UIC Volleyball Stays in Chicago for Windy City Invitational
CHICAGO - The UIC volleyball team (0-3) will make the 12-mile trip down I-94 this weekend (Sept. 5-6) to participate in Chicago State's Windy City Invitational. The Flames will play the host Cougars on Friday at 7 pm CT before matchups with Syracuse (10 am CT) and DePaul (5 pm CT) Saturday inside the Jacoby Dickens Center.
A LOOK AT CHICAGO STATE
UIC MATCH NOTES
STRUS NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Senior Maggie Strus was named to the All-Tournament Team at Marshall's Thunder Invitational after compiling 41 digs, 11 assists and one service ace. Strus had 22 digs against Eastern Michigan for her first 20-plus dig effort since Nov. 16, 2013 at Wright State. She recorded four 20-plus dig performances during the 2013 season.
Strus' 41 digs over the weekend increased her career dig total to 1,291, which ranks sixth in program history. She needs 72 more digs to pass Ilene O'Connell (1982-85) for fifth place. Strus, who set UIC's single-season record with 600 digs in 2012, needs 241 more digs to become UIC's all-time dig leader.
JOHNSON'S DOUBLE-DIGIT KILL STREAK
Sophomore Kara Johnson concluded the 2013 season with five straight double-digit kill efforts and extended her streak to eight contests over the weekend. She led the Flames with 45 kills at the Thunder Invitational, including 18 in the season opener against Virginia.
Johnson put down 11 kills at Marshall and 16 more against Eastern Michigan. She was also productive on the defensive side of the ball with 27 digs, including 14 against Eastern Michigan to tally her fifth career double-double.
YANCY'S EFFICIENT FIRST WEEKEND AS A FLAME
Junior transfer Stephenee Yancy, who spent the last two seasons with Western Michigan, was productive and efficient in her first weekend in a UIC uniform. Yancy put down 35 kills on 80 attempts for a team-high .225 attack percentage to go along with four total blocks.
Yancy had 13 kills against Virginia, 10 at Marshall and 12 to conclude the tournament against Eastern Michigan. She entered the 2014 season with 469 kills and a stellar .298 attack percentage in 50 career matches at WMU. Yancy was named the 2012 MAC Freshman of the Year and was selected to join the 2013 USA Volleyball High Performance Indoor Women's Junior A1 National Training Team Program.
STERNARD AMONGST THE HORIZON LEAGUE'S BEST
Senior Sara Jo Sternard was named to the 2014 Preseason All-Horizon League Team before the season opener, nine months after being selected to the 2013 All-League Team. Sternard followed up the preseason honor with 23 kills and a team-high eight total blocks at the Thunder Invitational. She put down 15 kills on 30 attempts against Eastern Michigan for an impressive .433 attack percentage.
Sternard owns 786 career kills and needs 214 more kills to become the 16th member of UIC's 1,000 Kills Club. She ranks tenth in program history with 59 solo blocks.
JOHNSON'S FIRST WEEKEND AS UIC SETTER
Redshirt freshman Nicole Johnson sat out the 2013 season while senior setter MaryKate Imrie quarterbacked the UIC offense. Imrie graduated with the sixth most assists (1,377) in program history and Johnson took over the reins of the offense at the season-opening Thunder Invitational.
Johnson dished out 115 assists and compiled 20 digs in her first weekend as UIC's setter. She also put down five kills on seven attempts for an impressive .429 attack percentage. Highlighting Johnson's weekend was a 50 assist-10 dig performance against Eastern Michigan. Her 50 assists are the most by a UIC setter since Imrie's 50 vs Drake on Sept. 13, 2013. Johnson's double-double is the first of her career.
FRIEL TIES CAREER HIGH IN DIGS
Redshirt junior Tracy Friel recorded double-digit digs in all three matches at the Thunder Invitational and finished the weekend with 39 digs. She opened the season with 11 digs against Virginia and followed with 10 at Marshall before tying her career high with 18 against Eastern Michigan. She also compiled 18 digs at Oakland on Nov. 15, 2013.
FRESHMEN STRONG IN DEBUTS
Freshmen Allie O'Reilly and Kyisha Hunt both saw action in all three matches over the weekend at the Thunder Invitational. O'Reilly compiled 16 digs in her collegiate debut against Virginia and finished the weekend with 25 digs. O'Reilly also collected a team-high four service aces, including two against Eastern Michigan.
Hunt recorded 16 kills and four total blocks on UIC's front line. Over the final two matches of the tournament, Hunt put down 14 kills on 25 attempts for a stellar .480 attack percentage.
UIC's 2014 schedule features 12 home matches and the annual UIC Invitational in mid-September. The Flames will also play seven contests against in-state opponents and begin Horizon League action on Sept. 26 when UIC travels to Milwaukee, an NCAA tournament participant in 2013. UIC will make non-conference tournament trips to Marshall, Chicago State and defending-national champions Penn State prior to the beginning of Horizon League play.
The fourth weekend of the season (Sept. 19-20) will see the Flames make a trip to Pennsylvania to compete in Penn State's Alumni Classic. Penn State head coach Russ Rose will welcome UIC head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley and three other Penn State alumni to campus for the tournament. The other head coaches participating include Nadia Edwards (DePaul), Kate Price (Eastern Illinois) and Julie Torbett (Eastern Carolina).