Lady Mocs begin quest for fifth Southern Conference title with opening round match against No. 5 Elon

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Chattanooga volleyball begins the quest for a fifth Southern Conference Championship Friday, November 16 when they face No. 5 Elon in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament at Maclellan Gym in Chattanooga, Tenn. at 7 p.m.

The Lady Mocs (18-13, 13-5) enter the tournament following a regular season that has seen them record the most wins since the 2005 campaign when they went 19-14 and their best conference record since a 15-5 performance in 2000. UTC finished the regular season with an 8-1 home record against Southern Conference opponents and at one point won seven consecutive matches from September 15 29.

Chattanooga has also seen a number of individual accomplishments this season, including junior libero Lara Newberry (Chattanooga, Tenn.) breaking both the Chattanooga career and single season dig records and senior middle blocker Leslee Ball moving into third place on the all-time kill list with 1,432 career kills. Both players also accounted for a total of three Southern Conference Player-of-the-Week Awards in 2007.

Statistically, Ball leads the team with 4.49 kills and 0.82 blocks per game as well as a .315 hitting percentage while freshman setter Bailee Chastain (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) averages 11.17 assists per game. Ball is currently second in the Southern Conference in kills per game (4.49), total kills (314), third in points per game (5.19) and is eighth in hitting percentage at .299. Chastain finished in fifth place for assists per game with an average of 11.00 while senior outside hitter Jamie Engel (Troy, Ill.) averaged 0.50 aces per game to take fourth place in the conference in that category.

Newberry continues to be the top libero in the nation, leading the country with a 7.07 digs per game average and the Southern Conference with a 7.03 average.

As a team, the Lady Mocs continue to lead the nation in digs at 22.7 per game and the conference at 22.60. UTC also allows the fourth lowest hitting percentage in the Southern Conference, limiting opponents to a .165 percentage.

Elon (17-15, 11-7) enters the Southern Conference Tournament following a 2007 campaign that has landed them the fifth seed. The Phoenix are led by senior middle blocker Emily Lucci who averages 2.76 kills, 2.69 digs, 1.13 blocks and 0.26 service aces per game. She is joined offensively by senior outside hitter Britany Westphal and junior outside hitter Jessica Barrow with 3.12 and 2.81 kills per game, respectively. Senior setter Natalie Moore leads the team with 9.93 assists per game while junior libero Kelley Blakewood averages a team-high 4.33 digs.

The All-Time Series Against Elon

Chattanooga has a commanding 8-2 series lead over the Elon Phoenix, including a sweep of both matches this season. The two teams ended the regular season facing each other on November 11 when the Lady Mocs pulled out a 3-2 victory with a 16-14 win in the fifth game. The two teams have never met in the Southern Conference Tournament.

Chattanooga Southern Conference Tournament History

The Lady Mocs enter the 2007 Southern Conference Tournament having won four Southern Conference Championships in the 25-year history of the league, beginning in 1987. Chattanooga won its other three titles consecutively from 1996-98, defeating Appalachian State 3-2 in 1996 and Western Carolina 3-0 in 1997 and 1998. UTC last advanced to the championship game in 2001 when they fell to Georgia Southern in 2001. Over the past four seasons, the Lady Mocs have fallen to the College of Charleston in the Southern Conference Tournament.

First serve for the Lady Mocs opening round match against Elon is 7 p.m. Friday, November 16 in Maclellan Gym.

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