TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE | LIVONIA, Mich. – The 16th-ranked Madonna University volleyball team finished the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference regular season unbeaten for the seventh time in program history to secure the tournament's top seed. The Crusaders will host fourth seed Lourdes University on Friday at 7:30 p.m. with the winner punching their ticket to the NAIA National Tournament and a spot in the WHAC Championship.
The WHAC volleyball final four, which will be hosted at the MU Activities Center begins at 5 p.m. on Friday night as second-seeded Cornerstone University battles fourth seed Siena Heights University. Three of the four teams come out of the West Division while the Crusaders represent the conference's East Division.
MATCHUP: No. 16 Madonna (29-3) vs. Lourdes (20-10)
ALL-TIME SERIES: Madonna leads series 7-5
LAST MEETING: Nov. 21, 2017, Livonia, Mich. - MU 3, LU 1
LAST POSTSEASON MEETING: Nov. 14, 2015, Sylvania, Ohio - LU 3, MU 0 (WHAC Championship)
TOURNAMENT RECORD VS. LU: 1-1
MADONNA IN WHAC TOURNAMENT: 21-6 (since 2005)
LIVE COVERAGE: Live video and stats are available at www.madonnacrusaders.com/live.
Due to postseason requirements, all fans will be required to pay admissions to watch the match. Adults will cost $7 with students (8 years and older) and seniors (55 and over) charged $5 each. Thanks to Madonna's Student Senate, the first 50 students will be allowed free entry with ID.
The Gray Wolves enter play with a 10-5 mark in the the WHAC tournament since joining the conference in 2011. They've captured the last two WHAC tournament titles and were the runner-up in 2013. Lourdes has five players who have attempted at least 500 attacks this season with Kristin Murrell leading the team with 259 kills. Genessee Tate has 247 while Tylar Roberson (222) and Emily Arnold (205) also have more than 200 kills this season.
Jami Markus leads the team with 674 assists (7.84 per set) while Angelica Dippold leads the back row with 496 digs (5.45 per set). Tate is coming off a career-high 22 kills in the quarterfinal win over Aquinas that saw the Gray Wolves win 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22).
SCOUTING THE OTHER SEMIFINAL
Cornerstone enters the tournament having won 11 straight matches since a loss to Madonna in Oct. Kendra Zwart leads the Golden Eagles in with 415 kills and is hitting .353 while Hope Leppink has tallied 1,292 assists. Maria Ma has posted 38 service aces and Mackenzie Vallad leads the back row defensively with 539 digs while Zwart has collected 148 blocks.
Siena Heights defeated UNOH in four sets in the quarterfinals and have been led on offense by Christine Tylutki (292 kills) as well as Amanda Metz (979 assists, 36 aces). Defensively, Gabby Kalugar has led the back row with 620 digs while Elizabeth Breton leads the team at the net with 121 blocks.
HISTORY VS. GRAY WOLVES
Madonna snapped a four-match losing streak in the series with a 3-1 win at the MU Activities Center on senior day, Oct. 21. In that match Amanda Hawkins (SR/Livonia, Mich.) tallied 19 kills and hit .324 with five blocks and four digs while Karlie Kelly (SR/Romeo, Mich.) added 12 kills, 10 digs and two blocks.
The Crusaders hold a 5-1 advantage in home contests with the lone loss coming Oct. 4, 2014 in five sets. The team's last playoff meeting was Nov. 14, 2015 in the WHAC Championship in Sylvania, Ohio, a 3-0 LU win as both teams earned bids to the national tournament.
CRUSADERS STATISTICAL NAIA RANKINGS
Madonna is ranked in the NAIA-Top 50 in seven different categories including assists per game (11th, 12.71), hitting percentage (15th, .247) and kills per game (15th, 13.56).
Lauren Korth (JR/Romeo, Mich.) headlines three Crusaders who rank in the top-50 in seven different categories as she ranks seventh in assists per game (11.19) and 14th in total assists (1,276). Hawkins is ranked in four categories, highlighted by two in the top 15 as she is 13th in total blocks (132) and 15th in hitting percentage (.350). Kelly is ranked in two categories with one in the top 15, total kills (430). For the complete list, click here.
NAIA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
The winners of both semifinal matches will receive an automatic bid to the 2017 NAIA Volleyball National Championship as Madonna will be looking to make its sixth straight appearance and 17th in school history. The Opening Round matches are set for Nov. 18 at campus sites with the final site held Nov. 28-Dec. 2 at Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
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