Friday - vs. Hillsdale, 7 p.m.
Saturday - vs. Northwood, 3 p.m.
*The Opening Serve: The Ferris State University women's volleyball team will play its final two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) regular-season matches at home this weekend. FSU hosts Hillsdale on Friday (Nov. 9) evening at 7 p.m. (ET) inside the Ewigleben Sports Arena before squaring off with league leader Northwood on Saturday (Nov. 10) at 3 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids.
* 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 Opening Serve: The Bulldogs have also officially secured a quarterfinal-round home match for the upcoming GLIAC Tournament and will host an opponent to be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. (ET).
*Media Coverage: Visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for links to all available coverage. There will be no live video webcast for either match this weekend, but live internet statistics will be offered for both contests. A live video webcast will be offered for next Wednesday's league tournament quarterfinal.
*Senior Day Saturday: Ferris State will honor six seniors prior to their final regular-season home matches on Saturday inside the Ewigleben Sports Arena. The senior group includes Aly Brecht, Samantha Fordyce, Brianna Grover, Lindsey Miller, Anne Sutton and Paige Wyers. Together, they've helped the Bulldogs to 85 victories over the past four campaigns to date.
*2012 Record: Ferris State is currently 21-6 overall and 14-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) North Division to date. FSU has won 15 of its last 18 matches to date this year.
* The Regional Rankings: The Bulldogs remain third in this week's (Nov. 7) second NCAA Division II Midwest Regional rankings behind Indianapolis and Northwood. Behind FSU are Grand Valley State, Lewis (Ill.) and Hillsdale in the top six overall. 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 two league regular-season matches in second place in the GLIAC North Division standings. FSU's 14-2 conference mark trails only Northwood (16-0) for the best in the league. The Bulldogs need two wins this weekend along with a pair of Northwood losses in order to tie for the divisional crown, in which the Bulldogs would own the tiebreaker for the league's number one seed.
* The GLIAC Tourney: The 2012 GLIAC Tournament will open on Wednesday, Nov. 14, with four teams hosting quarterfinal-round matches. Ferris State has clinched a tournament home match in the opening round and it will be played against an opponent to be announced on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (ET). 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 this weekend.
* Looking At The Tourney: Ferris State and Northwood are the only two teams in the conference that have officially clinched both a GLIAC Tournament berth and a quarterfinal-round home match heading into this weekend. The eight-team field is already set, but the seeding could be impacted by the outcome of this week's results.
*Last Three Outings: The Bulldogs won a pair of league road matches last weekend with wins over Lake Superior State (Nov. 2) and Saginaw Valley State (Nov. 3) by scores of 3-0 and 3-1, respectively. FSU bounced back from a home setback on Tuesday (Oct. 30) versus rival Grand Valley State to win the two league encounters.
*The 40th Season: The 2012 campaign represents Ferris State's 40th season of women's volleyball. The Bulldogs own an all-time record of 856-471 (.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 472-190 (.713) career record. She holds a record of 354-170 (.676) 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 not ranked this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II National Poll, but is among other teams receiving votes. FSU was ranked 14th in the preseason poll.
*Looking Ahead: The GLIAC Tournament quarterfinals are slated for Wednesday, Nov. 14, with the semifinals and finals on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17-18. The NCAA Division II Midwest Regional will be Nov. 29- Dec. 2. The official NCAA selections will be made on Nov. 18 at 10 p.m. (ET) at www.ncaa.com.
*20 Wins Again: This year marks the 11th time the Bulldogs have won 20 or more matches in a season 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 15 consecutive years to date.
*Assisting Others: Senior setter Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt) moved past former Bulldog Ashley Green into third place on the school's all-time assists leaders list in FSU's home loss to Grand Valley State (Oct. 30). Fordyce currently has 4,501 career assists to date and notched her 4,500th assist on Saturday at Saginaw Valley State. 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 968 total helpers thus far in the season … Ferris State has 1,193 total kills while opponents are currently at 1,246 kills … Defensively, the Bulldogs have racked up 218.5 total blocks, 89 block solos and 259 block assists … Senior middle hitter Anne Sutton has a team-leading 70 total blocks to date with 59 coming on assisted efforts … Junior libero Brandie Merren (Hopkins) has 450 digs for the 2012 campaign and is averaging 4.55 digs per set ....... FSU's Anne Sutton has tallied 10 or more kills in 16 outings this season to date.
*Ninth In Nation: Senior middle hitter Anne Sutton presently ranks 11th in the nation to date in attack percentage with a .396 season figure. As a team, Ferris State is 26th in the country in hitting percentage as the Bulldogs own a .246 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 26th in the nation to date in attack percentage with a .246 hitting figure thus far this season ...... FSU is second in the league in digs along with fourth in blocks ...... Bulldog senior Anne Sutton tops the conference chart with a league-leading .396 hitting figure while Samantha Fordyce is fourth in the league in assists (9.78 p/set) ...... Brandie Merren is third in the league in digs (4.56 p/set) ... Courtney Rehm is sixth in the GLIAC in service aces (.38 p/set) while Angi Kent is fifth in hitting percentage (.319).
*This Weekend's Opposition:
Hillsdale: Ferris State and Hillsdale will meet for the 65th time with the Bulldogs holding a 50-15 all-time series advantage over the Chargers. The two teams split two matches last season with FSU winning 3-0 in regular-season play and the Chargers taking a 3-0 win in Big Rapids in the GLIAC Tournament title match. FSU posted a 3-0 road win earlier this year at Hillsdale (Sept. 15). Ferris State's record is currently 24-3 at home against Hillsdale and stands at 26-12 when playing against the Chargers in Hillsdale. The Charger squad is led by Chris Gravel who is in his 17th season at the position. HC is currently 15-12 overall and 11-5 in the GLIAC heading into the week after a 1-7 start to the year.
Northwood: The Timberwolves are currently 22-5 overall this season 16-0 in the GLIAC. They are listed 26th and just outside of the top 25 in this week's AVCA Division II National Poll. Eighth-year head Coach Tim Koth's squad has won seven consecutive matches to date this season. The Bulldogs own a 32-22 all-time series' edge over the Timberwolves, who face Grand Valley State on Friday night before taking on the Bulldogs.