pavilion – Los Angeles, Calif. 

Bobcats Open 2011 At Loyola Marymount Invitational
The Quinnipiac University volleyball team opens the 2011 season Friday when it travels to Los Angeles, Calif., to take part in the Loyola Marymount Invitational. Also taking part in the tournament, in addition to the Lions and Bobcats, are UCLA and Cal St. Fullerton. 

Follow the Bobcats
Quinnipiac fans can follow this weekend’s action via live video from www.lmulions.com, the official athletics website of Loyola Marymount University. 

Who’s Back For The Bobcats
Quinnipiac returns a solid core of players from last year’s team, including senior setter Kayla Lawler, who led the Bobcats at 8.86 assists and 0.47 service aces per set last season. Junior libero Logan Riker leads the way for the Quinnipiac defense, having averaged 4.19 digs per set last season. Kelby Carey is the Bobcats top returning hitter at 2.15 kills per set, while Olivia Grattan (0.61 b/s) and Taylor Payne (0.60 b/s) comprise a formidable blocking duo.  Tracy Wright proved herself as a valuable defensive weapon, averaging 2.71 digs per set as a freshman, while fellow first-year player Ashley Kopacki contributed 0.28 service aces per set.   

Milestone Moments Approaching
Three Bobcats are approaching statistical milestones this season. Kelby Carey is well within striking distance of both 1,000 kills and digs, while Logan Riker will likely reach 1,000 digs this season. Kayla Lawler is also within range of 3,000 career assists.  

Scouting the UCLA Bruins
The Bruins are ranked 11th nationally in the preseason AVCA poll after reaching the NCAA Tournament Second Round with a 22-9 record last season. UCLA, which has won 12 straight season openers, is led by Rachael Kidder, whose 3.47 kills per set of a year ago lead all returning Bruins. Senior setter Lauren Van Orden also returns after dishing out 11.67 assists per set in 2010. She also averaged a team-best 0.25 service aces per set. Senior middle blocker Katie Camp’s 1.14 blocks per set and senior libero Lainey Gera’s 4.92 digs per set lead the UCLA defense.  

Scouting the Loyola Marymount Lions
The Lions (15-15 in 2010) are led by Jasmine Rankins’ 3.79 kills and 0.45 service aces per set of a year ago. Setter Olivia Bailey dished out 10.19 assists per set a year ago, while libero Lauren DeGrandmont’s 2.89 digs per set led the team. While the Lions lose their top two blockers from last year, Kenna Crouse (0.66) and Alyse Hensley (0.55) lead the Lions’ returners. 

Scouting the Cal State Fullerton Titans
The defending Big West Champion Titans (26-6 in 2010) must find a way to replace league player of the year Erin Saddler and the school’s all-time digs leader, Cami Croteau. Torrie Brown is the Titans’ top returning hitter at 3.14 kills per set, while Andrea Ragan is the top returner in both assists per set (11.77) and digs per set (2.36). Ayana Whitaker’s 0.78 blocks per set were a team best in 2010.    

Aces Up
The Bobcats finished 2010 ranked 15th in the nation in service aces per set (1.71). Individually, Kayla Lawler ranked 14th nationally at 0.47 per set. 

Dig It
Led by Logan Riker’s 4.19 digs per set, the Bobcats ranked 113th in the nation at 15.46 digs per set last season.    

Brave New Accomplishment
Kayla Lawler became the first Quinnipiac player in nearly nine years to win NEC Player of the Week, Oct. 11, 2010, after leading the Bobcats to a weekend sweep of Robert Morris and Saint Francis (Pa.). Lawler compiled a pair of double-doubles and six service aces on the weekend. The last time a Quinnipiac player won the award, QU’s mascot was the Braves. Heather Wollyung last won the award on Oct. 15, 2001, the last of her four honors. Shannon Dublin also won the award once, making Lawler the third in QU history to be honored.   

Ashley’s Aces
Freshman Ashley Kopacki compiled a season-high six service aces against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Oct. 10, 2010. Her previous season high was three.  

On Deck
The Bobcats take part in the Maryland Invitational next weekend. They’ll face Xavier on Friday, Sept. 2, at 4:30 p.m., before taking on host Maryland and VCU at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., respectively, on Saturday, Sept. 3.