CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - After starting the season with three away tournaments, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga volleyball team opens its home slate with the Country Inns & Suites Invitational on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Belmont and the first 100 fans inside Maclellan Gym will receive a Lady Mocs' water bottle. The two-day event continues on Saturday as Chattanooga battles UCF and James Madison in a doubleheader beginning at 11:30 a.m. Admission to both days of the tournament and all Lady Mocs home games is free.
To open the tournament, James Madison plays UCF on Friday at 5 p.m., while contests start at 9 a.m. on Saturday with Bruins against the Dukes. The final match up of the weekend is between the Knights and Bruins at 4:30 p.m. later that day.
The Country Inns & Suites Invitational page can be accessed through the link above. Once there, visitors can view live stats and pay-per-view video for each matchup of the weekend. Once a contests is complete, a box score and html stats will be posted.
Parking for the event can be found inside the garage off of fifth street in front of Maclellan Gym or any of the surface lots at McKenzie Arena after 4:30 p.m. on Friday and throughout the weekend. The main entrances off of Douglas Street, Vine Street (glass doors) and the glass doors across from the University Center's Lansing Court will be marked with tournament signage.
Series History: On Sept. 7, the Lady Mocs cameback from a 2-1 deficit in the match to beat the Bruins, 15-13, in the fifth set for their first victory of the season. The win ended a Belmont run, where it won four in a row against Chattanooga including last season's matchup at Maclellan Gym. The Lady Mocs took the first three matchups in the series dating back to 1996.
Scouting Report: The Bruins enter the contest at 4-8 knocking off Connecticut, Maimi (Ohio), Jacksonville St. and Weber State, while dropping matches to the Lady Mocs, Lispscomb, Duquense, Purdue, Memphis, Tennessee Tech, Notre Dame and Nevada. Junior Maggie Johnson and senior Kayla Albritton pace the team on the outside with 3.55 and 3.45 kills per set, respectively. The squad's offense is run by freshman setter Hannah Miranda, who has registered 9.85 assist per set, while junior Channing Slava has received an opportunity over the past couple of matches. Defensively, senior libero Megan Clements leads the team with 3.55 digs per set. Head coach Deane Webb is in his seventh season leading the Bruins and registered his 300th career victory against Weber State.
Series History: The last meeting was back in 2007 at the Georgia State Invitational as UCF won 3-2 after Chattanooga had a 2-1 lead in the match. The Lady Mocs fell in straight sets in Orlando back in 2001 and again at the Furman Tournament in 1993.
Scouting Report: The Knights come into the tournament with a 7-2 record and have captured two preseason tournaments, but enter with consecutive losses to Baylor and Jacksonville. UCF's notable victories are against UNC Wilmington, UNC Greensboro and Florida Gulf Coast. Junior outside hitter Kristin Fisher paces the team with 4.55 kills per set, while junior setter Rachel Vukson has compiled 10.26 assists per set. Defensively, sophomore liberio Meredith Murphy has registered 4.23 digs per set and sophomore middle blocker Tory McCutcheon leads in blocking with a 0.48 average. Head coach Todd Dagenais is in his third season guiding the Knights.
Series History: In the first meeting last season in Morehead, Ky., Chattanooga rallied in the fifth set to score the next eight points and win, 15-13, behind the consistent serving of senior Bailee Chastain.
Scouting Report: The Dukes enter the tournament with a 7-2 record with victories over Lehigh, Delaware State, Loyola, Kent State, Davidson, UNC Asheville and Stetson, while falling to Cincinnati and Murray State. James Madison is paced offensively by sophomore outside hitter Danielle Erb with 3.70 kills per set, while senior Lindsay Callahan has contributed with 3.13 kills per set. Distributing the ball to the hitter is sophomore Megan Wiechman and senior Lauren Faneli, who combine for 11.62 assists per set. Defensively, junior Holly Wall and sophomore Naralie Abel have split duties as defensive specialist each notching a 3.40 digs average. Head coach Lauren Steinbrecher is in her first season leading the Dukes.
BARNES TAKES WEEKLY HONORS
Following senior middle blocker Courtney Barnes' third consecutive all-tournament honor, she was named the Southern Conference's Offensive Player and Student-Athlete of the Week. She recorded career-highs with 22 kills against Troy and five aces against Illinois-Chicago, while hitting double-digit in kills during each match compiling a .408 percentage as the Lady Mocs went 3-2. Barnes also set season-highs with six blocks and seven digs during the week. It was the first weekly honor of Barnes' career and the first for the Lady Mocs since Lara Newbery in 2008.
A MEASURE OF CONSISTENCY
Barnes has compiled a .369 attacking percentage this season, which puts her 78th in the nation. For her career, Barnes has compiled a .310 hitting percentage during her four seasons with Chattanooga. That is good for second all-time as she has passed Carmen Walker (1996-99) at .306 so far this season. Myra Bullibeau (1983-84) is the leader with a .324 percentage. She has tallied 661 kills and would need to reach 966 to gain entrance into the top 10.
FRESHMAN PROVIDES SMOOTH OFFENSE
At times during the UNF Invitation, the Lady Mocs offense was clicking at the best rate of the season especially against Illinois-Chicago, where Chattanooga tallied 18 kills without an error for a .643 pct. in the first set. Freshman setter Tess Kosyvarz was given the reigns of the offense and compiled 11.1 assists per set. She received her first start of the season against Illiniois-Chicago and led UTC to two-straight victories before falling against Charleston Southern. She recorded double-doubles against Illinois-Chicago and Troy, while hitting 50 assists three times on the weekend.
DEVELOPING AS AN OUTSIDE THREAT
As the season has gone on, freshman outside hitter Jennifer Kuroski has learned from her mistakes. She totaled a 3.35 kills per set average in Jacksonville, Fla., while recording a season-high .174 attacking percentage. Kuroski notched season-highs in kills (16), digs (14) and blocks (5) on the weekend. Kuroski is second on the team with 110 kills, only 10 behind Barnes.
DIGGING UP THE COMPETITION
In all four matches of the UNF Invitational, the Lady Mocs recorded more digs then their opponents, which included 80 against Charleston Southern. Chattanoga notched a season-high 91 at Belmont on Sept. 7. UTC has recorded 15.49 digs per set enough for 92nd nationally. Indvidually, freshman libero Paula Passmore has led the match in digs in all but one this season and has hit the 30-dig plateau twice including a career-high 34 against Belmont. She has registered 237 digs so far this season, good enough to the lead the SoCon with a 5.51 average and ranks 15th nationally.
TETER EMERGES ON THE RIGHT SIDE
Over the past four matches, sophomore Christina Teter has developed as a force on the right side for the Lady Mocs. She recorded 43 kills, while hitting .405 at the UNF Invitational totaling at least 10 kills in each match. The 6-1, Signal Mountain, Tenn., native posts a big block for opposing outside hitters, while recording 16 and posting career-high in kills (18), digs (5) and blocks (6) over the weekend.
TWO VICTORIES AT UNF
The Lady Mocs had an opportunity to pick up four victories at the UNF Invitational, but after battling back to tie the match at two after dropping the first two sets against the hosts and Charleston Southern. Chattanooga was unable to seal the deal, falling in the fifth set. UTC had a 13-11 lead against the Lady Bucs, but was unable to close the door as CSU picked up the win, 15-13. Chattanooga defeated Illinois-Chicago, who posted a 3-1 mark at the tournament, and Troy in back-to-back four set matches as the Lady Mocs were leaders in numerous offensive and defensive categories.
MOVING UP THE BLOCK LIST
During the UNF Invitational, Barnes entered the block solos career chart with 43 at ninth passing Lisa Blevins (1985-88) and Mary Simpson (1985-88) tied with 41. She also moved past Blevins and Jenny Kulwinski (1996-99) with 202 total blocks. Barnes needs seven more block assists to pass Carol Reedus (1997-00) for 10th all-time in that category.
KUHN APPROACHES CAREER BLOCKS
Junior middle blocker Ellie Kun paces the team with 33 total blocks this season. She has compiled 155 in her carerr along with 176 total blocks. Kuhn needs 11 more assisted blocks to enter the top 10, while 16 total blocks to hit gain entrance on that list. Kuhn set the Chattanooga block assist record last season with 103.
CLIMBING THE CAREER CHARTS
Senior setter Bailee Chastain has registered 205 assists so far this season, totaling 1,432 in her career. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native is now ninth on the UTC all-time assists charts passing Jenn Anderson (1999-00) with 1,425. Next up would be Michaela Huff (2005-08) with 1,581.
NOTCHING THE FIRST WIN
The Lady Mocs faced the toughest competition in the Southern Conference playing in the Comcast Lady Vol Classic and Jayhawk Classic to begin the season at 0-6. Things changed on Sept. 7 at Belmont as Chattanooga won the first set and then rallied to tie the match up at 2-all with a win in the fourth. The Lady Mocs used its fifth-set experience they earned against Arkansas to win 15-13 on a perfect kill by Kuroski.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE'S FOR SCOTT AND CHASTAIN
Senior right side Jessica Scott and Chastain used all-around performances to help the Lady Mocs beat the Bruins. Scott recorded her fourth career double-double with 13 kills and digs, while Chastain had her third of the season with 38 assists and 11 digs. Scott also added six assists, a career-high.
A MATCH OF SEASON-HIGH
At Belmont, Kuroski with 14 kills, Barnes with 14 kills, Passmore with 34 digs and freshman Andrea Johnson with seven digs and two aces set season-highs. Passmore was the most impressive as the 34 digs were a career-high as well. The team also recorded 59 kills in the match, one more than against Arkansas, the only other five-set match played this season. Chattanooga also set a season-high for digs with 91, almost 30 more than against the Razorbacks.