After calling for new names for our fall sports blogs, we got several good suggestions, but we here in Macon at the conference office have decided on renaming Digs & Kills to VolleyBlog. Congratulations are in order for Kirt Barnes who submitted the name. He will receive an A-Sun apparel prize package. Now onto the week that was and what's upcoming in A-Sun volleyball.
Battle of the Boulevard in the Non-conference??
Strange as it may sound, Belmont and Lipscomb will meet in a non-conference contest at 5:00 p.m. local time (on ASun.TV). The Bruins and Lady Bisons have traded the A-Sun Championship title over the past four seasons with Belmont owning the even years, 2006 & 2008 and Lipscomb winning claiming crowns in 2007 and last year. These two Nashville programs, along with FGCU have dominated the conference combining to go 122-15 against the rest of the conference since the start of 2006 (FGCU joined in 2007).
More A-Sun Foes Meeting Outside League Play
At this weekend's Wofford College Invitational, USC Upstate and Stetson will meet outside of league play. Later this month, FGCU will travel to Nashville to face both Belmont and Lipscomb in non-conference play and Jacksonville will head south to DeLand to oppose Stetson. On October 19, River City Rivals Jacksonville and UNF will meet at Swisher Gymnasium.
A-Sun on the National Scene
The NCAA released its first set of statistics on Tuesday with several A-Sun teams and individuals appearing among the nation's best. Three individuals, Lipscomb's Alex Kelly, Kennesaw State's Sabrita Gulley and UNF's Paige Pridgeon, rank among the top 40 in kills per set with Kelly pacing the A-Sun representation at 16th. She ranks 12th in kills per set, the highest A-Sun individual ranking in any statistic. Preseason Player of the Year Stefine "Jake" Pease ranks 17th in assists per set; ETSU's Alysa Long places 38th in blocks per set and Belmont's Kayla Albritton stands 50th in assists per set. Among teams, the Lady Bisons rank in the top 50 in digs per set (31st), assists per set (37th), win percentage (tied for 46th) and kills per set (47th). Belmont ranks 31st in aces per set and if they were included in the stats, USC Upstate would find itself 42nd in digs per set.
Dolphins Embark on Tour de Florida
Beginning this past Friday, Jacksonville began a stretch of its schedule where it will face nine in-state opponents among its next 10 days. The Dolphins started its run towards "the state title" with wins against FAU and UCF at the Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic. This weekend they have a rematch with FAU then face the hosting USF Bulls to conclude the Hilton Garden Inn Tournament. Games against Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, FGCU and two with Stetson make the remainder of the Florida Swing.
The following A-Sun student-athletes earned All-Tournament honors over the weekend:
Kayla Albritton, Belmont, Active Ankle Challenge
Allyson Goldbach, Campbell, Black and Gold Invitational
Megan Devine, ETSU, Buccaneer Classic presented by Holiday Inn
Kendall Courtney, Jacksonville, Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic
Kathryn Kane, Jacksonville, Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic
Sabrita Gulley, Kennesaw State, Runnin' Bulldog Classic
Baylee Strachan, Kennesaw State, Runnin' Bulldog Classic
Kaycee Green, Lipscomb, Gamecock Invitational
*Alex Kelly, Lipscomb, Gamecock Invitational
Stefine "Jake" Pease, Lipscomb, Gamecock Invitational
Nicole Baran, UNF, Best Western Invitational
Paige Pridgeon, UNF, Best Western Invitational
Katie Downey, USC Upstate, Myrtle Beach Comfort Suites Invitational
Ellen Hawks, Stetson, Elon Volleyball Classic
On the Horizon
Kennesaw State will be the only A-Sun school at home during this, the fourth weekend of non-conference tournament action. The Owls face Presbyterian, Coastal Carolina, Troy and Ohio State over two days in the Owl Invitational. Although not at home, USC Upstate stays in Spartanburg participating in the Wofford College Invitational. The Spartans face Stetson, Wofford and SIU Edwardsville.