Volleyball Plays Host To UIC Invitational

Junior Justine Garcia
Junior Justine Garcia

Aug. 30, 2012

CHICAGO – The UIC volleyball team holds its home opener Friday at 7:00 p.m. (CT) inside the Flames Athletic Center against UT-Arlington in the UIC Invitational. The two-day event features six matches, two on Friday and four on Saturday. Eastern Michigan and IPFW open the event Friday at 5:00 p.m.

SCOUTING THE FLAMES: UIC (2-1/0-0 Horizon League) opened the 2012 season at the Colgate Classic in Hamilton, N.Y. … after falling to Syracuse in a 3-2 outcome, the Flames won back-to-back matches Saturday … UIC swept Colgate and Bryant … senior outside hitter Aubrey Sniegowski (Lemont, Ill./Lemont Township) had 36 kills on the weekend for a .377 hitting percentage … she totaled nine blocks in the trio of matches … junior setter MaryKate Imrie (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) had 107 assists at 9.73 per set.

SCOUTING THE MASTODONS: IPFW (3-1/0-0 Summit League) enter the weekend after playing host to the Hyatt Place Fort Wayne/IPFW International Tournament … the Mastodons bested Murray State (3-0), Kent State (3-0) and Ball State (3-1), but fell to Horizon League opponent Cleveland State (0-3) … defensive specialist senior Tessa McGill was named the Summit League “Defensive Player of the Week” … IPFW returns for of its starters … sophomore outside hitter Emily Spencer was named the 2011 Summit League Freshman of the Year … the Flames are 2-1 against the Mastodons.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Eastern Michigan (4-1/0-0 MAC) began the season with a four-match winning streak … the Eagles defeated UALR (3-1), Southern Illinois (3-1), Austin Peay (3-0) and Memphis (3-0) at the Memphis Invitational … suffered first loss to Cleveland State, 3-2 … return 10 letterwinners from the 2011 season … lost three letterwinners, including two all-MAC first team selections … sophomore Megan Crawshaw was named to the MAC all-Freshman team … the Flames have a 4-3 edge over Eastern Michigan in the all-time series record.



SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS: UT Arlington (2-2.0-0 WAC) won the first two matches its season, defeating Savannah State (3-0) and UT Pan American … then dropped to Stephen F. Austin (0-3) and North Texas (3-2) … selected to finish eighth in the 10-team field Western Athletic Conference … sophomore Ashley Bennett leads the team in blocks with 14 … junior outside hitter Shelby Dickson has 56 kills on the season to lead the Mavericks.

LAST TIME OUT: The Flames defeated Bryant in the final match of the Colgate Classic … UIC swept the Bulldogs … senior Kelsey Safranek (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) paced the Flames with 11 kills … seniors Janise Dismuke (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) and Sniegowski had nine kills apiece … UIC compiled a .487 and .450 hitting percentage in the first two sets, respectively … the overall percentage was .354 … Dismuke hit at .444 with nine kills and only one error … she also posted five blocks, one of which was a solo block … Imrie found a weekend-best 36 assists.

Josh Wielebnicki JOINS STAFF: Wielebnicki joins the UIC staff after serving as an assistant coach at Evansville for two seasons … while with the Purple Aces’, he worked primarily with outside hitters, opposite hitters and defensive specialists … prior to Evansville, he was the top assistant at Western Carolina for one season … a 2008 graduate of Illinois State … he was a student manager and student assistant for the Redbirds … he also handled vice president and captain duties while playing on the men’s volleyball team … Wielebnicki played volleyball for Lewis from 2004-06 … a native of Hinsdale, Ill., he attended Hinsdale South.

STAND-OUT SAFRANEK: Safranek notched her fourth Horizon League accolade as she was named to the preseason team … as a freshman, she was selected to the all-Newcomer Team … during her sophomore and junior seasons she earned all-Horizon League honors … she was also named the Horizon League “Offensive Player of the Week” on Sept. 12, 2011 … during her junior season, Safranek had 466 kills (4.40/set) … she set a career-high 33 kills on Nov. 11, 2011 against Youngstown State … she has 24 kills through the first weekend of play during this season.

PRESEASON POLL: UIC was selected fourth in the preseason Horizon League poll with 29 points … Milwaukee earned the first-place spot (49 points) … Cleveland State was selected second with 43 points … Valparaiso claimed third place (36 points) … Green Bay and Loyola were selected for fifth (26 points) and sixth place (21 points), respectively … Wright State in seventh place (11 points) and Youngstown State in eighth place (nine points) rounded out the preseason poll.

UP NEXT: The Flames travel south to Mother McAuley High School for a two-day tournament (Sept. 8-9) … in addition to UIC, DePaul, Oregon State and Penn State round out the field … there are four matches Saturday, followed by two on Sunday … Mother McAuley is the high school of head UIC coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley and assistant coach Ellen Hayes … Penn State serves as the alma mater to Schumacher-Cawley, while Hayes attended DePaul.