Friday - vs. Ashland, 7 p.m.
Saturday - vs. Lake Erie, 3 p.m.
*The Opening Serve: The nationally-ranked Ferris State University women's volleyball team returns home for a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) matches this weekend inside the Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids. FSU hosts Ashland in league play on Friday (Oct. 5) night at 7 p.m. (ET) followed by a Saturday (Oct. 6) afternoon encounter with Lake Erie starting at 3 p.m. (ET).
*The Opening Serve: The Bulldogs will continue to celebrate their 40th season of intercollegiate volleyball by recognizing the 25th anniversary of the 1987 NCAA Division II Final Four team on Saturday between the second and third sets. Members of the '87 Bulldogs will be on hand for the presentation along with former head coach Jill Hirschinger, who's currently the head coach at NCAA Division I New Hampshire.
*Media Coverage: A live pay-per-view video webcast will be offered for Friday's match in addition to live internet statistics for both weekend matches. Visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for links to all available coverage.
* Ticket Information: Tickets for all home matches are sold at the door beginning one hour prior to match time. Adult tickets are $5 for home contests while senior citizens (65+), FSU faculty/staff and students in grades K-12 are $3 each. Ferris State students are admitted free by showing their student ID cards.
*The 40th Season: The 2012 campaign represents Ferris State's 40th season of women's volleyball. The Bulldogs own an all-time record of 847-468 (.644). Since the program's inception in 1973, the Bulldogs have won 10 GLIAC titles, qualified 16 times for the NCAA-II Tournament and registered 32 winning seasons. FSU needs three wins to notch its 850th all-time victory.
*2012 Record: Ferris State is currently 12-3 overall and 6-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) North Division to date.
*The Coach: FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm (Alma, 1990) is midst her 17th year at Ferris State. Brandel-Wilhelm ranks among the nation's top active coaches with a 463-187 (.712) career record. She holds a record of 345-167 (.674) at the Bulldog helm. Brandel-Wilhelm entered the 2012 campaign as Ferris State's all-time winningest coach. She became the program's fifth head coach in June 1996.
*Last Week: The Bulldogs swept three league road matches last week. FSU topped archrival Grand Valley State in a 3-2 thriller in Allendale on Tuesday (Sept. 25) followed by two wins in Ohio over Tiffin and Ohio Dominican on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 28-29), respectively.
*All-Tourney Honors: The Bulldogs had several players earn all-tournament team honors in two events to open the 2012 campaign. Senior middle hitter Anne Sutton (Grand Rapids/Northview) and junior middle hitter Angi Kent (Lansing/Waverly) both were among the 12 individuals named to the Ferris State Invitational All-Tournament Team (Aug. 31-Sept. 1). Two FSU players claimed all-tournament team accolades the following week at the Minnesota-Duluth Classic (Sept. 7-8) as Sutton and sophomore outside hitter Courtney Rehm (Portage/Central) both were recognized.
*National Rankings: Ferris State is currently ranked 21st nationally this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II National Poll. FSU, which was ranked 14th in the preseason poll, is the only GLIAC member school found in the top 25 nationally. The Bulldogs moved up one spot this week after the three wins a week ago.
*Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs will compete in the 2012 GLIAC/Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Crossover Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13, in Aurora, Ill. Official matchups for the regional event will be announced following weekend action.
*4,000 Assists: Senior setter Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt) currently ranks fourth in school history with 4,080 career assists and needs 331 more to catch former Bulldog Ashley Green's third-place career total fo 4,411 total assists. Fordyce notched her 4,000th career assist in last week's road win at Grand Valley State.
*2012 GLIAC Volleyball Preseason Poll: Ferris State was selected first in the 2012 GLIAC Preseason North Division Coaches Poll. The Bulldogs captured 10 first-place votes and 211 total points as the favorite in the 16-team league. FSU, which won the GLIAC North Division a year ago, was tabbed to finish ahead of defending conference tournament champion Hillsdale. The Chargers came in second with 193 points and three first-place votes.
*2012 FSU Roster: Ferris State's 2012 active roster includes six seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and six freshmen. Seven of the 18 players are middle hitters, seven are outside hitters and the four others fill the squad's setter, defensive specialist and libero roles. All but two members of the team are from Michigan.
*Ewigleben Sports Arena: The Bulldogs have compiled a 312-83 (.790) record to date in 31 seasons of competition at the Ewigleben Sports Arena since moving from the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Building in 1981. Ferris, which has accumulated six undefeated home seasons in the facility, produced a 15-1 home ledger in 2011. Overall, Ferris is 165-43 (.793) in home matches under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.
*2011 Record: The Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship while also reaching the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals in 2011 with a 27-4 overall record. Ferris State finished as league co-champions after posting an 18-1 conference mark under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs appeared in their 14th straight GLIAC Tournament a season ago.
*All-Conference Returners: Ferris State has three All-GLIAC performers from last season's squad returning. Senior setter Samantha Fordyce and senior middle hitter Anne Sutton were chosen as first team All-GLIAC picks a year ago while sophomore middle hitter Courtney Rehm earned second team status and was the GLIAC's Freshman of the Year. Meanwhile, senior outside hitter Aly Brecht (Alma) wan an honorable mention choice a year ago.
*Yearbook Available Online: The 2012 Ferris State University Women's Yearbook will be available to view online in a PDF format this week. The publication features such information as 2012 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2011 season statistics, career and season statistical records, series records, game records, etc.
*GLIAC Standing/Schedule: Fans can view the complete 2012 GLIAC Standings for both the North and South Divisions along with a composite schedule on the GLIAC website at www.gliac.org.
*Bulldog Bites: Junior setter Samantha Fordyce leads the team in assists with 547 total helpers thus far in the season … Ferris State has 681 total kills while opponents are currently at 680 kills … Defensively, the Bulldogs have racked up 119.5 total blocks, 42 block solos and 155 block assists … Junior middle hitter Angi Kent has a team-leading 42 total blocks of which 41 are assisted efforts … Junior libero Brandie Merren (Hopkins) has 264 digs for the 2012 campaign and is averaging 4.80 digs per set.
*Productive Span: Ferris State has won 20 or more matches 10 times under 17th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs have reached the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament seven times in that span and advanced to the GLIAC Tournament the last 14 consecutive years to date.
*Key Statistics: Ferris State leads the GLIAC and ranks eighth in the nation to date in attack percentage with a .271 hitting figure thus far this season ...... Bulldog senior Anne Sutton tops the conference chart with a league-leading .392 hitting figure while Samantha Fordyce leads the league in assists (9.95 p/set) ...... Brandie Merren is second in the league in digs (4.80 p/set).
*This Weekend's Opposition:
Ashland: The Bulldogs hold a 17-4 overall series rmark against the Eagles. Ferris State is 8-1 at home and 9-3 on the road versus the Eagles. Last season, the Bulldogs recorded a 3-0 regular-season road win at Ashland and then topped the Eagles 3-0 in the GLIAC Tourney Semifinals (11/12/11) at Big Rapids. Ashland currently holds a 13-2 overall mark and is 6-1 in the GLIAC to date. This is the second season for Ashland head coach Cass Dixon.
Lake Erie: Ferris State has a 2-0 edge over Lake Erie in the all-time series. The Bulldogs faced the Storm once in the 2010 campaign with a 3-0 victory at home (10/3/10 and then defeated Lake Erie 3-0 on the road a year ago (10/7/11). Lake Erie currently holds a 3-10 overall and 0-7 GLIAC record in the conference's south division. Megan Florence is serving as the Storm's interim head coach.