Volleyball To Compete At Chicago Classic
CHICAGO - The UIC volleyball team (3-4/0-0 Horizon) travels to Chicago's South Side Saturday and Sunday for the Chicago Classic at Mother McAuley High School. The team opens competition against Oregon State (4-2/0-0 PAC 12) at Noon (CT), followed by DePaul (3-3/0-0 BIG EAST) at 5:00 p.m. The Flames face Penn State (5-0/0-0 Big Ten) Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the final match of the event.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES: UIC (2-4/0-0 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 ... UIC then held its home opener in the UIC Invitational ... the team fell to UT Arlington 3-1 (26-24, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23) ... followed by dropping to IPFW 3-0 and 3-1 to Eastern Michigan ... the Flames then snapped their losing streak with a 3-1 (26-24, 25-13, 20-25, 25-20) victory over Northern Illinois on Sept. 4.
SCOUTING THE BEAVERS: Oregon State (4-2/0-0 PAC 12) ... the Beavers have downed Oakland (3-0), UC Irvine (3-1), Presbyterian (3-0) and Illinois State (3-2) ... Kansas State and Miami have outlasted Oregon State, 3-2, 3-1, respectively ... through 24 sets of play, Camille Saxton has 91 kills (3.79/set) ... Tayla Woods serves as the Beaver setter, and she has dished out 187 assists on the season ... Becky Defoe leads the squad in digs with 133.
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEMONS: DePaul (3-3/0-0 BIG EAST) ... the Blue Demons defeated Indiana State (3-2), Wright State (3-0) and Troy (3-1) ... Eastern Illinois downed DePaul (3-1), while Butler (3-2) and Troy (3-1) also picked up wins over the Blue Demons ... Vasela Zapryanova and Callie Huebener lead the team in kills with 83 (3.19) and 74 (2.85) through 26 sets ... Aubree Hord has handed out 147 assists ... Tyler Graham leads the team in digs with 82, followed by Huebener and Zapryanova, respectively.
SCOUTING THE NITTANY LIONS: Penn State (5-0/0-0 Big Ten) enters the Chicago Classic after defeating Morehead State (3-0), Western Kentucky (3-0), Louisville (3-0), Stanford (3-2) and Texas (3-0) ... the Nittany Lions lead their opponents in kills at 252 versus 195 ... Ariel Scott has 72 kills on the season at 4.24 per set ... Micha Hancock serves as the setter with 186 assists ... Dominique Gonzalez has 60 digs and leads Penn State in the category.
LAST TIME OUT: UIC defeated Northern Illinois, 3-1 (26-24, 25-13, 20-25, 25-20) Sept. 4 ... in an all-around team effort, several Flames members chipped in at crucial points during the match ... senior Aubrey Sniegowski (Lemont, Ill./Lemont Township) totaled 15 kills on the night at a .440 hitting percentage, committing only four errors.
PENN STATE PALS: UIC head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley and DePaul head coach Nadia Edwards attended Penn State together ... in four seasons compiled a 123-16 record ... the duo also assisted the Nittany Lions to a National Championship during the 1999 season ... finished runner-up during the 1997 and '98 campaigns ... off the court, Schumacher-Cawley and Edwards shared dish-washing and garbage duties as they were roommates each year at Penn State.
SWEET HOME CHICAGO: Assistant coach Ellen Hayes attended DePaul ... she was a four-time letterwinner for the Blue Demons ... Hayes graduated with a degree in secondary education with a concentration in English ... earned her master's degree from Marshall in 2009 ... she then returned home to Chicago and joined Schumacher-Cawley and the Flames volleyball crew ... Hayes ranks fifth all-time in digs for DePaul with 510, just missing the fourth-place spot by one.
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 team travels to Memphis, Tenn., Sept. 14-15 for the Tiger Invitational ... the tournament field includes Memphis, Alabama A&M, Louisiana Lafayette and Belmont ... the tournament serves as the last event before UIC opens Horizon League play Sept. 21 against Valparaiso inside the Flames Athletic Center.