Four-Game Home Stand Begins This Weekend With Fairfield and Manhattan

Nov. 3, 2009

This week: Fairfield and Manhattan

Fairfield Stags (15-11 overall, 12-2 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (12-17 overall, 7-7 MAAC)
When: Saturday, November 7
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 2 p.m.

Manhattan Jaspers (10-13 overall, 7-6 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (7-19 overall, 3-11 MAAC)
When: Sunday, November 8
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 2 p.m.

Starting off
The Greyhounds went 1-1 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play last weekend in upstate New York. After being swept by Niagara, Loyola bounced back with a sweep of its own over Canisius. Katie Dircks, Nina Camaioni and Karlee Woodward turned in 15, 14 and 13 kills apiece, respectively, against Canisius. Brittany Born led the match with 16 digs and Aubrey Kirven posted her highest three-set assist total of the season with 44. This weekend, the Greyhounds host a pair of teams they went 0-2 against on the road. Currently, Loyola is two games behind Siena (9-5 MAAC) for the coveted fourth place spot needed to advance to the MAAC Championship tournament in Buffalo.

The Stags: Take Two
Fairfield has held down the top spot in the conference nearly all season. The Stags suffered just their second MAAC loss when they were upset by Siena last weekend, snapping a nine-game winning streak. The Stags roster is laden with players from volleyball-rich areas on the West Coast and has depth, giving the team several options off the bench. Senior middle blocker Katie Mann leads the MAAC with a .348 hitting clip and has a team-leading 68 blocks. Brianna Dixion is also a threat, averaging 3.02 kills per game and 57 total blocks. Setter Lauren Balmert was named MAAC Offensive Player of the Week last week and is leading the MAAC with 11.00 assists per set in conference play. The Greyhounds were swept by Fairfield last month in Connecticut.

The Jaspers: Take Two
Loyola lost a tough five-set thriller in the final minutes the last time around against the Jaspers Although the `Hounds statistically dominated their opponent, the Manhattan outlasted Loyola. Since then, Manhattan has managed just one other win -- a 3-0 sweep over Rider that came two weeks ago. The conference's leading blocker, Rita Welsh, is as big of a threat offensively as she is defensively. Welsh has amassed 107 blocks (24 solo) and is averaging 2.30 kills per set.

Leading the Way
This week's NCAA stats report had Camaioni's kills-per-set average ranked at No. 19. Camaioni has recorded 443 kills in 101 sets for an average of 4.39 per set. Her total and average is second best behind Siena's Burgandy McCurty (471 total, 5.48 per set), who holds down the nation's No. 1 spot. The junior outside hitter is the only Greyhound to go 3-for-3 in all-tournament teams, having been named to the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational, the Battle of Baltimore and the Duke Invitational all-tournament teams and was also named MAAC Offensive Player of the Week on September 8.

1,000 Kill Club
Karlee Woodward's nine kills against Marist on September 20 put her over the 1,000 kill mark. The senior middle blocker from Scottsdale, Ariz., was honored for the accomplishment before Loyola took on Canisius at Reitz Arena with the game ball.

Born to Dig
On October 4, junior libero Brittany Born broke Loyola's all-time dig record after recording 18 against Manhattan. Born's 18 put her career total at 1,383, surpassing Maguire's mark of 1,381 by two. As a freshman in 2007, Born totaled 626 to grab Loyola's single-season dig record. Camaioni currently holds the single-match record of 36.

Studly Setter
Freshman setter Aubrey Kirven is third in the MAAC with 9.53 assists per game and an even higher 10.15 mark in conference matches. The multitalented setter also leads the team (along with Dircks) with 23 service aces, is fourth on the team in blocks (29) and digs (196) and has also chipped in 63 kills. With 146 assists in the Battle of Baltimore, Kirven was named to her first collegiate all-tournament team as well as named MAAC Rookie of the Week.

Carolina on my Mind
For Loyola's third and final non-conference tournament, the Greyhounds faced what will be arguably the toughest test of the season, as they took on No. 1-ranked Penn State at the Duke Invitational in Durham, N.C. After a Friday night match against the two-time defending national champions, Loyola faced the Blue Devils and College of Charleston at the storied Cameron Indoor Stadium

The Returning Half
Loyola returned six letterwinners this season, three of them being full-time starters. All together, the Greyhounds return 553 sets played, 664 kills, 847 assists, 1,446 digs and 191 blocks.