October 23, 2013

Volleyball hosts Montana teams this weekend

The Northern Colorado volleyball team hosts Montana State at 7 p.m. Thursday and Montana at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday's match is the team's annual Dig Pink Night. T-shirts will be available to buy and donations will be accepted which will go toward local breast cancer research.

In a nutshell

* The Bears defeated Northern Arizona and Southern Utah on the road this weekend. Northern Colorado took down the Lumberjacks in five sets on Thursday and swept the Thunderbirds on Saturday.

* Sophomore outside hitter Kendra Cunningham combined for 30 kills in the two matches, including a 19-kill performance at NAU.

* Senior outside hitter Alyssa Wilson (21) and junior middle blockers Brianna Strong (26) and Andrea Spaustat (28) also combined for more than 20 kills for the two wins.

* Northern Colorado split its road trip to Montana earlier this season when it lost to Montana in three sets but defeated Montana State in four games.

* In the Bears' first meeting with the Grizzlies, no Northern Colorado player had more than nine kills, and the Bears hit .183 as a team with no service aces but 10 service errors.

* When Northern Colorado met Montana State the first time this season, the Bears and Bobcats each had players with 15, 14 and 10 kills on their sides of the net. For the Bears, it was Brianna Strong, Andrea Spaustat and Kendra Cunningham, respectively. For the Bobcats, it was Kennadie Clute, Loni Kreun and Natalee Godfrey. Northern Colorado hit .296 as a team and held Montana State to .192 hitting.

What's on deck

* Following this set of matches, the Bears travel to play Weber State and Idaho State at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 and at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, respectively.

Record Watch: 2013

* Junior middle blocker Andrea Spaustat sits fifth on Northern Colorado's Division I career records list for block assists (253) after passing Allison Raguse's total of 247 from 2006-09. Ahead of Spaustat for fourth is former teammate Kelley Arnold, who had 257 from 2009-12. Spaustat also has 274 total blocks, which is sixth in UNC's Division I history behind Raguse's 278.

* Senior libero Merideth Johnson is fifth on Northern Colorado's Division I list of career digs with 939. To get to fourth, she'll have to pass former teammate Kelley Arnold's total of 964 from 2009-12.  Johnson is also tied for eighth place for service aces in UNC's Division I history with 57 with Kenzie Shreeve (2005-09). Spaustat isn't too far behind with 53.

* Junior middle blocker Brianna Strong is in sixth place on Northern Colorado's Division I record list with 27 solo blocks in her career. Strong is in eighth place in total blocks in UNC's Division I history with 206. Danelle Angus (2003-04) had 230 in her career and is in eighth place.

* Just 20 matches into her career, freshman setter Ashley Guthrie has 796 assists, which is already the sixth-most for a career in Northern Colorado's Division I history. Her average of 39.8 assists per match so far is putting her on track to finish the season with 1,194 for the season, a total that would put her in fifth after just one year. Guthrie's predecessor, Marissa Hughes, holds the Division I record with 4,877 from 2009-12.

 Scouting Montana State

* The Bobcats have the third-most total kills (996), second-most attack errors (555) and most attacks (2805) of any team in the Big Sky, but their hitting percentage of .157 is the third worst in the conference. Montana State also has the highest oppenent hitting percentage of .239.

* Montana State is the worst blocking team in the league with the fewest total blocks (139) and lowest blocks per set mark (1.72).

* Freshman outside hitter Kennadie Clute leads all conference players in total kills (346) and kills per set (4.27), both by wide margins.

Scouting Montana

* The Grizzlies have a hitting percentage of .205 this season, which ranks fifth in the league, one spot higher than Northern Colorado's .202 mark.

* Montana is one of the better blocking teams in the Big Sky as it has the fourth-most total blocks (184) and the second-best blocks per set mark (2.64).

* Senior outside hitter Kayla Reno was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week last week for her role in the Grizzlies' win against Sacramento State on Oct. 18. Reno had 17 kills and no attack errors in the 3-0 sweep in which she hit .486. She also had six digs and two blocks.