BILLIKEN VOLLEYBALL: Marcia E. Hamilton Classic
WHEN: Sept. 1-2, 2017 | Illinois State (Sept. 1, 7 p.m.) | UC Irvine (Sept. 2, 12 p.m.) | Kennesaw State (Sept. 2, 7 p.m.)
WHERE: St. Louis, Mo. (Chaifetz Arena)
WHO: Saint Louis (0-3), UC Irvine (3-0), Kennesaw State (2-0), Illinois State (1-2)
SLU-UCI SERIES: First Meeting
SLU-KSUSERIES: First Meeting
SLU-ISU SERIES: Illinois State leads all-time series 5-3 - SLU won
A LOOK AT THE BILLIKENS
• The Billikens enter the tournament 0-3 after playing in a very competitive BYU Invitational last weekend. Saint Louis played three teams that competed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, including No. 10 BYU and No. 21 Ohio State. Senior Lauren Leverenz picked up all tournament accolades after notching 34 kills (3.09 per set) with a .369 attack percentage over the three matches.
• Nenye Okoro leads the Billikens with 45 kills (4.09 per set) this year.
• Lauren Leverenz has a team-leading .369 attack percentage to go along with 3.09 kills per set.
• Saint Louis middle blocker Lauren Mershon leads the Billiken with eight blocks this season. Close behind her are Lauren Leverenz and Nenye Okoro with seven blocks each.
• SLU is led by head coach Kent Miller, who has a 99-87 record with the Billikens over seven seasons. His next victory will make him the third head coach in SLU history with 100 wins.
• Mackenzie Long is 14th all-time at Saint Louis with 1,092 career digs. She is one of 18 Billikens to surpass 1,000 career digs.
• Nenye Okoro has a chance to eclipse 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs this season (currently 726 career kills and 759 career digs). If she does, she will be the 15th Billiken to amass 1,000 kills, the 19th with 1,000 career digs and the seventh to reach 1,000 kills AND 1,000 digs.
• Junior setter Camila Rivas leads SLU with 110 assists (10.00 per set). Saint Louis has had only 16 setters maintain a 10.00 assist per set pace for an entire season. Rivas led the Billikens with 649 assists last season (7.13 per set)
• Middle blocker/right side Lauren Leverenz is SLU’s top returning hitter from last year, where she recorded 171 kills. She hit .254 last season and is a .273 hitter in her career.
• Freshman Maya Taylor was the 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year in Idaho. She also is a four-time All-State performer and a 2016 Prep Volleyball All-American.
• Freshman setter Kennedy Cordia comes to Saint Louis from Francis Howell in St. Louis, the same high school as Billiken great Danielle Rygelski. Cordia is a 2016 Prep Volleyball All-American and was nominated for the Andi Collins Award for the nation’s best high school setter.
• The Billikens earned an AVCA Team Academic award after posting a 3.35 GPA during the 2016 season.
A LOOK AT THE UC IRVINE
• The Anteaters are 3-0 after defeating Cal (3-1), Seattle (3-0) and Loyola Chicago (3-0) last weekend in Berkeley, California.
• UC Irvine has dropped only one set this season.
• The Anteaters are led by Haley DeSales and Harlee Kekauoha, both of whom record 2.70 kills per set.
• Ali Koumelis does the setting with 9.20 assists per set.
• As a team, UC Irvine has recorded 20 aces this season, 2.00 per set (tied for 18th in NCAA).
• Defensively, Luna Tsujimoto leads UCI with 4.40 digs per set. Makayla Wolfe has a team-leading seven blocks.
A LOOK AT THE KENNESAW STATE
• The Owls are 2-0, picking up wins at home against Troy (3-1) and on the road at Clemson (3-0).
• Anaiah Boyer leads the KSU attack with 3.86 kills per set.
• Kristi Piedmonte directs the Owl attack with 9.43 assists per set.
• Liesl Engelbrecht is the top blocker for KSU with six blocks.
• Katarina Morton posts 3.14 digs per set
A LOOK AT ILLINOIS STATE
• The Redbirds are 1-2 with a win over UC Santa Barbara (3-0) and losses to Baylor (0-3) and #15 Florida State (2-3)
• Stef Jankiewicz commands the ISU offense with 9.91 assists per set.
• On the attack, Jaelyn Keene leads the team with 3.73 kills per set.
• As a team, Illinois State leads the NCAA with 44.82 attacks per set.
• Courtney Pence is the starting libero with a team leading 7.73 digs per set, second in the NCAA.
• Illinois State is aggressive at the net, recording 19 blocks so far. Keene leads the team with 10 total blocks (0.91 per set).