At a Glance
This week's SLIAC Game of the Week is one of the longest-running series in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference when Blackburn College takes on Fontbonne University in a conference volleyball match. As two of the original SLIAC charter members, Blackburn and Fontbonne have met over 50 times on the volleyball court.
This year Blackburn and Fontbonne play the first of their two regular-season matches on Wednesday in St. Louis, Mo. at the Dunham Center on the campus of Fontbonne University. Match time is set for 7 p.m.
Blackburn College 'BEAVERS'
Blackburn enters the week with a 4-8 overall record and a 2-4 record in SLIAC play. The four wins already equal their win total from 2015, which was their most wins since an eight-win season in 2008. Blackburn is coming off a 3-0 win over Iowa Wesleyan, the programs first-ever win over the Tigers.
The Beavers, under second-year head coach Jim Hunstein, have shown growth from last year, averaging over a kill and two points more per set this season. The Beavers have also reduced their receive errors and service errors while increasing their digs per set and ranking first in the SLIAC in blocks per set. Kendall Knop leads the team with 2.83 kills per set while a pair of freshman, Kaitlyn Wiegand and Alexis McMath, follow at 1.65 and 1.48 kills per set. The Beavers improved defense is due to depth, with three players averaging at least 3.5 digs per set. Wiegand is tops on the team with 42 total blocks, good for first among SLIAC players.
Fontbonne University 'GRIFFINS'
Fontbonne comes in with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the conference. The Griffins went 2-1 last week with conference wins over MacMurray and Eureka before falling to Westminster in their last outing.
The Griffins rank 4th in the conference with a .146 team hitting percentage, averaging 9.73 kills per set. They are also among the top teams in blocks, with 64 total blocks this year. Heading up the attack is Kristina Eason, averaging 2.14 kills per set. Newcomer Victoria Curtice has stepped right into the lineup, ranking 2nd in the league with a .292 hitting percentage and 4th in total blocks. Freshman Olivia Tallo is averaging 1.89 kills and 2.57 digs per set.
Last Meeting - October 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Mo.
- Fontbonne leads the all-time series against Blackburn 47-4 and Blackburn are looking for their first win in the series since 2000.
- Blackburn has already surpassed their overall win total from last season and with their next conference win, they will have their most SLIAC wins in a season since 2008.
- Wednesday's match is part of a six-match home stretch for the Griffins. They will close out the run with matches against Webster and Principia.
- Blackburn and Fontbonne are among the youngest teams in the conference with just two seniors on Blackburn's team and Fontbonne sporting no seniors on the roster.
- Fontbonne's Victoria Curtice ranks 2nd in the SLIAC with a .292 hitting percentage.
- Blackburn features two of the top five players in terms of total blocks this season. Kaitlyn Wiegand is 1st with 42 while Shelsie Timmermeier is tied for 5th with 27.