HARRISONBURG, Va., Nov. 1, 2012 – The James Madison volleyball team closes out its four-match road swing this weekend with a trip to Fairfax, Va., for a Colonial Athletic Association match against in-state rival George Mason. The match is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Recreation Athletics Complex.
The Dukes are coming off a tough road trip to William & Mary and UNCW last weekend. JMU fell behind 2-0 in each of those matches, but showed resolve by rallying in each of them. They forced William & Mary to a fifth set and battled UNCW to a fourth set, but ultimately came up short against each.
On the season, JMU is 11-13 overall and 4-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association to sit in fifth place in the CAA standings. They hold a one-game lead over Hofstra and UNCW for the sixth and final place in the CAA Championship and are only two games back of Delaware for third place.
There are two weeks remaining in the CAA schedule with every team except Georgia State having three matches left to play. Georgia State has just two matches remaining on its schedule. Madison guarantees itself a trip to the tournament with a win against two of its final three opponents.
Towson currently is the favorite to host the tournament with a 9-0 record. It holds a two-match lead and the tiebreaker over second-place Northeastern. The top six teams advance with the top two receiving a bye.
Freshman defensive specialist Patreece Spence (Wilmington, Del./Archmere Academy) made her first career start at libero in the match against UNCW. She recorded a career-high 13 digs and also had her first career kill. She is the fifth different freshman to start a game this season and one of eight freshman to make an appearance for Madison.
Joining Spence as rookies to make a start this season are redshirt freshman middle blocker Alyssa Hall (Yorktown, Va./Grafton), outside hitter Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East), middle blockers MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) and Sarah Delaney (Herndon, Va./South Lakes) and setter Sarah Patterson (Roanoke, Va./Hidden Valley). Defensive specialists Sierra Hahn-Ventrell (Chevy Chase, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase) and Jaclyn Placha (Oakdale, Pa./West Allegheny) have also made their debuts this year.
SCOUTING GEORGE MASON
The Patriots come into the weekend with a 4-17 record and have won just once in their last eight matches. They are 2-6 in CAA play and trail UNCW and Hofstra by one match for the final spot at the CAA Championship. GMU is 3-5 at home, including losing two straight.
Outside hitter Lana Zonjic is the team’s top offensive player, averaging 3.60 kills per set. She is hitting .200 with 281 kills, adding 194 digs, 30 aces, 23 blocks and 10 assists. Middle blocker Danielle Cook is averaging 2.00 kills per set on .259 hitting while leading the team in blocks with 83. Middle blocker Lolade Owokoniran is second with 74 blocks and fourth in kills with 139.
Junior Tori Price handles the setting duties and is averaging 8.96 assists per set and 2.46 digs per set. Freshman Bernetta Moore is the libero and is tops on the team in digs, averaging 4.53 per set.
Pat Kendrick is in her 28th season as the head coach of the Patriots. She owns a 453-394 career record.
JMU and George Mason have played each other 77 times dating all the way back to 1977. The Dukes lead the all-time series 44-33, including victories in four straight. Earlier this season, JMU picked up a 3-1 win over the Patriots at Sinclair Gymnasium. Senior outside hitter Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) led the team with a .325 attack percentage and added 12 digs while junior libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) paced the squad with 23 digs.
Last season, JMU swept the season series with the Patriots winning 3-0 at home and taking a 3-2 decision on the road. Madison is 4-1 under head coach Lauren Steinbrecher against Mason.
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