Blazers Host North Texas And Marshall This Weekend

UABSPORTS.COM Senior Becca Howard moved into 10th all-time at UAB with 2,250 assists in her career.
Senior Becca Howard moved into 10th all-time at UAB with 2,250 assists in her career.

Oct. 17, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB volleyball team (14-8, 3-3 C-USA) returns home this weekend to host North Texas (12-10, 4-2 C-USA) and Marshall (10-11, 4-2 C-USA). The Blazers will take on the Mean Green on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. CT and the Thundering Herd on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. CT in Bartow Arena.

Friday’s match will mark just the second meeting all-time between UAB and North Texas. The only other time the two teams faced off was on Sept. 9, 1993 when the Blazers took the win, 3-1.

On Sunday, it will be the 15th time that UAB and Marshall have met. UAB holds an 8-6 lead in the series that dates back to the 2005 season. The Blazers won the most recent meeting last season with a 3-0 sweep on Nov. 4, 2012.

Howard’s Helpers
After tallying 44 assists against Florida Atlantic last Sunday, senior Becca Howard moved into 10th all-time in UAB history with 2, 250 career assists. Howard took over setter responsibilities this season after splitting time her first three years. She has been outstanding with 926 assists so far in 2013. Her average of 11.43 assists leads Conference USA and is 18th in the nation.

About the Blazers
UAB currently ranks in the top 50 nationally in hitting percentage (44th) on the season. The Blazers are collectively hitting at a clip of .251 in 2013. Among Conference USA teams, UAB ranks second in aces per set (1.32) and is third in both hitting percentage and blocks per set (2.56).

Individually, UAB has a player ranked in the top 50 nationally in five dif­ferent categories. Howard has continued to climb the ranks this season. She is currently first in the conference and 18th in the nation with 11.43 assists per set. Also ranking first in C-USA is senior libero Rachel Fairbanks. She is aver­aging 5.01 digs per set, which is 28th in the country.



Junior middle block­er Kiriana Hirini has been UAB’s most efficient hitter, holding a season hitting percentage of .384 to rank third in C-USA and 40th nationally. Sophomore Sam Skinner has continued where she left off her freshman season. Skinner currently ranks 29th in points per set (4.71) and 30th in kills per set (4.15). She is third and fourth, respectively in C-USA rank­ings.

Scouting the Mean Green
North Texas comes into the weekend tied for fourth in Conference USA. The team has amassed 1,079 kills for an average of 13.66 per set. It is sporting a hitting percentage of .233, while holding opponents to just .192 hitting percentage. The Mean Green is led by Carnae Dillard, who ranks second in C-USA with an average of 4.25 kills per set. Dishing out an average of 10.74 assists per set for North Texas is Amy Henard. She is fourth among C-USA setters. Defensively, Shelby Tamura leads with 3.90 digs per set and Courtney Windham is putting down 1.08 blocks per set. In its last match, North Texas fell to Marshall 3-1 on the road.

Scouting the Thundering Herd
Marshall, also tied for fourth in the conference, is hitting a clip of .253 in conference play this season to rank third among C-USA teams. Laura Der, who is averaging 3.26 kills per set, leads the Thundering Herd. Dishing out assists to the fleet of Marshall hitters is Sammie Bane. Bane has a total 807 assists for an average of 9.84 per set. Defensively, Dorothy Rahal leads the team with 3.60 digs per set, while Jillian Shemanski and Ashley Arnold are both averaging 0.86 blocks per set. Most recently, Marshall defeated North Texas 3-1 at home. The Thundering Herd will play host to East Carolina on Friday before traveling to Birmingham on Sunday.

For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For volleyball news, follow @UAB_VB.

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