Friday - at Lake Superior State, 7 p.m.
Saturday - at Saginaw Valley State, 2 p.m.
*The Opening Serve: The Ferris State University women's volleyball team hits the road for two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) matches this weekend. FSU visits Lake Superior State on Friday (Nov. 2) at 7 p.m. (ET) before facing Saginaw Valley State on Saturday (Nov. 3) at 2 p.m. (ET).
*2012 Record: Ferris State is currently 19-6 overall and 12-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) North Division to date. FSU has won 13 of its last 16 matches to date this year.
* The Regional Rankings: The Bulldogs were listed third in this week's (Oct. 29) first NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Rankings of the year behind top-ranked Indianapolis and Northwood. The rankings were the first regional listing of the season. The top eight teams at the end of the year earn berths into the NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championships at a site to be announced.
*Near The Top: The Bulldogs enter their final four league regular-season matches in second place in the GLIAC North Division standings. FSU's 12-2 conference mark trails only Northwood (14-0) for the best in the league. The two teams will meet in the season finale on Nov. 10 in Big Rapids.
*Last Three Outings: The Bulldogs won a pair of league home matches last weekend with wins over Michigan Tech on Friday (Oct. 26) and Northern Michigan on Saturday (Oct. 27). However, the Bulldogs fell to rival Grand Valley State at home on Tuesday (Oct. 30) before a capacity crowd inside FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena.
* The GLIAC Tourney: The 2012 GLIAC Tournament will open on Wednesday, Nov. 14, with four teams hosting quarterfinal-round matches. The semifinals/finals will take place on Nov. 17-18 at the site of the highest remaining seed. Official tournament pairings and sites will be announced by the league office following the conclusion of regular-season play.
*Media Coverage: Visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for links to all available coverage. Live internet statistics will be offered for both matches this weekend.
*The 40th Season: The 2012 campaign represents Ferris State's 40th season of women's volleyball. The Bulldogs own an all-time record of 854-471 (.645). 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.
*850th Win: The Bulldogs notched the program's 850th all-time victory with a win over Southern Indiana on Oct. 13 at the Mizuno GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament.
*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 470-190 (.712) career record. She holds a record of 352-170 (.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. Brandel-Wilhelm notched her 350th win at the Ferris State helm last Saturday at Wayne State.
*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 25th nationally this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II National Poll. FSU was ranked 14th in the preseason poll.
*Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs play their final two league regular-season matches at home next weekend as FSU hosts Hillsdale on Friday, Nov. 9, and then takes on Northwood on Saturday, Nov. 10. The conference tournament begins with quarterfinal-round play on Nov. 14.
*4,000 Assists: Senior setter Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt) moved past former Bulldog Ashley Green into third place on the school's all-time assists leaders list in Tuesday's loss to Grand Valley State. Fordyce currently has 4,415 career assists to date. She notched her 4,000th career assist in FSU's road win at Grand Valley State (Sept. 25).
*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 316-84 (.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 169-44 (.793) in home matches under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. FSU hosted its 400th all-time match in the facility in Tuesday's setback to GVSU.
*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 882 total helpers thus far in the season … Ferris State has 1,094 total kills while opponents are currently at 1,149 kills … Defensively, the Bulldogs have racked up 205.5 total blocks, 83 block solos and 245 block assists … Senior middle hitter Anne Sutton has a team-leading 67 total blocks to date with 57 coming on assisted efforts … Junior libero Brandie Merren (Hopkins) has 422 digs for the 2012 campaign and is averaging 4.59 digs per set ....... FSU's Anne Sutton has tallied 10 or more kills in 14 outings this season to date.
*Productive Span: Ferris State has won 20 or more matches 10 times under 17th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. FSU is presently one win shy of reaching the mark again this season. 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.
*Ninth In Nation: Senior middle hitter Anne Sutton presently ranks sninth in the nation to date in attack percentage with a .403 season figure. As a team, Ferris State is 18th in the country in hitting percentage as the Bulldogs own a .23 mark overall to date this year.
*Worth Noting: FSU is currently 8-2 at home to date this season.
*Key Statistics: Ferris State leads the GLIAC and ranks 18th in the nation to date in attack percentage with a .253 hitting figure thus far this season ...... FSU is third in the league in blocks along with fourth in both service aces and digs ...... Bulldog senior Anne Sutton tops the conference chart with a league-leading .403 hitting figure while Samantha Fordyce is fourth in the league in assists (9.62 p/set) ...... Brandie Merren is third in the league in digs (4.54 p/set) ... Courtney Rehm is fifth in the GLIAC in service aces (.41 p/set) while Angi Kent is fifth in hitting percentage (.328).
*This Weekend's Opposition:
Lake Superior State: Ferris State and Lake Superior will meet for the 85th time as the Bulldogs hold a 67-17 all-time series advantage over the Lakers. Ferris State beat the Lakers twice last year by scores of 3-0 in Big Rapids and 3-1 in Sault Ste. Marie. Ferris State's record is currently 35-4 at home against Lake Superior and stands at 32-13 when playing in Sault Ste. Marie. Lake Superior State head coach Ben Kaszeta is in his second season with the squad. LSSU is currently 4-21 on the 2011 season and 1-13 in GLIAC competition.
Saginaw Valley State: Ferris State holds a 53-12 all-times series edge against the Cardinals. The Bulldogs are 27-5 at home and 25-7 when facing SVSU on the road in University Center. Ferris State swept Saginaw Valley State by identical 3-0 scores in league regular-season play last year and pulled out a 3-2 win over the Cardinals in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This is the 10th season at the helm for Saginaw Valley State women's volleyball head coach Will Stanton. SVSU currently holds a 11-15 overall record and is 6-8 in the GLIAC entering the week.