Nov. 18, 2003
NKU PLAYS FINDLAY IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
Norse (24-11) face talented Oilers (29-7) for third time this season
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University volleyball team will meet the University of Findlay at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament at Marquette, Mich.
NKU enters the NCAA Division II Tournament with a 24-11 record, and the Norse are the No. 5 seed in the Great Lakes Regional. Findlay - which defeated NKU twice during the regular season - is the No. 4 seed and owns a 29-7 record.
Unbeaten Northern Michigan University (26-0) is the No. 1 seed and host for the Great Lakes Regional, which will be held in Vandament Arena. The Wildcats won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship on Saturday with a five-game victory against Grand Valley State University.
If NKU defeats Findlay, the Norse will meet Northern Michigan at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The championship match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and the winner will advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Dec. 4-6.
NKUS NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: NKU is making its seventh trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Norses best finish came in 1999, when they advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four.
NKU missed out on last years NCAA Tournament, snapping a streak of five consecutive trips to the postseason.
ABOUT THE NORSE: NKU features Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year Kristin Koralewski, who has recorded a team-leading 525 kills and 457 digs this season. Koralewski has been named GLVC Player of the Week three times this season, and she also earned AVCA National Player of the Week honors in September.
She has also recorded 25 double-doubles this season and leads the team in hitting percentage at .340. In addition, Koralewski has 54 service aces this fall.
Senior right-side hitter Cammi Welter earned first team All-GLVC honors this season. Welter enters the NCAA Tournament with 467 kills and 89 blocks. Senior outside hitter Nicole Salisbury, a second team All-GLVC selection, has 425 kills and 383 digs.
Senior setter Sara Taylor averages 14.59 assists per game, and sophomore middle hitter Kaliana Kalache has 249 kills and a team-leading 106 blocks. Junior middle hitter Maggie Pugh is hitting .309 with 212 kills.
NKU AGAINST THE GREAT LAKES REGION FIELD: NKU is 1-0 against Grand Valley State, 1-0 against Wheeling Jesuit, 0-2 against Findlay and 1-1 against Indianapolis. The Norse did not play Northern Michigan this season.
THE LAST TIME AGAINST FINDLAY: On Sept. 24, 2003, Kara Heitmeyer recorded 21 kills and a .395 hitting percentage as Findlay defeated NKU, 30-27, 30-24, 27-30, 30-19, in Regents Hall. Kelly Pohlman and Kristin Couts each added 12 kills as the Oilers defeated NKU for the second time this season and snapped the Norse's win streak at nine. Setter Kelly Byrnes had 54 assists and nine digs as Findlay finished with a .350 hitting percentage.
Kristin Koralewski finished with 26 kills, a .458 hitting percentage and 18 digs to lead NKU, which had its 13-match win streak in Regents Hall snapped. She also had nine kills during the third game when the Norse pulled out a 30-27 win and sliced Findlay's lead in the match to 2-1.
In the fourth game, however, Findlay built a 26-13 lead and was never threatened. The Oilers - who now own a 2-1 lead in the all-time series with NKU - hit .350 in the fourth game with 16 kills and two errors in 40 attempts.
In the first meeting this season, Heitmeyer recorded 23 kills to lead Findlay past NKU, 30-24, 30-20, 26-30, 30-23, at Findlay, Ohio. Erin Puthoff added 19 kills and a .389 hitting percentage as the Oilers picked up the regional victory. NKU hit just .126 against Findlay and lost the blocking battle by a 29-4 margin.
NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional
(at Marquette, Mich.)
Thurs., Nov. 20
#3 Grand Valley State (26-7) vs. #6 Indianapolis (29-10) , 5 p.m.
#4 Findlay (29-7) vs. #5 Northern Kentucky (24-11), 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 21
#2 Wheeling Jesuit (38-2) vs. Grand Valley State/Indianapolis winner, 5 p.m.
#1 Northern Michigan (26-0) vs. Findlay/Northern Kentucky winner, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 22
Championship, 7:30 p.m.