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Courtesy: CAA
Northeastern's Britney Brown and Delaware's Paige Erickson

CAA VOLLEYBALL WEEKLY REPORT - NOV. 15

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 11/15/2010
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*The complete report in PDF format is located at the bottom of this release.

CAA QUICK HITS:

  • With the regular season now at a close, the four-team field is set for the 2010 CAA Volleyball Championship, which will be held Nov. 20 and 21 on Delaware's Barbara Viera Court at the Carpenter Sports Building in Newark, Del. The top-seeded Blue Hens will meet #4 VCU in Saturday's first semifinal at 5:00 p.m., with #2 James Madison and #3 Northeastern to follow in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m.
  • Seniors swept this week's offensive and defensive CAA weekly awards. NU's Britney Brown captured her third CAA Offensive Player of the Week award of 2010, while Delaware's Paige Erickson has earned her second. After receiving an offensive nod on Sept. 13, JMU's Lindsay Callahan receives her first defensive honor of the season. Towson freshman Katy Buck bookmarked her season with a Rookie of the Week nod after earning the honor in the first week of the season.
  • Six CAA squads completed conference play with a .500 or better record. Delaware topped the league with a 13-1 mark, which is its best finish in program history. The Blue Hens (24-5) also highlight a list of six league teams that wrapped up the regular season with .500 or better overall records.
  • Delaware and James Madison have each notched 13 wins at home in the regular season. At 13-0, the Hens are the lone team in the league with a perfect record on their home court and currently owns the 11th-longest home winning streak in the nation at 15 matches.
  • As of matches through Nov. 7, a number of CAA squads and individual players remain ranked among the nation's top 50 in various statistical categories.
  • The league's nonconference regular-season record remains at 77-73 (.513) as no CAA squads faced a team from outside the league last week. VCU is the only conference team with a non-league foe left on its 2010 slate. The Rams host Hampton on Tuesday and Albany on Nov. 26.
Co-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Britney Brown - Northeastern

Edwards, Colo./Battle Mountain, Sr., Setter/Opposite Hitter

Brown notched her fifth triple-double of the season on Saturday to send NU past George Mason and into the CAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years. After collecting 22 kills and 10 digs on .366 hitting in the Huskies' loss to James Madison on Friday, the senior setter posted 18 kills, 24 assists and 13 digs in the win over the Patriots. She added six blocks and three service aces in the two matches.

Co-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Paige Erickson - Delaware

Tulsa, Okla./Jenks, Sr., Middle Blocker

Erickson was effective on both sides of the ball last weekend as Delaware downed UNC Wilmington and Georgia State to earn its best ever finish in the CAA standings at 13-1. The senior middle blocker totaled 27 kills and averaged 3.38 kills per set on a stellar .449 hitting in the two matches. The Tulsa native also skied for nine blocks and contributed eight digs on the weekend.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Lindsay Callahan - James Madison
Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown, Sr., Outside Hitter

Callahan displayed an impressive defensive performance as James Madison knocked off Northeatern and Hofstra to secure a spot in the conference tournament for the first time in three years. The senior outside hitter tallied 26 digs and 11 blocks to lead the Dukes defensively, while chipping in 20 kills on the offensive front. Her 21-dig, 10-kill showing against the Huskies marked her ninth double-double of the season.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Katy Buck - Towson

Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales, Fr., Outside Hitter

Buck blasted 28 kills and registered 26 digs to help the Tigers trounce Georgia State and UNC Wilmington last weekend. The freshman outside hitter earned her seventh double-double of 2010 with 11 kills and 18 digs against the Panthers and fell just short of a repeat performance with 17 kills and eight digs in a sweep of the Seahawks. Buck also served up a pair of aces and two blocks in the two wins.

CONFERENCE NOTES

CAA CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD FINALIZED: Delaware, James Madison, Northeastern and VCU comprise the four-team CAA Tournament field that will meet in Newark, Del., this weekend. The Hens locked up the top seed in the tournament prior to the final weekend of play, leaving five teams to vie for the final three spots. The Dukes ultimately clinched the second seed and their first postseason berth since 2007 after holding serve at home with 3-1 wins over Northeastern and Hofstra. Despite a setback to JMU on Friday, the Huskies slid into the third spot after rallying from two sets down to earn a thrilling victory over George Mason on Saturday. Following its five-set loss to William & Mary on Friday, VCU was forced to await its postseason fate until the conclusion of Saturday's matches. It proved worth the wait as the Rams nabbed the fourth and final tournament berth as a result of Northeastern knocking off Mason.

A GLANCE AT THE POSTSEASON: Saturday's CAA semifinal showdown features #2 James Madison against #3 Northeastern. This will be the two teams' third meeting of the year, with the Dukes coming out on top in the first two matches. JMU prevailed over NU in a 16-14 fifth set to take the first meeting on Oct. 3 in Boston and defended its home court with a 3-1 win over the Huskies last weekend. The Huskies have earned a league-high nine wins on the road in 2010, while the Dukes are 6-5 away from Sinclair Gymnasium this season. Both teams are winners of four of their last five matches. Top-seeded Delaware swept VCU in the teams' pair of meetings. The Hens are a perfect 13-0 in the friendly confines of Viera Court and ride a 12-match winning streak into Saturday's showdown. The Rams have rolled to a 6-9 road record on the year and have won seven of their last 10 matches.

AMONG THE NATION'S BEST: As of matches through Nov. 7, Delaware's Greta Gibboney ranked 8th in the nation in digs per set with a 5.71 average, while her Hens (17.05) came in at 32nd nationally. Also on the defensive front, Mason's Kelsey Bohman improved to 18th in Division I with 1.33 blocks per set. Joining her in the top 50 are Delaware's Paige Erickson (1.26) at 30th and VCU's Kelsie Clegg (1.20) at 47th. Delaware (2.39) slid in the top 50 in the team blocks-per-set category as well. Towson's Shelynne Hoyt (0.44) is ranked 20th with 0.43 service aces per set, while Mason's Noelle Fanella (0.42) at 22nd, JMU's Danielle Erb (0.42) at 25th and Hofstra's Jenna Connell (0.39) at 44th are also among the top 50 nationally. Hoyt's Tigers (1.58) ranked 31st in the country in aces per set. With an 18-5 overall record (.815), Delaware owns the 22nd-best winning percentage in the nation. JMU (.741) registered the 46th-best winning percentage in Division I.

A SURVEY OF THE STATS: Delaware leads the league in three statistical categories again this week. The Hens improved their CAA-best .220 hitting percentage last week and are limiting foes to a league-low .156 hitting. Mason wrapped up its season ranked second in the league in both categories. Delaware is also tops in digs with 17.00 digs per set and averages one full dig more per frame than Georgia State, which ranks second with a 15.94 average. NU and JMU have dished out a CAA-best 12.08 assists per set so far this season. The Dukes' 13.13 kills-per-set average narrowly outpaces the Huskies' 13.11 average. VCU has skied for a league-high 2.54 blocks per set, while Towson continues to hold serve with a 1.59 aces-per-set average.

TEAM NOTES

DELAWARE (24-5 overall, 13-1 in CAA): Delaware currently owns the nation's 11th-longest home winning streak at 15 matches after earning victories over UNC Wilmington and Georgia State last week. Senior middle blocker Paige Erickson tallied 17 kills on .519 hitting and skied for five blocks to send the Hens past the Seahawks on Friday, while classmate Katie Dennehy tied a team season-best 22 kills on .442 hitting in the win over the Panthers the following day. Top-seeded Delaware meets fourth-seeded VCU in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament on Saturday.

GEORGE MASON (14-12 overall, 9-5 in CAA): The Patriots posted a 3-1 win over Hofstra on Friday before falling to Northeastern in a five-set heartbreaker that eliminated them from CAA postseason contention a day later. Senior middle blocker Holly Goode collected 11 kills and junior middle blocker Kelsey Bohman anchored Mason's blocking unit with nine blocks in the win over Hofstra. In the season-ending loss to the Huskies, sophomore middle blocker Danielle Cook notched a career-high 15 kills.

GEORGIA STATE (14-14 overall, 8-6 in CAA): Georgia State fell just short of punching its second postseason ticket in program history after suffering setbacks at Towson and Delaware. Junior middle hitter Vineece Verdun paced the Panthers with 11 kills on .391 hitting in the tilt against the Tigers, while junior setter Chelsea Perry passed out 39 dishes as the team was plucked by the Hens. The Panthers finish the year in sixth place in the CAA and the team's eight victories in conference play is its most in five years.

HOFSTRA (10-24 overall, 2-12 in CAA): The Pride completed the 2010 season by dropping a pair of road decisions at George Mason and James Madison. Outside hitters Nikki Kinnier and Marina Markovic combined for 26 kills in the loss Patriots. Kinnier registered a career-high 25 kills the following day against the Dukes, and sophomore libero established a new career mark of her own with 23 digs.

JAMES MADISON (22-7 overall, 10-4 in CAA): James Madison earned its first CAA Tournament berth in three years after recording 3-1 wins over Northeastern and Hofstra last weekend. Senior outside hitter Lindsay Callahan jumped for six blocks and notched her ninth double-double of the season with 10 kills and 21 digs against the Huskies. Sophomore outside hitter Danielle Erb followed suit with 17 kills and 10 digs to record her team-best 14th double-double of 2010 as the Dukes dropped the Pride. JMU enters postseason play as the second seed and will take on NU for the second time in as many weeks in Saturday's first semifinal.

UNC WILMINGTON (7-23 overall, 1-13 in CAA): The Seahawks wrapped up their 2010 slate with losses to Delaware and Towson. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Seifert collected her first career double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs in the loss to the Hens and returned to the floor the following day to register a new career-high 13 digs against the Tigers.

NORTHEASTERN (18-10 overall, 9-5 in CAA): After suffering a 3-1 shortcoming to JMU on Friday, the Huskies rallied from two sets down against Mason the following evening to secure their spot in the CAA Championship for the fourth time in the past five seasons. Senior setter Britney Brown netted a double-double with 22 kills and 10 digs on .366 hitting in the squad's setback to the Dukes and one-upped herself with 18 kills, 24 assists and 13 digs for her fifth triple-double of the season against the Patriots. The third-seeded Huskies are set to face second-seeded JMU in semifinal action on Saturday.

TOWSON (16-15 overall, 4-10 in CAA): Towson ended its 2010 campaign on a high note by breaking out the brooms for a pair of sweeps over Georgia State and UNC Wilmington. Freshman outside hitter Katy Buck tallied her seventh double-double of the season with 11 kills and 18 digs in the win over the Panthers, while seniors Shelynne Hoyt and Lauren Tonokawa posted nine kills and 13 digs, respectively, to lead the charge against the Seahawks.

VCU (11-19 overall, 9-5 in CAA): Senior outside hitter Mariel Frey recorded nine kills and seven blocks against William & Mary on Friday, but her effort fell just short as the Rams dropped a 3-2 decision to the Tribe. Regardless of the loss, VCU will make its fourth trip to the CAA Tournament in the last five years. The fourth-seeded Rams square off against #1 Delaware in the second semifinal on Saturday.

WILLIAM & MARY (11-15 overall, 5-9 in CAA): The Tribe tripped up VCU in five sets on Friday to end its season in winning fashion. Senior outside hitter Erin Skipper hammered a match-high 17 kills and concludes her college career as the first player in school history to lead the team in kills four straight seasons. Freshman libero Celine Alasomuka tallied 20 digs for the seventh time this season and wraps up her rookie campaign with the second-most digs by a Tribe freshman with 350.

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