Oct. 18, 2010
#21 Youngstown State (2-20, 0-9) @ Milwaukee (12-8, 8-1)
10/22; 7 pm - Panthers swept Penguins in first matchup; YSU did win in Milwaukee last season
#22 Cleveland State (16-2, 7-2) @ Milwaukee (12-8, 8-1)
10/23; 4 pm - Vikings' only losses have come to Panthers and at Loyola; first matchup went five sets
Printable Weekly Notes
Johnson Show Podcast
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's volleyball team continues an extended homestand with a pair of matches this weekend.
Milwaukee won both of its matches this past week, surviving a scare from Green Bay before sweeping past SIU Edwardsville.
UWM starts play this weekend one-half match behind Butler in the league standings. The Bulldogs are 9-1 in the league while the Panthers are 8-1. Cleveland State is 7-2.
Morgan Potter earned Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week honors after averaging 6.25 digs per set.
UWM continues to lead the league in blocking.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's volleyball team continues a seven-match homestand with a pair of contests this weekend. UWM hosts Youngstown State Friday night before welcoming Cleveland State to town Saturday afternoon.
Checking The Standings
Milwaukee now finds itself one-half match behind Butler for the top spot in the Horizon League as we reach the stretch run of the league season. The Bulldogs are 9-1 in the league with the Panthers 8-1. Cleveland State, which visits Milwaukee Saturday, is still very much in the mix at 7-2. UWM actually won its first six league contests, the best start in league play under Susie Johnson. Milwaukee has now actually started at least 3-0 in league play eight times in the last 13 seasons, and each time Milwaukee has gone on to win the regular season title. UWM's best-ever league start came in 2003, when the Panthers won their first 11 league contests.
UWM has put together an amazing run of success over the last decade-plus. In fact, with the Panthers claiming the League Tournament title last season, Milwaukee has won either the regular season or tournament title for 13-straight years. UWM has also won six of the last seven league regular season titles and has won at least 10 league matches for 13-straight seasons. In those now 13-plus seasons, the Panthers have gone 164-25 in league play. Milwaukee also has eleven 20-win seasons over the last 13 years and has had a winning streak of at least seven matches for 13-straight years. UWM did see a 17-match winning streak against Horizon League foes snapped in the loss to Butler Oct. 10.
Always Happy To Be Home
UWM is in the midst of a seven-match homestand and is looking to continue its amazing run of homecourt success. In fact, the Oct. 15 loss to Butler was just the second regular season league home loss for the Panthers in their last 49 matches. At one point, UWM had a 37-match home regular season league winning streak. Overall, the Panthers have lost just seven regular season league home contests since 1997.
Plenty Of Tests
The Panthers haven't shied away from tough competition during the non-league portion of the season. Milwaukee started the season with six-straight matches against teams that won at least 20 contests a season ago. That run included three NCAA Tournament teams and a full list of squads that have been picked to finish at or near the top of their league standings. The Panthers' most notable non-league victory came against 19-2 Tulsa. Among UWM's losses are defeats to 13-4 Iowa State and 15-5 North Dakota. And, when the NCAA put out its third RPI report of the season Monday, it showed UWM had already played six matches against teams from the RPI top 100, posting a 3-3 mark in those contests. Milwaukee was 80th in that latest RPI report.
Recapping Last Week
Milwaukee won both of its matches this past week, surviving a scare from Green Bay before sweeping past SIU Edwardsville. Friday against the Phoenix, UWM dominated sets one and five but found the going rough in the other three frames. But, in the end, 15 kills from Kerri Schuh and 39 digs from Morgan Potter were enough to send the Panthers to their 35th win in their last 38 meetings with the Phoenix. Saturday against the Cougars, UWM took control at the midway point in each set on its way to its fifth 3-set win of the season. Milwaukee had 13 blocks in the match, holding SIUE to a -.038 hitting clip.
So Close But So Comfortable
UWM has certainly gotten used to playing close sets and matches this season. After playing five sets against Green Bay Friday, the Panthers have now gone to five sets eight times this season and Milwaukee has played 26 five-set matches over the last two-plus seasons. UWM is 5-3 in five-setters this season and the Panthers are 22-12 all-time in five-set matches under Susie Johnson. The school record for five-set matches is 11, set in 1998, and Milwaukee went 8-3 in five-setters that season. Plus, the Panthers have played 22 sets this season decided by two points, with UWM 12-10 in those sets.
Defense Steals The Show
UWM has always leaned on its defense as the foundation for success and this season is blocking its way to victory. Milwaukee is leading the league in blocks, with Natalie Schmitting (1st), Kerri Schuh (3rd) and Rachel Neuberger (10th) all in the top 10 individually in the category. As a team, UWM has reached double figures in blocks in each of its last nine matches and has done so 12 times already this season. The Panthers have outblocked eight of its last nine opponents, losing in the only match they didn't win the battle at the net. Plus, in league matches, the Panthers are averaging better than three blocks per set. This past weekend, UWM had 14 blocks in the five-set win over Green Bay and then added 13 more in just three sets against SIU Edwardsville.
UWM is proving to have a variety of offensive weapons this season. The Panthers have six players with at least 100 kills and each of those players has recorded at least three double-figure outings. In league-only matches, UWM has five players with 50 more kills. UWM has hit better than .300 in two league matches and is hitting .206 in league play.
Back Row Success
Libero Morgan Potter continues to show the way in the back row for the Panthers, earning league defensive player of the week honors for the second time Monday. Friday night against Green Bay, she collected a collegiate-best 39 digs, the third-most in a single match in school history and the 12th time a Panther has had more than 30 digs. She is averaging better than four digs per set and has been in double figures in 18 of 20 matches. In fact, she is now up to 351 digs this season, far more than the 181 career digs she started the season with. Another key in the back row has been Kerri Schuh, who didn't even play in the back row in her first two seasons but is now a regular there. She is averaging nearly three digs per set for the season and, over the last two weeks, has had just four receiving errors in a team-high 123 reception attempts.
Emptying The Notebook
Melissa Jansen has collected 40 kills over the last four matches after entering this stretch with just 19 kills on the season ... Kerri Schuh and Berg earned all-tournament honors at the IPFW Invite, while Morgan Potter was an all-tournament honoree at the Milwaukee Invite ... Berg had a triple-double vs. NDSU, the first by a Panther since 2007 ... after never reaching double figures in digs in her first two seasons, Schuh has been in double digits in the category in 13 of her 16 outings this season ... Natalie Schmitting is now UWM's all-time blocks leader with 478 ... Milwaukee has had 11 different players start at least one match this season ... the Panthers have had seven different players record at least two double-figure kill efforts while six different players have had at least two double-figure dig outings ... Milwaukee is 108-17 in October matches over the last 13-plus seasons ... UWM was picked to win the 2010 Horizon League Championship in a poll of the league's coaches.