NU Heads To Pacific Northwest For Washington State Cougar Challenge

Wildcats face Montana State, Wichita State and Washington State in two-day tournament

Junior Kate Nobilio ranks third in the nation in digs per set at 6.28.

Sept. 9, 2008

Opening Serve
It's back to the road for Northwestern, with the destination this weekend the Pacific Northwest as the Wildcats compete in the Cougar Challenge Tournament hosted by Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., Sept. 12 and 13. NU opens up with Montana State at 6:30 p.m. Friday and then faces Wichita State at 12 noon Saturday. The `Cats close out the weekend by facing the host Cougars in the tournament's finale at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Scouting Montana State
The Bobcats are 3-4 on the season and come into the Cougar Challenge having split four matches at the Air Force Tournament this past weekend. Montana State fell to UC Davis 3-1 and North Carolina State 3-0, but notched victories over the host Falcons 3-1 and Akron 3-2. MSU has already shown significant progress under first-year head coach Sara Schaub after finishing just 1-27 in 2007, and have been led by sophomore outside hitter Jodeen Rademacher's 85 kills and 10 blocks. Junior middle blocker Nicole Grypiuk is second on the team in kills with 73 while junior middle blocker Kyla Hendry has recorded five solo blocks and 31 on the year. Junior setter Taylor Faught has been impressive as well averaging 9.29 assists per set while sophomore libero Meghan Albiston averages 3.96 digs per set.

Scouting Wichita State
After finishing 27-6, capturing the Missouri Valley Conference championship and making a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2007, the Shockers are continuing where they left off, bursting out to a 8-0 record and are ranked 18th. Wichita State captured their host tournament this past weekend, notching victories over Lamar, Idaho State, Coastal Carolina and Big Ten rival Ohio State. The Shockers have been paced by the junior outside hitting duo of Emily Stockman and Lindsey Eckenrode, who have registered 83 and 61 kills respectively, and sophomore middle blocker Sarah McGee has played a key role for WSU early, recording two solo blocks and leading the team in total blocks with 28. Freshman setter Mary Elizabeth Hooper has been a factor right out of the gates for the Shockers, averaging 9.88 assists per set while senior libero Kelly Broussard had added 5.29 digs per set. Head coach Chris Lamb is in his eighth season at Wichita State with an overall record of 170-84 (.669).



Scouting Washington State
The host Cougars are 3-3 on the season after dropping matches to Idaho, Notre Dame and Eastern Washington at the Idaho Volleyball Classic this past weekend, and have a home match against Gonzaga on Wednesday, Sept. 10, before hosting the Cougar Challenge. After finishing 10-22 and 1-17 in Pac-10 play in 2007, Washington State brought in head coach Andrew Palileo who had compiled a 239-139 mark in 11 seasons at South Dakota State. The Cougars have eight players who have recorded double-digit kill totals, led by senior middle blocker Emily Rooney's 70 and 55 from junior outside hitter Jackie Albright. Rooney also leads the squad in both solo blocks (five) and total blocks (26), with sophomore middle blocker Brittany Tillman providing a spark with 32 kills and 25 total blocks on the year. Junior setter Renee Bordelon is averaging 8.28 assists per set while junior libero Kelly Hyder has added 3.73 digs per set.

Series Information
It will be a weekend of firsts for Northwestern, as the Wildcats will face both Wichita State and Washington State for the first time. NU is 1-1 all-time against Montana State, as the `Cats won the first-ever meeting 3-0 in 1985 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Bobcats returned the favor with a 3-0 victory at the Ball State Volleyball Challenge in 1990.

Nobilio, Glab Pick Up Dayton Flyer All-Tournament Honors
After helping Northwestern to a 2-1 output at the Dayton Flyer Tournament, junior Kate Nobilio and sophomore Elyse Glab were named to the all-tournament team. Nobilio recorded 73 digs over the three matches, including a school-record 38 against the host Flyers, to average 6.64 digs per set, while Glab registered 101 assists, averaging 9.18 per set. She also set new career highs in kills (six), attempts (19) and hitting percentage (.316) in the match against Dayton. It is the second time this season Glab has picked up all-tournament honors, being named to the Chicagoland Challenge all-tournament team on Aug. 30 as well.

Trio of `Cats Among National Leaders
While the season may only be a couple of weeks old, a trio of Wildcats are already making their mark on the national scene. Junior libero Kate Nobilio ranks third nationally in digs per set at 6.28, trailing just Northern Arizona's Brittany Stowers (6.55) and Northern Iowa's Ellie Blankenship (6.37). Sophomore Sabel Moffett tied for 15th in the nation in both blocks per set (1.50) and hitting percentage (.452) with sophomore Elyse Glab checking in at 29th nationally in assists per set (10.83). All three are also ranked among the Big Ten leaders in their respective categories as well.

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