Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action opens this weekend for the Loyola University Maryland volleyball team. League play coincides with the Greyhounds’ first home matches of the 2011 season, as well.
Loyola hosts Siena College on Saturday, September 17, and Marist College on Sunday, September 18. Both matches begin at 2 o’clock in Reitz Arena. Admission is free!
Saints & Foxes
Siena enters Saturday’s match with a 2-6 overall record, while Marist comes into the weekend at 3-7. The Red Foxes play at Rider on Saturday before travelling to Baltimore.
Loyola played its first two five-set matches of the season in back-to-back contests last week, going the distance at Lafayette and against Texas Christian at the Villanova Classic. The Greyhounds came away with a win against the Leopards, but were defeated by the Horned Frogs.
The Greyhounds’ defense in the fifth-set at Lafayette was outstanding, holding the Leopards to a -.375 hitting percentage, allowing them just one kill while forcing seven errors.
Throwing Up The Block
Freshman middle blocker Mindy Maloney was a big part of Lafayette’s struggles in the deciding fifth set, as she recorded three of her season-high eight blocks in the frame. She finished with three solo blocks in the match and leads the team with 19 total blocks this year.
High Percentage Wins
Loyola has proven the that the statistics do not lie early in the 2011 season. The Greyhounds have recorded higher hitting percentages than their opponents in three matches, all Loyola victories. On the flip side, the Greyhounds have had a lower hitting mark in their eight losses.
As a team, Loyola is hitting .180 in matches it has won compared to .106 in losses.
Junior libero Janet Pressler missed the Greyhounds’ four matches at the Battle of Baltimore with an injury, but she returned to provide excellent defense in four matches last week. She set career-highs in back-to-back matches with 19 digs against Lafayette and 20 versus TCU. Pressler then posted nine against Villanova and 12 versus Colgate.
She leads the team and is eighth in the conference with a 3.23 digs per game average.
Sophomore middle blocker Jac Bullock was named to the Villanova Classic All-Tournament team, earning honors for the second week in a row. She was also named to the Battle of Baltimore All-Tournament squad.
Not The Youngest, But Close
With 14 sophomore and freshmen on his roster, Head Coach Jake Lawrence has one of the youngest teams in NCAA Division I. With three juniors comprising the rest of the roster, Loyola is one of just three programs without a senior on the roster, joining the U.S. Air Force Academy and fellow Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school Iona (based on a survey of D-I schools).
Loyola’s 14 freshmen and sophomores are tied with San Diego State for the most in the nation and second only behind Air Force.
Of the Greyhounds’ 17 team members, the 14 make up 82.3-percent of the squad, the third-highest percentage in Division I.
Catanach Catching On
Freshman outside hitter Tina Catanach continues to lead the team in kills this season and was one off her season-high with 17 at Lafayette.
This season, Catanach leads the Greyhound with 116 kills, an average of 2.97 per set. She ranks 10th in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in kills per set.
Lawrence Takes The Helm
Jake Lawrence was introduced as the Greyhounds’ head coach earlier this summer after spending the last three seasons at Georgetown University. Lawrence, a 2006 graduate of Xavier University, helped the Hoyas engineer one of the biggest turnarounds in program history in 2008 when they improved by nine games.
Lawrence will be joined on the bench by Cynammon Burns, a former standout libero at American University, and Patrick Kerley, a fellow Xavier alumnus.