Women's Volleyball Heads to N.Y. This Weekend for Road Matches Against Siena and Marist

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (4-16, 2-6 MAAC) vs.
Siena Saint (9-10, 8-1 MAAC) / Marist Red Foxes (12-6, 6-2 MAAC)
Saturday-Sunday, October 19-20, 2013 – 1:00 PM
Alumni Recreation Center – Loudonville, N.Y. (Siena)
McCann Arena – Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (Marist)  

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Quinnipiac Game Notes

Back to Work
After nearly a full week off, the Quinnipiac women's volleyball team returns to action this weekend with road bouts against a couple MAAC powerhouses in Siena and Marist. Both opponents currently sit first and third, respectively, in the MAAC standings and show no signs of slowing down. The Bobcats are looking for their first victory in program history over both teams and will need to have their games rounded out if they hope to reach the conference tournament.

All-Time Record Against Siena
Winless in their first 10 attempts against the Saints, the Bobcats certainly have their work cut out for them playing at the eight-time MAAC Champions' home court. The Bobcats were able to take a set from Siena earlier this season as they ultimately fell to the Saints, 3-1, from Burt Kahn Court. In four all-time meetings on the road, the Bobcats have only won two sets off the Saints and will look to more than better that mark this weekend.

Scouting the Saints
The traditionally dominant Siena College squad finished last season 21-11 with a 14-4 mark in the conference. They advanced to the MAAC Championship Game for the ninth time in school history but failed to come away with the title, falling to Fairfield, for the first time in those nine chances. They suffered some key departures as Colleen Ahearn and back-to-back MAAC Libero of the Year Leslie Akeo both graduate. This season was a bit of a struggle in non-conference play but they've once again dominated their conference coming into Saturday's match with a 9-10 record and 8-1 mark in the MAAC. Despite their uneven records in and out of conference play, the Saints have certainly done their best to challenge themselves with out of conference matches against several national powerhouses including St. John's, Southern Illinois, Kansas State, Texas A & M, Florida State, Michigan and Binghamton. They had a stretch of nine straight set losses through the middle of September but since moving to conference opponents, the Saints have excelled with victories against Iona, Manhattan, Fairfield and Canisius. They're the only team in the MAAC to have beaten the second place Jaspers this season and their one loss came at home in a five set thriller to Marist. The Bobcats will need to have their sights set on a pair of Saint hitters in Taylor Akana and Jacqueline Skeen. Akana comes into Saturday with the third-highest kills per set average (3.58) in MAAC competition while Skeen has the third-highest hitting percentage (.331) of any player in the conference. Freshmen contribute at two key spots in the lineup for Siena as four-time MAAC Rookie of the Week winner Haley Howell is the team's main setter while Bobbi Lin Kalama leads the team on the defensive end as the libero. Howell comes in with the third-highest assists per set average (10.81) in the conference while Kalama just picked up her first Libero of the Week award after posting 27 digs in a match against Canisius earlier this season. If there is one flaw on this Saint team it would be their defensive ability as they come in with the third-lowest digs per set average total in the conference at 13.81 per set. The Bobcats will need to combine their serving prowess (second-best in the MAAC) and blocking ability (second in the MAAC) in hopes of defeating the renowned Saints.

All-Time Record Against Marist
These two sides have only met twice in their respective program's history which makes for a total unknown when asked to compare both sides. They last met back on Sept. 12, 2009, which ended as a 3-0 Marist sweep. Quinnipiac comes in with an 0-2 all-time record against the Red Foxes and will look to get off on the right foot this Sunday from McCann Arena.  

Scouting the Red Foxes
Marist has been somewhat of a revelation this season with a 12-6 record and 6-2 mark in the MAAC. Picked to finish outside of the playoffs in sixth place in the Preseason Coaches' Poll, the Red Foxes have surprised many around the league with their strong start to the year. Marist is looking to qualify for the MAAC Tournament for the first time since 2009 and enter the weekend ranked third in the standings behind only Siena and Manhattan. They've played especially strong of late as they come in winners in six of their last seven matches. Highlighting their recent run was an impressive 3-0 win at Canisius as well as a thrilling 3-2 five-set victory over Siena on the road. Their only loss came to the reigning MAAC Champion Fairfield as the Red Foxes fell 3-2 on the road. This marks the first meeting for these two squads and the Bobcats will absolutely need to watch out for the lethal Marist offense led by senior setter Audra Brady. She just won her first MAAC Player of the Week honor after posting two near triple-doubles this past weekend against Fairfield and Rider. Brady posted 8 kills, 52 assists and 10 digs against the Stags and followed with 9 kills, 46 assists and 12 digs against the Broncs. She leads the team and conference in assists (664) and headlines an offensive attack that comes in with the most kills per set (13.81) and assists (13.03) of any team in conference play. On the receiving end of a majority of Brady's setups is Mackenzie Stephens. The Preseason All-MAAC honoree leads the team with 215 kills and has blocked the most shots (62) on the team from her middle position. Lexi Millington (35 aces) is the team's strongest server while Brooke Zywick crossed the 1,000 dig milestone earlier this year and comes into the weekend with 326 digs to her name this season.

Last Time Out
The Bobcat offense hit a standstill over the weekend as they failed to record a set victory in a pair of 3-0 losses to Niagara and Canisius. Freshmen Jamie Paolucci (13 kills against Canisius) and Katie Urycki (10 kills against Niagara) were two bright spots for the team on the outside while freshman setter Emma Ogden (56 total assists) continued to distribute the ball well in defeat.

Hitting Her Stride
Freshman right side Jamie Paolucci put together one of her best all-around game of her young career on Sunday against Canisius as she tied her career high with 13 kills to go along with three digs and two blocks. She tied her career high set back on Oct. 5 against Rider and has gone into double digits for kills three times this season.

It's a Block Party!
For as much as the Bobcats' freshman middle hitter Allison Leigh does on the offensive end, it's her defense that has been the most impressive area of her game thus far in the season. She currently leads all MAAC players with a 1.27 blocks per set average and is one of only five players in the conference to post an average of at least 1.00 per set.

MAAC Blocks Per Set Leaders (minimum 1.00 blocks per set)

Rank Player School Year Blocks Per Set
1 Allison Leigh QU FR 1.27
2 Roxanne Hernandez CAN SR 1.15
3 Melissa McGwin NIA SO 1.13
4 Kaitlyn Griffin RID FR 1.08
5 Jacqueline Skeen SIENA JR 1.01

Killing Machine
The Bobcats' freshman outside hitter Katie Urycki smashed a career and game high 17 kills against Saint Peter's, the most for any Bobcat in a match this season. Urycki's monster performance represented the most kills for any Bobcat in a single match all season and the most for a Bobcat in a match since Nov. 10, 2010 (102 matches) when Taylor Payne went for 19 kills against Bryant. She backed up her offensive output with 11 digs, three service aces and two blocks for her second career double double.

Rookie Recognized
Quinnipiac's former MAAC Player of the Week, freshman setter Emma Ogden, was named MAAC Rookie of the Week on Tuesday. She completely in control over the weekend as she compiled a total of 83 assists (10.38 per set average), 19 digs (2.38 per set), nine blocks (1.12 per set) and two service aces in two Bobcat victories this past weekend. Ogden stepped in from the first match of the season and has continued to improve throughout the year. Her continued improvement has translated to the court as she has recorded at least 32 assists in six of her last seven matches.

Riding the Wave
Senior libero Logan Riker, already the program's all-time leader in digs, picked up a season-high 21 digs on Sunday against Saint Peter's for her second match with at least 20 assists this season. Riker compiled 20 digs just once all last season.

Bringing the House Down
Allison Leigh posted a single-game Quinnipiac Division I record (since 1998) with 13 blocks (3 solo, 10 assists) on Saturday against the Broncs. Her single-game block total was the most for any Quinnipiac player in the Division I era as her conference-leading total moves up to 83 on the season. She also helped nullify a potential MAAC Freshman of the Year candidate in Kaitlyn Griffin to just five kills, four errors and a .067 hitting percentage (came into Saturday hitting at .324 percent this season).

Sammy Says
Leigh and the Bobcats also got a massive lift from the play of other middle hitter, freshman Sam Alechko who finished with a career day across the board against Rider. Alechko went for eight kills against just one error for a team-high hitting percentage of .583. She also was a menace from the service line with three aces and added five blocks (2 solo, 3 assists), all of which represented career highs for the ever-improving middle hitter.

Getting Defensive
The Quinnipiac defense shut down the lethal Rider attack with 18 total blocks as a team including 13 (3 solo, 10 assists) for freshman Allison Leigh. Leigh's record-breaking day at the net included 12 kills for her first career double double.

Career High Combo
A couple more Bobcats posted career highs in victory over Rider as freshmen Emma Ogden (47 assists and 7 blocks) and Jamie Paolucci (13 kills) each went for individual career highs this past weekend.

Hitting on all Cylinders
This Quinnipiac offensive unit is rounding into shape as they went for 53 and 50 kills in their weekend matches against Rider and Saint Peter's. After not recording 50 kills in a match since 2011, this marks the first time the Bobcats have gone three straight matches with at least 50 kills since the 2005 season.

Setting the Stage                                                                                                                     
Much credit should go to the play of the Bobcats' freshman setter Emma Ogden, who posted the best game of her young career with a season and game-high 47 assists to go along with seven blocks, five digs, and one service ace against Rider. It marked the second match in which Ogden went over 40 assists and became the first Bobcat since Kayla Lawler on Oct. 30, 2011 (44 matches) to accomplish the feat.

Assisted Living
A huge key for the Bobcats this season has been the marked improved play from Ogden as she currently sports a total of 507 assists through 18 matches. She can also stake her claim in the records books as her 18 match total represents more assists for a single player through their first 18 career matches for any Bobcat in program history.

Serving up Aces
One of the strongest areas of the new Bobcat squad has been their imposing play at the service line. Quinnipiac dominated reigning MAAC Champion Fairfield from the service line at 13-2 for the match. The Bobcats enter Wednesday's match with 103 aces on the season for a 1.56 per set average. The number is good for third-best in MAAC competition while Tanner Celestin and Katie Urycki find themselves ranked in the Top-10 in per set average this season through five conference contests.

Ladies and Gentlemen…We Have a Winner
Freshman setter Emma Ogden became the first Bobcat to earn a weekly Player of the Week award in nearly three years, following Kayla Lawler's honor on Oct. 11, 2010. Ogden is also just the fourth Quinnipiac player to earn Player of the Week since the Bobcats became a Division I program in 1998, joining Lawler, Heather Wollyung and Shannon Dublin.

Going by the Numbers
Ogden was instrumental in the Bobcats' winningest stretch since the 2010 season as they picked up two victories in four games the Crosstown Tournament. Playing in all 14 sets for the Bobcats, she compiled 103 assists, 32 digs, five service aces and three kills. Included in her weekend totals was one double double against Morgan St., her second of the year. Ogden went for 29 assists and 14 digs to go along with two service aces as the Bobcats knocked off the Lady Bears. Earlier in the tournament, she posted 37 assists, seven digs and a career-high three service aces against St. Francis Brooklyn to help lift the Bobcats to their first win of the 2013 season.

It's All About the D
Quinnipiac's defense certainly came to play against Saint Peter's as Allison Leigh lifted the team with six blocks (two solo, four assists) and four Bobcats (Logan Riker 21, Emma Ogden 14, Brittanie Robinson 11, Katie Urycki 11) all chipped in at least 11 digs in the victory.

This Girl is on Fire
The most imposing force for the Bobcats in the middle this season has undoubtedly been freshman Allison Leigh. She leads the team with 134 kills to go along with a .200 hitting percentage but Leigh's most valuable role on this team has been her defensive ability. After just 18 matches, she currently ranks first in the MAAC with 83 total blocks (31 solo, 52 assists) and 1.26 blocks per set average.          

Master of Her Domain
After being granted a red-shirt season in 2011, senior libero Logan Riker is back for one more year with the Bobcats. Already the program's all-time leader in digs through her first three seasons, Riker has already posted a team-leading 250 digs to start the season.

Quinnipiac women's volleyball all-time career digs leaders

Rank Player Digs
1 Logan Riker, '13 1328
2 Kelby Carey, '11 1017
3 Heather Grutta, '02 918
4 Kayla Lawler, '11 819
5 Erin Overdevest, '09 814

Trend Setter
Freshman setter Emma Ogden was expected to see plenty of playing time in her first season but the immediate impact has been a pleasant surprise. Her all-around ability cannot be overstated as she has compiled 563 assists, 132 digs, 27 blocks, 23 kills and 21 service aces through the first 20 matches. Ogden has also played in all 72 sets thus far for the Bobcats.

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