SCAC Women's Volleyball Tournament Preview

SCAC Women's Volleyball Tournament Preview

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Colorado College plays host to the 2012 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball Championship in newly-renovated Reid Arena on Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3. Official Tournament Website

The host school and top-seeded Tigers (21-9 overall; 8-2 SCAC), currently ranked No. 19 nationally, look to win their third straight SCAC tournament title and earn the program its 15th consecutive bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.

Colorado College head coach Rick Swan is led by his senior co-captain and outside hitter Laura Goldsmith who is averaging 4.31 digs and 1.83 kills per set, including 3.00 kills per set and a .234 hitting percentage during conference play. She was an all-tournament selection a year ago. Two talented first-year players – outside hitter Emily Phillips and opposite Courtney Birkett – have provided instant and valuable contributions. Phillips has been one of the Tigers' most consistent all-around players this season. Phillips led the team in points earned with 307 while averaging 3.09 kills per set with an attacking percentage of .277 in SCAC competition. Birkett, who is one of three Tigers that play all six rotations, is second on the team with 247 earned points while averaging 2.86 kills per set with an attacking percentage of .234 in SCAC competition. Interview with Rick Swan

Playing one of the tougher Division III schedules in the nation, second-seeded Trinity University (19-14 overall; 8-2 SCAC) started the season 0-8 but rebounded to win 19 of its last 25 matches. As Colorado College pushes for its third straight conference championship, consecutive titles were once old hat for the Texas Tigers. Head coach Julie Jenkins' squad won 11 consecutive SCAC titles from 1998-2008, but have been held without the season-ending hardware since.

If Trinity hopes to break from its mini title slump, the Tigers will need a big weekend from senior libero Meredith Erwin and sophomore outside hitter Layne Hubbard.  Erwin leads the team in passing average (2.49), digs (3.97 per set), and aces (39), and broke Trinity's career record for digs this season. Hubbard is currently second on the team in kills (2.89 per set), digs (3.48) and passing average (2.40). She is also the only player in the SCAC ranked in the top 10 in both kills and digs this season. Interview with Julie Jenkins

Third-seeded Southwestern University (22-10 overall; 7-3 SCAC) dropped out of the national Top 25 rankings for the first time since Week 2 after splitting its final four conference matches. Outside hitter Rachel Thibodeau is head coach Hannah Long's lone remaining piece from the Pirates' last conference-winning squad (2009) and the senior co-captain hopes to bookend her career with another SCAC championship. Thibodeau, the league's lone returning First Team All-SCAC performer, is currently leading the conference in kills per set (3.39) while hitting .207 (.217 in conference place). Sophomore libero Chandler Lentz and first-year outside hitter Katie Foster have also played key roles for Southwestern this season. Lentz is second in the conference in digs (5.08 per set) and sixth in service aces (0.34 per set). Foster, who has been starting as a freshman since the second week of the season, is second on the team and sixth in the league in digs per set (4.27). Interview with Hannah Long

Austin College (23-12 overall; 5-5 SCAC) is arguably playing its best volleyball of the season heading into the conference championships. The fourth-seeded Kangaroos have won three of their last four SCAC matches, including a 3-0 sweep of top-seeded Colorado College on Oct. 20, and seven of their last eight matches overall. Head Coach Ed Garza, who celebrated his 500th career win this past weekend, will need continued quality play from senior libero Adrienne Reynolds, who has lead the team in digs for the last two years and is the program's career leader in that category. She currently sits atop the conference in digs (6.14 per set) and is on pace for the fourth-highest single season digs per set average in conference history. Junior outside hitter Shelby Eaves leads the team and the conference in kills (407) and is third in the conference in kills per set (3.31). Interview with Ed Garza

Sophomore middle blocker Emily Caples leads fifth-seeded University of Dallas (17-19 overall; 2-8 SCAC) into this weekend's conference tournament. The stat-sheet stuffing second-year player is currently ranked in the top 10 in the conference in hitting (.278 – first), kills (2.50 per set – 10th), aces (0.34 per set – seventh) and blocks (0.71 per set – 10th). Dallas head coach Bob Howard will also rely on the steady play of senior outside hitter Theresa Wohldmann, who is the program's all-time leader in kills and is second in the league this season with a 3.35 kills per set average. Interview with Bob Howard

Centenary College (2-29 overall; 0-10 SCAC) has had a tough season in regards to wins and losses in its first year in the SCAC, but did pick up its second win of the season in the team's last regular season match, a 3-0 sweep of Bridgewater State. Head coach Jon Stenman will need continued leadership from the team's lone senior, libero Jesi Wilcox, if the Ladies hope to make some noise in this weekend's conference tournament. Wilcox moved into third place on the Centenary single-season digs list with 462 in the team's victory over Bridgewater State. Interview with Jon Stenman (Part 1) | Interview with Jon Stenman (Part 2)

This weekend's event marks the first time the SCAC tournament will be contested at Colorado College.

Admission is free for all seven matches (See schedule below). Live video streaming and live stats also will be available for all matches at

Friday's first quarterfinal match begins at 11:30 a.m. (local time), and the championship match is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday. The tournament champion earns the league's automatic NCAA berth.

Friday, Nov. 2      
11:30 a.m. Match A   #4 Austin College vs. #5 University of Dallas
2 p.m. Match B   #3 Southwestern University vs. #6 Centenary College
4:30 p.m. Match C   #1 Colorado College vs. Winner of Match A
7 p.m. Match D   #2 Trinity University vs. Winner of Match B
Saturday, Nov. 3      
1 p.m. Match E   Loser of Match A vs. Loser of Match B
3:30 p.m. Match F   Loser of Match C vs. Loser of Match D
6 p.m. Match G   Winner of Match C vs. Winner of Match D