The Emory volleyball team returns to action this Friday and Saturday (Sept. 8-9) when it hosts the Emory Classic. Five other teams join the Eagles for the two-day tourney with the slate of matches as follows.
Friday, Sept. 8
2:00 pm – DeSales vs. Howard Payne
4:30 pm – Emory vs. Howard Payne
4:30 pm – Chapman vs. Millsaps
7:00 pm – Emory vs. Chapman
7:00 pm – DeSales vs. Covenant
Saturday, Sept. 9
10:00 am – Covenant College vs. Howard Payne
10:00 am – Millsaps vs. DeSales
12:30 pm – Emory vs. Millsaps
12:30 pm – Howard Payne vs. Chapman
3:00 pm – Emory vs. DeSales
3:00 pm – Covenant vs. Chapman
Emory begins the weekend as the No. 5-ranked D-III program in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll.
THE COACHES – Emory head coach Jenny McDowell (Georgia, '89) is in her 22nd year at the helm of the Eagles' program with a school and career mark of 687-154. She has 18 campaigns of 30 or more wins, and has directed the program to 21 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. She has steered the Eagles to five berths to the national semifinals and has a national championship to her credit in 2008.
2017 represents the fourth year that Colleen Westfall (Howard Payne, '08) has directed the fortunes of the Howard Payne program.
The longest-tenured head coach in Chapman history, Mary Cahill is in her 29th season in calling the shots for the Panthers. Cahill has enjoyed considerable success at Chapman compiling a school and career ledger of 441-357.
Jaime Fisher (Mississippi, '02) is in her second stint as head coach, which has spanned 11 seasons, at Millsaps.
Now in her 13th year as the head coach at DeSales, Michele Zabinski (Slippery Rock, '04) brings a school and career won-lost mark of 232-163 into the Emory Classic. The all-time wins leader at DeSales, Zabinski has guided the program to seven seasons of 20 or more wins.
2017 RECORDS – Emory sports a 2-1 record after opening the season at the Wittenberg National Invitational. The Eagles notched a 3-1 victory over Johns Hopkins before splitting a pair of contests on the final day of action, dropping a 3-2 verdict to No. 11 Wittenberg before rallying for a 3-2 decision against Illinois Wesleyan.
Howard Payne comes to town with a 2-2 showing through four matches. The Yellow Jackets, a member of the American Southwest Conference, competed at the Austin College Tournament last weekend, defeating Centenary College and Paul Quinn College while falling short against Lawrence University and Austin College.
Chapman claims a 2-2 record after its appearance at the Pacific Coast Classic. The Panthers bested Texas Lutheran and MCLA while being defeated by Bethel (MN) and Millikin. Chapman is a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Millsaps stands 2-2 after hosting its Invitational last weekend. The Majors compete in the Southern Athletic Association.
MAC Freedom Conference member DeSales is off to a good start, winning four of its first five matches. In their most recent outing, the Bulldogs topped Moravian, 3-0, on Wednesday.
SERIES RECORDS – Emory's matches against Howard Payne and DeSales will represent the first time the Eagles have met those schools.
Emory posts an all-time mark of 5-0 vs. Millsaps (last meeting in 2015) and a 3-1 effort against Chapman (Emory won the last meeting in 2011, 3-0, at Cal Lutheran).
EAGLES EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS AT WITTENBERG – Emory had two representatives on the all-tournament team at the Wittenberg National Invitational with sophomore Morgan McKnight (Manassas, VA) and freshman Leah Saunders (Simpsonville, SC) being recognized for their play.
The 5-foot-10 McKnight led the Emory offensive attack from her outside hitting post, averaging 2.71 kills over 14 sets of play. She posted double-figure terminations in all three matches and led the squad in that category on two occasions.
The 5-foot-8 Saunders saw action in all 14 sets and totaled 25 kills, including 11 against Illinois Wesleyan.
THOMPSON EARNS UAA DEFENSIVE HONOR – Sophomore Elyse Thompson (Tallahassee, FL) was tabbed as the University Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Week after coming through with a big weekend at the Wittenberg Invitational.
The 5-foot-7 libero averaged a team-high 6.57 digs over 14 sets and led the Eagles in that department in all three outings. One of her performances saw her tie the school's individual match record when she finished with 35 digs in the Illinois Wesleyan match.
NOTES – Sophomore Sara Carr (Birmingham, AL) pounded out a career-best 16 kills in the five-set battle against Wittenberg … Junior Mady Arles (Richmond, VA) recorded a personal-best 32 assists in the Illinois Wesleyan match … Junior Sydney Leimbach (Atlanta) closed out last weekend with a total of 29 kills, boosting her career total to 360 … Her 10-kills outing vs. Wittenberg marked her 10th career performance of double-figure terminations.
EMORY CAPTAINS – Serving as the captains for the 2017 Emory volleyball team are senior Hannah Billings (Shawnee, KS), and junior Sydney Leimbach (Atlanta, GA).
NEW FACES ON THE EMORY ROSTER – Seven talented freshmen comprise this year's 21-player roster with those rookies being: Jessica Schwenke (Austin, TX), Murphy Powell (Lexington, KY), Logan van Reken (Las Vegas, NV), Leah Saunders (Simpsonville, SC), Finn Wilkins (Scottsdale, AZ), Haley Stevenson (Libertyville, IL) and Maggie Rimmel (Pittsburgh, PA).