Panthers Open Defense Of League Title In Chicago
Sept. 17, 2009
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's volleyball team opens its 2009 Horizon League schedule in Chicago this weekend.
The Panthers, the preseason pick to win the league, will play at Loyola Friday night and at UIC Saturday afternoon.
UWM (3-8) has faced a difficult non-league schedule that included four matches against teams that played in the NCAA Tournament a year ago and five contests against teams from BCS leagues. But, the Panthers pulled out a five-set win at Northern Illinois Tuesday night and now start conference action looking for a seventh-straight regular season title.
As expected, junior transfer Jena Berg has led the Panthers' offense early in the year. Berg tops the team at 3.07 kills per set while also adding almost three digs per set. Meanwhile, junior middle Maddie Sueppel has been a force at the net, pitching-in with 2.61 kills and 1.17 blocks per set.
Things won't be easy for Milwaukee this weekend, though. UWM won its two matches in Chicago a year ago, the second-straight time the Panthers accomplished that feat. But, before that, Milwaukee had dropped two-straight at Loyola. Plus, UWM went five sets with UIC at the Klotsche Center a year ago.
The Ramblers (6-6) saw their five-match winning streak snapped in a three-set loss at Indiana State Tuesday night. Katie Johnson (2.98 kps) and Colleen Francis (2.95 kps) have led the Loyola offense, while Alyse Serritella (4.58) has topped the Ramblers' defensive charts.
The Flames (4-8) dropped a three-set match to Central Michigan Tuesday but did take a set from nationally-ranked Michigan State this past weekend. Casie Sullivan averages over three kills per set to lead UIC, which has a new head coach in Katie Schumacher-Cawley.
Fans can follow the action of both of this weekend's matches either through the live video provided by the Horizon League Network or via gametracker.