Monday, September 27, 2010

On Sweeps and Stephanie

The Miners arrived in Greenville, North Carolina around 3 am early Friday morning. They left El Paso around 11 am Thursday morning. Welcome to the CUSA travel schedule. This weekend they will travel to Houston to play Rice on Friday, then return to play Houston in El Paso on Sunday. At the end of the season, the Miners get to travel all the way out to Orlando for game one versus UCF only to turn around and hustle back to host UCF in El Paso days later. Killed our plans to make the most out of week at Disney.

We were able to watch both ECU matches on CSTV and it wasn't a bad connection. Stephanie Figueroa was outstanding, and the dummies at CUSA HQ in Irving are finally noticing. Stephanie was selected CUSA Defensive Player of the Week. What an honor it must be for Stephanie to be allowed a spot in the Friends of Tulsa-Tyler Henderson admiration society.

Jax had a great weekend as well. She logged 13 kills and zero errors during the Saturday's match. ECU made an adjustment on Sunday moving ECU 6'3" Brittany Roper to front her. On Saturday, ECU had no answer for Jax. On Sunday, they had no answer for Jeane Horton. Even on the constantly lagging CSTV video stream, Jeane still looked incredibly quick and powerful.

Great opening weekend. Tough weekend awaits with conference tournament champs Rice on Friday night. Ashleigh McCord crushes the ball, but she's a low-ball, seam-splitter. Close up the block and you can shut down McCord. Tracey Lam used to be the best Libero in the conference...used to be now that Stephanie Figueroa anchors the Miners big D. Imagine how great Stephanie's dig numbers would be if the Miners didn't block so well.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Arizona's 2010 Senior Aces

Heading into weekend four of the college volleyball season, here is a statistical summary that focuses on Arizona's 2010 Senior Aces (click on the table to expand):

Chanel has been lights-out great for the Gators. Do a search for women's college volleyball on your DVR and you'll see Florida games offered around 15 times. Betsi is listed as an OH on the LMU site, but looking at her stats, she must be playing DS so far. I think Katie Rutherford might be redshirting. Not sure what happened to Erin Truett. She blew her knee out last winter, and left high school early to report to K-State, but I can't find her on the roster.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Miners and NCAA Div I Stats

Out of 368 Div I teams in the database, here are a few select rankings three weeks into the season:

  • Blocks per set-21st
  • Hitting Percentage-29th

UTEP Individual
  • Blocks per set: Kyla Muela-29th
  • Points per set: Melissa Toth-46th
  • Kills per set: Melissa Toth-58th
  • Hitting percentage: Jacquie Cason-118th

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

UTSA Classic Recap

It's still very hot and humid in San Antonio. The freeway network in San Antonio is also abysmal. Never heard of frontage roads that function as freeway parallels before I got to SA. Forget about crossing to the west side of I-10. We drove by the hotel on a frontage road we couldn't turn out of and had to re-cross under the freeway bridge and loop back around from the north. Took us more than 30 minutes to drive the 4 miles to UTSA from our Hotel north of the 410.

The UTSA/Miners tilt on Friday night was a classic five-setter. Two very evenly matched squads. UT Pan American was a gutsy team that dug everything on Saturday. Stephanie Figueroa was outstanding all weekend. Taylor Nix also stepped in on the left side and delivered on Saturday. The Miners left the A-game on the court Friday night. I was surprised that Davidson handled UTPA so easily.

Three Miners were selected to the all-tournament team:
  • Patty Jarmoc, S, UTEP — Most Valuable Player
  • Jacqueline Cason, OH, UTEP
  • Stephanie Figueroa, DS, UTEP
  • Meghan Fichtel, OH, Texas-Pan American
  • Elise Huskey, OH, UTSA
  • Sarabeth Peele, OH, Davidson
  • Kelsey Schwirtlich, S, UTSA

Jax is number five in CUSA in hitting percentage this week at .344. She also has the second-most kills in the top five.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Girl Volleyball

I remember back in club ball when you would see one, maybe two kids booming the ball during warm ups. As I watched the Aggies warm up, it didn't take long to see that everybody on that front line could crush the ball. It hit me for the first time last night. This is big girl volleyball. Skinny little Stephanie Ziegler is now muscular little Stephanie Ziegler. She could hit a nice top spin ball in high school. She can absolutely crush the ball now. Hitting for the Aggies is a whole-body experience. Explode into the air, swing with every ounce of juice in the tank, then pose arrogantly and admire your work.

A lot of energy in Memorial Gym last night. The septuagenarian Aggie fans were in the house and they were vocal, but Miner fans far outnumbered them. The Miners showed grit and battled back bravely in games two and three, but too many unforced errors still kill too many comebacks.

Jax has jumped to #2 on the CUSA hitting percentage charts. She's the only freshman in the top 15.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Week Two of the 2010 Season

Tulsa sweeps the weekly awards again. Tyler Henderson has taken a ginormous 298 swings.

Good News: UTEP remains tops in the conference in blocks and htting percentage

Bad News: The Miners are near the bottom in digs and just got run by their arch-rivals

East Carolina and Tulane look to be the weakest sisters of the conference at the two-week point. UCF has wailed on some weak sisters, so don't let that record fool you. The top 10 in CUSA hitting percentage includes three Miners:

  • #2 Kyla Muela

  • #3 Jax

  • #7 Bridget Logan
Bridget played great on Friday night against the Aggies. Jax once played for a martinet of a coach who would yank players (especially Jax) out of a set if he thought they didn't swing hard or weren't prepared for a set. No fear of that with Bridget.

The Miners need to put Friday night on the shelf and come out fresh and fierce. Control the first pass, move the ball around to keep the Aggies off balance and take full swings on the attack.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Aggies/Miners Round One

Tried to set up the laptop to watch the stream of the game on ESPN3 from the comfort of my big chair only to find out that my local ISP wasn't an authorized sponsor/partner with the Mothership online. Jumped in the car and drove to work to watch it in the office. Horrible connection all night long. Nothing but a stupid Gillette commercial would play for more than 15 seconds before locking up. I will never buy a Gillette Pro Glide razor. Never saw my kid touch a ball over the span of 90 minutes of trying to watch the game.

Got up this morning to watch the Fox Sports AZ broadcast. Kinda glad I knew how miserable the Miners did before we started watching. That way, we just got to enjoy watching our kid play ball. And the Aggie homer broadcasters got her name right.

Will this be the team that breaks the Aggie choke hold on the I-10 rivalry? See you all in El Paso on Tuesday night. I'll be the guy in an orange shirt.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Aggie Smack

This quote in today's Las Cruces Sun-News:

Right-side hitter Whitney Woods on playing the Miners
"We play them like it's a conference game. It's bigger than conference to be honest. We lost to them in the spring a couple years ago and I feel like we need to get revenge from that....I haven't forgotten about it."

So, Whitney is still sore about a loss in the spring, at some undetermined time in the past...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Miners at the Aggies-The Tucson Angle

This year's away-and-home I-10 series will feature several Arizonans-three of whom are Tucson kids. Aggie Freshman MB, Desiree Scott, played the spring club season at Zona with Jax. Desiree is all arms and legs and is very quick in the vertical plane.

Sophomore Stephanie Ziegler is a great athlete who will probably play in the back row this year. If Stephanie were 6' or taller, she'd be a #1 OH on another top-25 team. Look for her to absolutely rip a pipe if she gets the opportunity. Her jump serve is also very nasty.

Program Note: Tune in to the Miners/Aggies tilt on Fox Sports AZ HD (Direct TV Channel 686) Saturday, 12:30 am. I believe this will be a re-broadcast of the Aggie Vision telecast of Friday night. It will probably look and sound like public access TV, but I guess we should just celebrate the fact that that TV has finally come to Las Cruces. Aggie Vision. Excellent...Schwing!