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    UIC Volleyball Begins Second Half of League Play at Valparaiso

    Justine Garcia leads UIC with 275 digs this season
    Justine Garcia leads UIC with 275 digs this season
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    Oct. 24, 2013

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    CHICAGO – The UIC volleyball team (7-15, 2-5 Horizon League) begins the second half of Horizon League play Saturday (Oct. 26) with a match at Valparaiso (19-4, 6-1 Horizon League). First serve is set for 2 p.m. CST inside the Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC).

    The two squads met earlier this season on Sept. 28 in Chicago. UIC put down as many kills as Valparaiso (47) but the Flames were held to a .133 attack percentage in a 3-1 loss. The Crusaders had five service aces and ten total blocks in the Horizon League opener for both schools.


    Who: UIC at Valparaiso
    When: Saturday, Oct. 26 • 2 p.m. CST
    Location: Valparaiso, Ind. • Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC)
    Series History: UIC leads 25-24
    Last Meeting: Valparaiso 3, UIC 1 (Sept. 28, 2013 at UIC)
    Streak: Valpo won the last meeting
    Live Video (Horizon League Network): HERE
    Twitter: HERE 
    Live Stats: HERE


    Valparaiso (19-4, 6-1 HL)
    Nickname: Crusaders
    Conference: Horizon League
    Head Coach: Carin Avery (12th season)
    2013 Preseason Poll: Predicted to finish 1st
    2012 Record: 21-12 overall, 10-4 in the Horizon League (2nd)
    2013 Leader in:
    Kills - Sarah Dooms (229 kills)
    Assists – Kelsey Berrington (505 assists)
    Aces – Morganne Longoria (22 aces)
    Digs - Morganne Longoria (378 digs)
    Blocks – Ellen Vanden Berg (103 blocks)


    UIC could not find a rhythm offensively in a 3-0 loss (25-14, 25-18, 25-17) to Oakland Saturday (Oct. 19) inside the Flames Athletic Center. Oakland collected five total blocks and 11 service aces against UIC.

    Junior Sara Sternard put down 21 kills on 43 attempts for a .279 attack percentage last weekend against Wright State (Oct. 18) and Oakland. Over the last ten matches, Sternard is hitting at a stellar .385 clip (114 kills on 239 attempts). She currently ranks third in the Horizon League with a .318 attack percentage and eighth with 2.94 kills per set.

    Sternard was named the Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week last Monday (Oct. 14) and followed up the award with a match-high 15 kills on 26 attempts (.385 attack percentage) in the three-set win against Wright State. She then put down six kills on 17 attempts against Oakland.

    Sternard leads UIC with 232 kills and now owns 666 career kills. She reached the 500-career kill milestone against Chicago State (Sept. 7) and passed the 600-kill mark against Milwaukee (Oct. 4). Sternard will reach the 700-kill milestone late in the season if she continues at her current pace of 2.94 kills per set.

    Sternard (230 career total blocks) passed the 200-career block milestone against Eastern Illinois (Sept. 20) and leads the squad with 61 blocks. Sternard was also named to two all-tournament teams (Navy & Iowa) earlier this season.

    Senior MaryKate Imrie handed out 52 assists on UIC’s 67 kills last weekend and now owns 3,343 career assists. She needs 211 more assists this season to move past Carlyn Fisk (3,553 - 1988-91) into third all-time.

    If Imrie continues at her current pace, she will finish her career third in program history with over 3,600 assists. She ranks third in the Horizon League with 10.04 assists per set.

    Imrie delivered an all-around solid effort in the three-set win over Wright State with 33 assists, eight digs, two kills and two block assists. She is tied with freshman Kara Johnson for the team lead with three double-doubles.

    Imrie’s 65-assist performance against Marshall (Sept. 6) is the most in a single match in the Horizon League. In the four-set win over Drake (Sept. 13), Imrie collected 50 assists and three total blocks. Imrie has also been named to two all-tournament teams this season (UIC Invitational & Kent State).

    Senior Justine Garcia averaged 4.17 digs per set last weekend (25 total) and leads UIC with 275 digs this season. Garcia compiled 16 digs in the three-set win over Wright State for her 11th consecutive double-digit dig performance. The streak was halted the next day against Oakland (nine digs).

    Garcia (959 career digs) reached the 900-career dig milestone against Green Bay (Oct. 5) and will pass the 1,000-career dig mark later this season if she continues at her current pace of 3.48 digs per set. Her 3.48 digs per set currently sit seventh best in the Horizon League.

    Garcia has also been UIC’s top threat from the service line as her 0.34 aces per set (27 total) ranks second in the Horizon League. Garcia’s four aces against both Elon (Aug. 30) and Iowa (Sept. 14) are the Horizon League’s best four-set performances.

    Freshman Kara Johnson put down 11 kills last weekend and has been a solid offensive contributor for the Flames in her first season on campus. She has posted double-digit kills in ten matches and ranks second on UIC with 224 kills.

    Johnson has taken a team-high 743 swings and her 63 attempts against Marshall are the second most of any Horizon League player this season. Johnson’s 2.84 kills per set are third amongst all Horizon League freshmen.

    Johnson finished with 20 kills against Marshall, the most of any UIC player this season and the fifth highest Horizon League effort. She helped UIC pick up its first Horizon League victory at Cleveland State (Oct. 11) with four aces, the third highest five-set effort in the league.

    The Champaign, Ill. native has compiled 172 digs, which is second best on the squad. Johnson recorded three straight double-digit dig efforts from Oct. 11-18 and owns three of UIC’s seven double-doubles.

    Freshman Casey Harris collected three blocks over the weekend and has been a major presence at the net for the Flames this season. She ranks second on the team with 54 total blocks in 69 sets played.

    Harris had nine block assists against Cleveland State to record the Horizon League’s third best block performance. She helped the Flames set a season high with 12 total team blocks against the Vikings. Harris leads the squad with 22 blocks in 24 sets during league play.

    Junior Maggie Strus set the program record with 600 digs last season and ranks third on the squad with 170 digs during the 2013 campaign. Strus passed the 1,000-career dig milestone against Marshall and her 24 digs against Drake is one of the best four-set performances in the Horizon League this season.

    Strus owns 1,122 career digs and needs 88 more digs to enter the program's Top 10. If Strus continues at her current pace (2.46 digs per set), she will enter her senior season with over 1,180 career digs. 

    Redshirt sophomore Tracy Friel began the 2013 campaign with four service aces against Elon and has been one of UIC’s top servers this season. She collected two service aces last weekend to boost her season total to 19. Friel has also been a major contributor on the backline as she ranks fourth on the squad with 158 digs.

    Friel, who has recorded an ace in three consecutive matches, owns ten aces over the past 11 contests. In the sweep over Binghamton (Sept. 21), She had one ace in the first set and two in the dominating third set victory.

    Junior Molly McCoy put down 14 kills on 34 attempts last weekend in her first action since Sept. 28. She came off the bench to contribute seven kills against both Wright State and Oakland.

    McCoy had 13 kills and 11 digs against Kent State (Sept. 21) for her first career double-double. McCoy owns 395 career kills and has recorded double-digit kills in ten matches, including six straight to start the season. She ranks third on the squad with 171 kills and her 2.80 kills per set are a career high.

    In the five-set win over Marshall, McCoy set a new career high with 19 kills on 35 attempts for a stellar .429 attack percentage. The performance ranks as the sixth highest kill total in the Horizon League this season.

    The Flames’ thrilling five-set victory over Marshall (Sept. 6) included the best offensive team performance in the Horizon League. UIC collected 73 assists on 76 kills, which are both high team marks in the League’s statistics.

    In the season-opening victory over Elon (Aug. 30), UIC recorded 13 aces against the Phoenix. The 13 aces are the most in a match by any Horizon League program this season.