Vikings Return Home as Regular Season Winds Down

Vikings Return Home as Regular Season Winds Down

Oct. 29, 2007

Contact: Greg Murphy

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Quick Sets: Cleveland State returns home to begin a three-match homestand to conclude the regular season. The Vikings will host Valparaiso on Saturday (Nov. 3) at 4:00 p.m. before taking on 17th-ranked Dayton in a nonconference match on Sunday (Nov. 4) at 1:00 p.m. Both matches will be played in Woodling Gym.

Last Time Out: The Vikings were in action twice last week. Following are quick recaps of those matches.

Match #24 - CSU 3, Loyola 0 (Oct. 26 - Chicago, Ill.)
Beth Greulich tallied 19 kills and the Vikings hit .357 (54-13-115) as a team in a 3-0 sweep at Loyola. CSU trailed just five times in the match as Amy Benz added 11 kills and Mel Snyder finished with 48 assists and nine digs.

Match #25 - UIC 3, CSU 2 (Oct. 27 - Chicago, Ill.)
Alexis Korovich finished with a season-best 21 kills, but it wasn't enough as the Vikings fell at UIC. CSU fell behind 2-1, but dominated game four (30-12) to push the match to a deciding fifth game. The Vikings took a 9-8 lead, but UIC scored the final seven points to earn the win. Beth Greulich chipped in 14 kills, while Mel Snyder finished with 51 assists and 13 digs.

Series History: The Vikings are 3-12 all-time against Valparaiso, including a 3-1 win at Valpo on Oct. 2. The Crusaders have not played in Cleveland since a 3-0 win on Oct. 16, 1993. CSU is 5-14 all-time against Dayton with the Flyers winning eight of the last nine meetings. The teams have not played since a 3-0 Dayton win on Sept. 12, 1998.

Head Coach Chuck Voss: In his eighth year at the helm of the Vikings, head coach Chuck Voss has methodically built the Viking program from the ground up. He inherited a team that had not enjoyed a winning season in 17 years and turned things around in his third season (2002) when he led the Vikings to an 18-16 mark. Since then, CSU has recorded six straight winning seasons (2002-07), the most since the program opened with seven straight (1972-78). Voss has a 126-104 (.548) mark at CSU and moved into second place on the all-time wins list at CSU in a Sept. 21 win at Youngstown State. Voss, who has a 159-140 (.532) overall record in nine seasons, has mentored the only two All-Americans in school history, the 2005 Horizon League Player of the Year, 10 first team all-league picks, seven all-newcomer team members and three league Co-Newcomer of the Year picks.

Success Continues: With its win over Butler on Oct. 12, CSU clinched its sixth consecutive winning season, which is the second longest streak in school-history (2002-07). It trails the seven straight winning campaigns from 1972-78.

Reunited: Cleveland State will welcome back former players for Alumni Day on Saturday when the Vikings host Valparaiso at 4:00 pm at Woodling Gym. A dinner for alumni will be held following the match with the Crusaders.

A Look at the Standings: CSU needs to win one of its final two conference matches to assure itself of finishing no worse than second place in the league. The Vikings (11-3) are 1.5 games behind Milwaukee (12-1), while Valparaiso and Wright State are tied for third place at 7-5. CSU has two league matches left, while Milwaukee has three and Valparaiso and Wright State four apiece.

Not Quite a Baker's Dozen: Despite a five-set loss at UIC on Saturday, the Vikings managed to hold the Flames to a season-low 12 points in the fourth game. That was the lowest output by a CSU opponent since Oakland scored 10 points in game two of a CSU sweep on Oct. 11, 2005.

Efficiency Breeds Success: CSU has outhit its opponents by 57 points (.222-.165) this season and has posted a better hitting percentage than their opponent all but five times in 2007. CSU is 0-5 in those matches. The Vikings hit a season-best .357 (54-13-115) in Friday's win at Loyola, marking their best day at the net since hitting .359 against Indiana State on Sept. 9, 2006. Individually, Amy Benz (.340), Beth Greulich (.309) and Jenni Ramminger (.281) rank first, second and sixth in the conference in hitting percentage.

Road Warriors: The Vikings finished 5-3 on the road in league contests this season, which tied the school-record for conference road wins in a season (2005). Even more impressive is that the Vikings have played 18 of their 25 matches away from Woodling Gym and are 12-6 in those contests.

Horizon Success: At 11-3 in conference play, the Vikings have tied the 2005 team for most league wins in a season. CSU will have two chances to set the record with matches against Valparaiso (Nov. 3) and Youngstown State (Nov. 10).

Get That First One: Getting off to a good start has been a key to CSU's success this season as the Vikings have won game one in 18 of their 25 matches. CSU went on to win 14 of those matches, including 10 sweeps.

20-20 Vision: The number 20 has been unkind to the Vikings recently as the 2005 and 2006 team's each won 19 matches, but could not reach the 20-win plateau before bowing out in the league tournament. With two more wins this season - and CSU is guaranteed at least four more matches - the Vikings would record 20 wins for the first time since the 1988 team went 20-22.

Set it Off: Mel Snyder is in her third season as the starting setter and is creeping up the all-time assist list at CSU as she ranks third all-time with 3,761 assists. Snyder, who is 316 helpers shy of second place, leads the league in assists (11.78 apg), while her 1,154 assists this season are the ninth best in a single-season at CSU. She is also ninth in school-history with 120 service aces.

She Can Dig It: Jordan Bateman ran her school-record dig total to 493 over the weekend and is 37 digs shy of becoming the 11th player in school-history with 1,000 career digs. Bateman recorded a career-best 36 digs against Milwaukee on Sept. 29, which was just one shy of tying Elisa Caraulia's school record of 37 digs against Kent State in 1987. Ranking third in the conference in digs (5.08 dpg), Bateman is threatening the Horizon League single-season record of 579 digs set in 1992 by Stacy Gilligan of Duquesne.

Ramminger Returns: Jenni Ramminger has slowly worked her way back into the lineup after missing three matches with a sprained ankle suffered in the final seconds of warmup prior to the Loyola match on Oct. 6. Since sitting out those three matches, Ramminger has returned and posted 22 kills, four aces and 10 blocks in four contests. She had her best match on Friday at Loyola when she hit .636 (7-0-11) with six blocks.

Liking the League: Beth Greulich, who earned Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and first team all-league honors last season, has proven that her rookie season was no fluke by picking up her game during league play. After hitting a respectable .285 and averaging 2.68 kills and 0.85 blocks per game in 11 nonconference matches, Greulich has raised those numbers to .324, 3.23 kills and 0.98 blocks per game in 14 conference matches. Over the last five matches, Greulich is averaging 16.2 kills and 4.4 blocks per game, while hitting .351. She hit .514 (21-2-37) at Green Bay (Oct. 20) and followed that but hitting .531 (19-2-32) on Friday at Loyola. Greulich has been honored as the Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week in each of the last two weeks (10/22 and 10/29).

Double Up: Alexis Korovich has proven to be one of CSU's top all-around players this season as she is tops on the team in kills (3.02 kpg) and second in digs (3.18 dpg). In addition, she leads the team with 15 double-doubles, including eight in the last nine matches. Korovich is averaging 3.37 digs per game in 14 league matches and has reached double-digits in all but one match. She posted season-highs in kills (21) and hitting percentage (.429) in Saturday's loss at UIC.

A New Mercedes: Freshman Amy Benz is one of the favorites to earn Horizon League Newcomer of the Year honors, which would make her the fourth Viking in the last six seasons to capture the award. Benz leads the league in hitting percentage (.340) and is second in blocks (1.46). Benz, who posted a career-best 20 kills in and Oct. 20 loss at Milwaukee, is slowly moving up the single season record books at CSU as she is fourth in block assists (125) and fifth in total blocks (143).

Lefeld Likes the Crusaders: It was on Oct. 2 at Valparaiso that Kayla Lefeld enjoyed one of her finer matches of the season. She didn't play in game one, but finished with 11 kills and just one error in 18 attempts (.556), including seven kills in the deciding fourth game. Since that match, Lefeld has averaged 11.2 kills per game, including a career-best 22 in a five-set win over UIC (Oct. 5).

Aces Wild: CSU has ripped off 69 aces over the last eight matches, including a season-high 13 against Wright State on Oct. 13, to move into second in the Horizon League rankings (1.85 sapg). During that same time, the Vikings have limited its opposition to just 27 aces, including zero aces to Butler (Oct. 12) and Loyola (Oct. 26).

Share the Wealth: Mel Snyder has quarterbacked the Viking offense to the best hitting percentage in the league this season (.222) and is getting each player involved as CSU is the only team in the Horizon League that has six players with at least 190 kills this season. Beth Greulich leads the way with 294 and is followed by Alexis Korovich (284), Jenni Ramminger (242), Amy Benz (218), Liz Fazio (207) and Kayla Lefeld (194). Snyder has added 79 kills of her own for good measure.

This Team is Smart: The Vikings have been honored for their exceptional performance in the classroom as a recipient of the Game Time/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the third straight year. CSU, which is just one of just 55 Division I schools to earn the award, carried a team grade point average of 3.646 during the 2006-07 school year. The award, which began during the 1992-93 academic year, honors college and high school teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining a cumulative 3.30 GPA or better during the school year.

Up Next: CSU concludes its regular season by hosting Youngstown State on Saturday (Nov. 10) at 2:00 pm in Woodling Gym.