Women's Volleyball Enters NEC Play This Weekend at Fairleigh Dickinson on Sat. and LIU Brooklyn on Sun.

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Quinnipiac University (1-8)
vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (4-9)
Saturday Sep. 22, 2012 – 1 p.m.
Stratis Arena – Teaneck, N.J. 

Quinnipiac University (1-8)
vs. LIU Brooklyn (6-7)
Sunday Sep. 23, 2012 – 1 p.m.
Wellness Center – Brooklyn, N.Y.

It All Starts Here

After three tournaments and nine non-conference games, the Bobcats are primed and ready for the start of Northeast Conference play this weekend as the women's volleyball team takes on Fairleigh Dickinson at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Hackensack, N.J. At its conclusion the team will take to the road again for a matchup against LIU Brooklyn on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Wellness Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Last One

The Bobcats took part in the Bucknell Invitational between Friday and Saturday Sep. 14-15. Quinnipiac came away with their first victory of the season against Providence on Friday with a thrilling 3-2 victory and came away with two players named to the All-Tournament Team in sophomore setter Brittanie Robinson and freshman outside hitter Chandler Thornton.

All-Time Against the Field

The Bobcats hold a 4-16 all-time record against Fairleigh Dickinson with their last win coming off a 3-2 victory in Hamden on Oct. 24, 2010. Quinnipiac hasn't won in Hackensack since 2000 but their last five matches on the road have all gone at least four sets. Going into their matchup with LIU Brooklyn, the Bobcats have a 6-13 all-time mark against the Blackbirds. Their last win came in Brooklyn on Oct. 17, 2010 when the Bobcats claimed a 3-1 victory.

Scouting the Knights

Quinnipiac takes on Fairleigh Dickinson, who currently stands fourth in the NEC standings, holding a 4-9 record. The Bobcats will have their hands full with the most dominant offensive player in the NEC, senior outside hitter Meaghan Wheeler. She has amassed the most kills of any player in the conference (233), averages nearly one more kill than any NEC player per game (4.40), leads the team in digs with 187 and her 0.36 service aces per game average puts her eighth among NEC competition. Her 233 kills represent (42.5% of the total kills for the Knights on the season. She is supported by freshman middle hitter Maggie Gibbons (75 kills, 14 solo blocks, 49 total blocks) and freshman middle blocker/outside hitter Jordon Collis who has the second most kills (117) for the Knights. Freshman setter Allison Butler has done well distributing the ball in her first with as she has compiled the second most assists of any player in the NEC with 429.

Scouting the Blackbirds

LIU Brooklyn enters the weekend with a 6-7 overall record, sitting sit atop the NEC standings. They lead the conference in several statistical categories including hitting percentage (.198), opponent hitting percentage (.178), assists per game (11.63), kills per game (12.41), and blocks per game (2.15). The Blackbirds feature several individual standouts including four players with at least 90 kills. Senior middle blocker Ashley Rice enters the weekend with 101 kills, holds the second best kill percentage of any NEC player (.314), and is the only player in the NEC to average more than one block per game (1.16). A pair of underclassmen outside hitters in sophomore Annika Foit and freshman Tamara Ignjic top the Blackbird's kills list with 188 and 136 respectively. Foit ranks third in the NEC, averaging 3.69 kills per game and tied for fourth with .41 service aces per game. Another sophomore sensation has been setter Vera Djuric who has compiled 100 more assists than the next closest NEC player with 507 and she tops the average assists per game category with 9.94.

Victory At Last

Quinnipiac entered the Bucknell Invitational with a 0-6 record heading into their first game of the tournament against Providence. After losing the first set 15-25, the Bobcats stormed back with a 25-20 and 25-21 set victories in the second and third. The Friars tied the score with a 22-25 fourth set win and held a 9-11 lead in the fifth before senior Taylor Payne took over with two kills and two blocks late to help seal a 15-12 victory and clinch the Bobcat's first win of the season.

Triple Threat

Three Bobcat players achieved double-doubles in Friday's win over Providence. Sophomore setter Brittanie Robinson recorded 37 assists and 13 digs, freshman outside hitter Chandler Thornton had a team-high 13 kills and 13 digs, and senior middle hitter Taylor Payne's game-winning kill gave her 10 for the game to go along with 11 digs.

Pure Genius

Since head coach Kristopher Czaplinski moved sophomore Brittanie Robinson from outside hitter to the setter position the team seen a marked improvement. Coming into the season with 13 career assists, Robinson has proven to one of the team's most dynamic players as she continues to rack up kills and stuff blocks, but has also shown the ability to distribute the ball effectively. Her monster game against Providence (37 assists, 13 digs, five kills, and four blocks) helped lead the Bobcats to their first win of the season. The assist total is the highest by a Quinnipiac player since the program's all-time assist leader Kayla Lawler had 41 in a five-set loss to Central Conn. St. on Oct. 30. 2011. Her standout numbers for the three-game tournament included 79 assists, 16 digs, 12 kills, seven blocks, and two service aces. She was named to the Bucknell Invitational All-Tournament Team for her efforts.

Freshman Sensation

Outside hitter Chandler Thornton was named to her first career All-Tournament Team following the conclusion of the Bucknell Invitational. She entered the weekend with 19 digs in the team's first six games and finished the tournament with 30 in three games. For the tournament, the freshman totaled 21 kills and 30 digs.

Celestin Surging Up Leaderboard

The Bobcat's sophomore right side Tanner Celestin has been on a tear of late, leading the team in kills over the past six matches with 27, and bringing her team-leading total to 46 for the season.

Double Digits Digs

Junior captain libero Logan Riker recorded her fourth and fifth double-digit dig outings of the season last time out for the Bobcats as she had 20 against Providence on Sep. 14 and 10 against Fordham on Sep. 15. The three-game total gives her 90 on the season and 966 for her career as she nears Kelby Carey's program-record 1,017 digs.

On Deck

After 11 games and a little over one month into the season, Quinnipiac finally holds their home opener. They will take on Northeast Conference foe St. Francis (Pa.) on Saturday Sep. 29 at 1 p.m. and follow with Robert Morris on Sunday Sep. 30 also at 1 p.m. Fans can find scores, stats and game recaps at the official Athletics Website of Quinnipiac University at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.

 Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu