Rachel Fairbanks is the reigning C-USA Defensive Player of the Week
Oct. 24, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB volleyball team looks to continue its strong play, hosting SMU on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT prior to traveling to Tulsa, Okla., to play the Golden Hurricane on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
UAB (15-11, 7-3 C-USA) | SMU (8-14, 5-5) | Tulsa (16-8, 9-1)
UAB Scouting Report
The Blazers have heated up during the second half of the season, winners of eight straight, including six consecutive victories against C-USA opponents.
Overall, UAB has showcased both a strong offense and defense, ranking in the top four in the league in five of the seven team statistics. The Blazers' front line has produced one of best swat teams in the conference, averaging 2.44 stuffs per set, totaling 246 blocks in 101 sets of game action.
On the attacking side, the Blazers are hitting .211 as a team and holding the opponents to a .183 clip.
Sam Serley has been a force both on the attacking end and defensively in the front row for the Blazers. The senior is hitting a league-best, .377, over 40 points better than the next closest attacker. Serley is also topping the conference in blocks per set (1.32) and total blocks (132).
A Blazer that has really found her stride, especially on the serving end has been Ally Slaughter. She currently ranks third in the conference in aces per set at 0.38. She has totaled 27 aces in 72 sets and has laced 13 over the last eight matches.
In the back row, Rachel Fairbanks has flourished in her first season as the team's libero. The reigning C-USA Defensive Player of the Week is second in the league in digs per set at 4.81.
Serley Named Finalist
Sam Serley was recently named one of 10 finalists from across the country for the Senior CLASS award, an honor that recognizes those who excel in community, classroom, character and competition.
Part of the selection process for the winner involves fans voting. People can vote for Sam at www.seniorclassaward.com once a day through Nov. 26.
Blazers Catch Fire
UAB has sported a perfect 8-0 record in the month of October, including six victories against league competition. The recent hot streak has pushed the Blazers up to third in the league standings, trailing only Rice and Tulsa who are both 9-1 in C-USA play.
During the win streak, redshirt freshman Sam Skinner has blossomed on the outside. The Birmingham native is averaging 3.17 kills, 1.53 digs and 0.83 blocks per set and leads the team in points over the last eight matches with 112.5.
As a team, UAB has been hitting .238 during 8-0 stretch, while holding the opposition to just a .138 average. The Blazers are also out-blocking opponents 2.66 to 1.72 per set.
Tough To Beat In Bartow
UAB has played only eight home matches in 2012, but it has been tough to beat the Blazers when they play on their home court. At Bartow Arena this season, UAB is an impressive 7-1, with the lone loss coming in five sets to Rice back on Sept. 23.
SMU Scouting Report
The Mustangs were riding a four-match win streak in league play before falling to UAB's Sunday opponent, Tulsa, last Friday in three sets.
SMU enters Thursday's match with an overall record of 8-14 and 5-5 in league play.
On offense, Caroline Young has been the top attacker for the Mustangs, averaging 3.28 kills per set and totaling 269 put-aways for the season. She also has connected for 35 service aces and leads C-USA with 0.43 aces per set.
Another weapon for SMU is Courtney Manning. The senior, who is averaging 2.09 kills and 0.89 blocks per set, like Sam Serley, reached the 500 career block plateau earlier this season.
Tulsa Scouting Report
Tulsa has one of the most high powered offenses in the country, led by senior outside hitter Tyler Henderson.
Henderson, the 2012 C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, leads not only C-USA in kills per set but all of Division I, totaling 456 in 87 sets for a per frame average of 5.24. In addition, Henderson is hitting at a .313 clip and recording 1.20 digs and 0.52 blocks per set.
Tulsa also features one of the top liberos in the conference in Jessica Adams. The senior surpassed the 2,000 dig milestone earlier this season and averages a league-best 5.24 digs per set. For the season she has corralled 472 digs in 90 sets of game action.