*The complete report in PDF format is located at the bottom of this release.
CAA QUICK HITS:
- With two weeks remaining in conference play, Delaware remains the league leader with a 9-1 record. VCU has secured the second spot with an 8-3 record. Currently 7-3, JMU and Mason also have three league losses so far this season.
- This week's CAA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week are all seniors. Britney Brown and Kelsie Clegg along with Rookie of the Week Lana Zonjic have each earned their respective awards twice this season, while Jess Chason receives her first weekly nod of 2010 this week.
- Six teams have maintained a .500 or better conference record for the third consecutive week.
- At 11-0, Delaware is the lone team in the league with a perfect record at home. JMU joins the Hens in the 11-win column and has suffered just one loss on its home court.
- As of matches through Oct. 24, a number of CAA squads and individual players remain ranked among the nation's elite in various statistical categories.
- Following Hofstra's victory over Siena last week, the league's nonconference record now stands at 77-73 (.513). This marks the sixth consecutive week the CAA has been at or above .500.
Britney Brown - Northeastern
Brown's versatility was once again on display as she helped the Huskies to a 2-0 record in conference play on the week. The senior setter tallied 20 assists, 14 kills and eight digs in Northeastern's 3-1 victory over VCU on Friday and notched another near triple-double the next day with 19 kills, 17 assists and 9 digs on .615 hitting in four-set win over William & Mary. Brown has now recorded 14 double-doubles this season.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Jess Chason - Delaware
Chason led the charge this past weekend as Delaware collected key conference victories over visiting James Madison and George Mason to bolster its lead atop the CAA standings. After dishing out 33 assists in the squad's sweep of the Dukes, the senior setter tallied her team-high 11th double-double of the year with 49 assists and 21 digs to lift the Hens to a 3-2 triumph over the Patriots.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Kelsie Clegg - VCU
Boise, Idaho/Boise Senior, Sr., Middle Blocker
Clegg secured her second CAA weekly award of the season after becoming the first Ram in program history to reach 400 blocks. The senior middle blocker skied for seven blocks in VCU's 3-1 loss to NU on Friday to surpass 400 blocks and recorded another seven blocks two days later in the team's 3-2 triumph over Hofstra. Clegg also collected 16 kills on .371 hitting over the weekend.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK:
Lana Zonjic - George Mason
Zonjic notched a pair of double-doubles last weekend to help the Patriots improve to 7-3 in conference play. The freshman outside hitter posted a 21-dig, 14-kill performance to help Mason top Towson, 3-2, on Friday and recorded 13 kills and 12 digs as the team fell in five sets to league-leading Delaware the next day.
TAKING FLIGHT UP THE CAA STANDINGS: After six weeks of conference play, Delaware sits in sole possession of the top spot in the CAA standings for the second straight week. The Hens improved to 9-1 in the league after capturing key wins over JMU and Mason. VCU remains in the second slot after splitting a pair of matchups with NU and Hofstra. Despite losses to Delaware, the Dukes and Patriots each bested Towson to improve to 7-3 and remain tied for third in the standings. NU, which was tied with GSU at 5-4 in the league a week ago, prevailed over VCU and W&M to move to 7-4 and pull a half-match ahead of the Panthers, who improved to 6-4 after knocking off UNCW. GSU has played one fewer conference match to date than the Huskies. Both will have played 12 after this week.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: With two weeks remaining in this season's CAA slate, the race to be among the four-team conference tournament field continues to heat up. While Delaware is alone atop the league at 9-1, five teams are currently separated by only one loss as they look to keep pace with the Hens in the race to lock up a bid to the postseason. The 8-3 Rams look to make headway on the Hens, who swept VCU the last time out on Oct. 8, this Friday when they welcome Delaware to Richmond. An important weekend also lies in store for 6-4 GSU. The Panthers play host to Mason and JMU - both 7-3 - who they dropped decisions to earlier this season. NU will look to better its 7-4 mark when Hofstra comes to campus on Saturday. The Huskies swept the Pride on Oct. 9.
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST: As of matches through Oct. 24, Delaware's Greta Gibboney ranked 12th in the nation in digs per set with a 5.52 average, while her Hens (16.84) came in at 31st nationally. Also on the defensive front, Mason's Kelsey Bohman improved to 32nd in Division I with 1.24 blocks per set. Joining her in the top 50 are W&M's Ginny Bray (1.23) at 38th and Delaware's Paige Erickson (1.21) at 46th. VCU (2.44) slid in the 43rd slot in the team blocks-per-set category. The Patriots' Nicole Fanella moved into the top 20 with 0.45 service aces per set, while Towson's Shelynne Hoyt (0.44) at 24th and JMU's Danielle Erb (0.40) at 43rd are also among the top 50 nationally. Hoyt's Tigers (1.63) ranked 28th in the country in aces per set. With 18-5 overall records (.783), Delaware and JMU have registered the 31st-best winning percentage in Division I.
THEY'RE DIGGING IT: Delaware senior Greta Gibboney has recorded a league-best 5.47 digs-per-set average and is the only player in the CAA to average at least 5.00 digs per contest and 500 digs overall in 2010. NU's Jessica LaScola (4.92) is the only other player in the league to record at least 4.00 digs per match, while she (453) and Hofstra's Kylee Maneja (458) have also surpassed 400 digs overall. Gibboney's Hens improved their conference-best digs-per-set average to 16.86 last week and are tops in total digs with 1568. Hofstra (1539) and GSU (1507) have also eclipsed 1500 team digs.
THE THRILL OF THE CHASON: Hens' senior and 2009 conference Setter of the Year Jess Chason owns a league-leading 10.25 assists-per-set average and has recorded 943 of the Hens' 1106 total assists to date this season (85%). GSU's Chelsea Perry (9.71) is now second best in assists per set behind Chason, followed closely by Towson's Evan Schulz (9.64). All three trail Hofstra senior Rachel August's 1106 total assists by more than 150 dishes. NU tops the CAA with an overall assists-per-set average of 12.28, and Hofstra leads the conference with 1288 total assists.
FULL FRONTAL ATTACK: Several CAA squads are getting the job done on both the offensive and defensive fronts this season. Delaware leads the league offensively with .212 hitting and has limited opponents to a CAA-low .158 hitting percentage. NU is right behind in second with a .210 hitting percentage and has held foes to just .164 hitting, which ranks fourth in the league. Mason is also making strides on both fronts. The Patriots are fourth in hitting (.201) and second overall in opponent hitting percentage (.162).
DELAWARE (20-5 overall, 9-1 in CAA): Delaware remains the league leader after picking up decisive decisions over JMU and Mason last week thanks to a stellar showing by the squad's seniors. Outside hitter Katie Dennehy posted 12 kills and 12 digs to help the Hens sweep the Dukes on Friday, and setter Jess Chason notched her team-high 11th double-double of the season with 49 assists and 21 digs as the team upended the Patriots in a thrilling five-setter the following day. Greta Gibboney totaled 40 digs over the weekend for the Hens, who have now won eight straight matches and 12 of their last 13. Delaware visits VCU and W&M this weekend.
GEORGE MASON (12-10 overall, 7-3 in CAA): Mason has now played four straight five-set matches after splitting a pair of barnburners last week. Rookie outside hitter Lana Zonjic tallied 21 digs and 14 kills to pace the Patriots in a triumph over Towson and junior outside hitter Noelle Fanella recorded a near double-double with 19 kills and nine digs as the team fell in a heartbreaker to league-leading Delaware. After earning six straight wins to open CAA play, Mason has now dropped three of its last four decisions. The opens its weekend slate at UNCW on Friday.
GEORGIA STATE (12-12 overall, 6-4 in CAA): Owning a 6-4 record with two weeks remaining in the regular season, GSU's six wins in the league are its most since 2006 when the team last made the CAA Tournament. The Panthers earned their sixth win after upending UNCW, 3-1, on Saturday on the heels of Muki Kangwa's first double-double (15 kills, 12 digs) of the season. The Panthers, who have now won 13 of the last 14 against the Seahawks, welcome JMU and Mason to town this weekend for key conference contests.
HOFSTRA (10-21 overall, 2-9 in CAA): The Pride continued its five-match homestand with a mid-week win over Siena before suffering a pair of setbacks to W&M and VCU last weekend. Outside hitter Marina Markovic collected 16 kills and middle blocker Carolyn Jenkins added another nine to send their squad past the Saints on Tuesday. After getting blanked by the Tribe on Friday, Hofstra could not hang on as it fell in a five-set thriller to VCU. The Pride travels to nearby NU on Saturday.
JAMES MADISON (19-6 overall, 7-3 in CAA): The Dukes were blanked by Delaware to open the week but bounced back with a sweep of their own over Towson to improve to 19-6 overall this season, marking the team's most wins since 2006. Senior outside hitter Lindsay Callahan recorded 16 kills over the weekend to become just the third player in school history to collect at 1300 kills and 900 digs. The Dukes continue their four-match road trip this week with a southern swing to GSU and UNCW.
UNC WILMINGTON (7-19 overall, 1-9 in CAA): The Seahawks dropped a pair of four-set road decisions to GSU and Mercer to fall to 7-19 on the season. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Mallard netted 11 kills and 11 digs for her third double-double of the season against the Panthers, while senior outside hitter Kelli Clear notched her sixth double-double of 2010 with 11 kills and 20 digs in the nonconference loss to the Bears. UNCW looks to bounce back this weekend against Mason and JMU.
NORTHEASTERN (16-9 overall, 7-4 in CAA): NU remains right in the thick of the postseason hunt after holding serve at home over VCU and W&M last week. Senior setter Britney Brown collected 14 kills and dished out 20 assists in the team's 3-1 victory over VCU, while rookie outside hitter Janelle Tucker tallied 15 kills and 12 digs to help the Huskies topple the Tribe in four sets. NU, which has now won five of its last seven contests, hosts Hofstra on Saturday.
TOWSON (13-14 overall, 1-9 in CAA): After humbling Hofstra the week before for its first league win of 2010, Towson fell short against Mason and JMU. A trio of Tigers notched double-doubles to help the team jump out to an early two-set lead over the Patriots on Friday, but it was not enough as Mason rallied to take the final three sets and hand the Tigers a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at home. Rookie outside hitter Katy Buck nearly nabbed her second double-double of the weekend with nine kills and 10 digs in a 3-0 setback to the Dukes. Towson travels down the coast for matchups with W&M and VCU beginning on Friday.
VCU (10-17 overall, 8-3 in CAA): Following a 3-1 setback at NU on Friday, the Rams retained the second spot in the CAA standings after surviving a five-set scare from Hofstra in their 2010 road finale. Senior middle blocker Kelsie Clegg became the first VCU player to post 400 career blocks with her seven stops against the Huskies, while classmate Marisa Frey recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 16 digs against the Pride. Delaware and Towson pay VCU a visit this weekend.
WILLIAM & MARY (10-13 overall, 4-7 in CAA): Senior outside hitter Erin Skipper averaged 4.6 kills on .435 hitting over two matches to help the Tribe take one of two on the road last weekend. W&M swept Hofstra on Friday before falling in four sets to NU in its final road contest of the season. The Tribe takes on Towson and Delaware in Williamsburg beginning on Friday.