After a seven-state road trip spanned the first three weekends of the 2013 season, the 18th-ranked Truman volleyball team finally will play in front of a home crowd with three matches scheduled during a five-night stretch this week. The Bulldogs (6-4, 1-1 GLVC) kick off the home schedule with a familiar foe - long-time in-state rival Central Missouri - at 7:00 pm on Wednesday night.
The Jennies will come to Kirksville with a perfect 12-0 record and a No. 5 ranking in the AVCA top-25. Following that contest, Truman will host a GLVC league match in Pershing Arena for the first time on Friday night when it hosts Illinois Springfield (3-6, 1-1 GLVC) at 7:00 pm.
Then, on Sunday, the Bulldogs cap the weekend with a Sunday matinee against McKendree (2-8, 1-1 GLVC) at 1:00 pm. Truman is coming off a split weekend on the road at a pair of East Division squads to open up the 2013 GLVC regular season slate, as the 'Dogs fell in four sets at Lewis on Saturday before rolling past UW-Parkside in three sets on Sunday afternoon.
It was a tale of two matches for the Bulldogs, as Truman hit just .115 and was out-blocked by five in the Lewis loss before rebounding to hit .320 and never be threatened in Sunday's sweep at UWP. Individually, two sophomores led the Bulldog offense, as opposite hitter Abby Heise and middle hitter Ali Patterson both blazed to hitting percentages above the .400 line and a points per set average of greater than 3.30.
Heise averaged 3.43 kills per set and committed just five errors on 45 swings, while Patterson chipped in 2.71 kills per set and made just two errors on 37 attacks. Sophomore Emilee Walters recorded a team-high 11 total blocks, while junior Allie Brak's two aces also marked a team-best.
Junior Meghan Zimmerman averaged nearly 10 assists per set and 2.57 digs per set, while junior Abby Moser (3.29) and senior Heather Hargadine (3.00) both averaged at least three digs per set. Ben Briney is in his fifth season as the program's head coach and has a career record of 102-46 (.689).
After a 1-1 week against teams not ranked in the AVCA top-25, the Bulldogs paid a slight price and dropped from 14th to 18th in this week's AVCA Division II top-25 coaches' poll. Truman accumulated 379 points in this week's listing, holding off Grand Valley State by 15 points in the No. 18 slot. Truman continues to be the top-ranked team out of the GLVC and the Midwest region, as only GVSU (No. 19), Indianapolis (No. 23) and newcomer Ferris State (No. 24) find themselves also in the top-25 as Midwest region representatives.
Rockhurst, Lewis and Ashland are all receiving votes but did not earn enough to crack the top-25. Overall, the Bulldogs have nine opponents on their 2013 schedule who are listed either in the top-25 or are receiving votes in this week's poll. As a program, Truman has now been in the top-25 166 total times, good for 17th-most all-time in NCAA Division II history.
The Bulldogs are closing in on Northern Colorado's mark of 172 for 16th place.
Courtesy Truman State University