MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan volleyball team will play its final two matches of the 2012 season this weekend when they travel to the state of Florida to take on Central Florida and South Florida.
The Chippewas (15-13) will look to close the regular season with a pair of wins, something that most programs do not have the opportunity to do.
Scouting the Knights
Central Florida is coming off a Conference USA title game in which it lost to Tulsa in straight sets and is 16-15 overall on the season.
The Knights feature a balanced offense led junior outside hitter Angelica Crump who was a preseason All-Conference USA selection and is averaging 3.12 kills per set and has a total of 346 kills on the season. Three other players - Ashley Gianlenios, Evija Vilde and DeLaina Sarden - average over two kills per set.
UCF enters the match with a .199 hitting percentage on the year, while it has held its opponents to a clip of .193. Meredith Murphy paces the backline, having recorded 4.33 digs per set.
The Chippewas and Knights are meeting for the third time in program history, as UCF claimed wins in 2003 and 2007.
Scouting the Bulls
South Florida also fell in its conference tournament, losing a 3-1 decision to eventual Big East Tournament runner-up Marquette in the semifinals.
The Bulls enter the weekend 17-14 overall and also boast a balanced offensive attack that features two players - Erin Fairs and Kayla Walton - that have recorded at least 300 kills this season. Natalia Soares and Wylie Devlin helped guide the offense as both average over 5.5 assists per set, while the defense is led by Claudia Cabrera's 4.47 digs per set.
The meeting versus the Bulls will be the first in program history for the Chippewas.
With at least one win this weekend, the Chippewas would finish above .500 for the sixth time under head coach Erik Olson, while a pair of wins would mark the sixth time that the program has won at least 17 games in his nine season. The Chippewas had just four seasons of 17-plus wins in the previous 20 years prior to Olson's regime.
Four Earn All-MAC Honors
Sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre and junior libero Jenna Coates were each named to All-MAC first team last Thursday, while junior setter Kelly Maxwell earned second-team honors and Angelique White was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team.
For the Last Time
Four Central Michigan seniors will be playing their final matches in the Maroon and Gold as Lindsey Dulude, Val DeWeerd, Samantha Brawley and Jocelyn VerVelde will close their careers versus the Bulls. The four seniors helped lead CMU to their first MAC Tournament title in program history in 2011 and have won 65 matches entering the weekend.
Dulude has already put her stamp on the CMU record books, but with 19 digs over the last two games can become the third player in program history to record at least 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. Wendy Fast (1992-95) recorded 1,095 kills and 1,013 kills, while Emily Lovejoy (2001-04) was the second player to accomplish the feat with 1,791 kills and 1,200 digs.