Toledo Looks to Build Momentum with Visit to IPFW on Tuesday
TOLEDO, OH - Toledo (9-8, 2-2 MAC) looks to build on its momentum from a pair of home victories when it travels to Summit League foe IPFW (9-10) on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7:00 p.m. UT will then return home to host perennial Mid-American Conference West Division powers Northern Illinois (11-7, 3-1 MAC) and Western Michigan (10-7, 3-1 MAC) on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 11-12. The matchup vs. the Huskies is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start, while the contest against the Broncos will begin at 5:00 p.m.
Senior OH Lauren Rafdal ranks second in the MAC with 3.87 kills per set, while senior MB Dakota Harkins is averaging a team-high 1.05 blocks per set to go along with a team-best .313 hitting mark. Senior S Adria Pryor is serving as the quarterback of UT’s offense and averaging 10.23 assists per set to rank fourth in the league. Freshman libero Ellen Hays is leading Toledo defensively in the back row with 4.55 digs per set to rank sixth in the loop.
Rafdal paced UT to its victories over Ball State and Akron last weekend with a pair of career-best performances that earned her MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week. She tallied a career-high 28 kills to help snap BSU’s 11-match win streak before producing a career-best .500 attack percentage with 18 kills in the Rockets’ 3-0 sweep over the Zips. Hays topped UT defensively with 6.43 dps with Harkins and junior MB Brooke Frazer notching a team-high 1.00 blocks per set in the home victories.
A LOOK AT IPFW
The Mastodons possess a 1-3 win-loss mark against MAC foes with a win at WMU and losses at Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois. Senior OH Emily Spencer paces IPFW with 4.48 kps with senior S Madison Spence tallying 10.23 aps and a team-best .387 ATK%. Senior Jen Milligan is the Mastodons’ defensive leader with 3.50 dps.
A LOOK AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS
The Huskies, who reached the 2012 MAC Championship match and captured the 2011 regular-season title, posted a pair of 3-1 home wins over Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan last weekend. NIU ranks fifth in the MAC with 15.54 dps as well as .181 opponent ATK%.
Junior OH Mackenzie Roddy is fifth in the conference with 3.41 kps, while sophomore S Alexis Gonzalez is sixth with 9.00 aps.
A LOOK AT WESTERN MICHIGAN
The Broncos are the defending West Division champions and will play at Ball State on Friday evening before coming to the Glass City. WMU is one of the top offensive teams in the MAC, ranking second with a .246 attack percentage and third with 13.87 kills and 12.79 assists per set.
Freshman MB Ave Stout holds the second-best hitting mark in the MAC at .391, while sophomore MB Stephenee Yancy ranks fourth with 3.75 kps and a .344 ATK%.
UT VS. THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS
IPFW holds a 6-2 record vs. Toledo, including a 3-1 road win last season.
Northern Illinois holds a 34-9 advantage over Toledo and has won seven of its last eight matches in the series, including a 3-1 victory in the 2010 MAC Tourney semifinals.
Toledo trails its all-time series vs. the Broncos by a 46-9 margin. The Rockets have dropped 13 of their last 14 meetings vs. WMU.
RAFDAL BRINGING THE HAMMER
Senior OH Lauren Rafdal has topped the Rockets in kills in 12 of their 17 matches. She is averaging a team-high 3.87 kps to go along with a .202 attack percentage. In league play, she tops the MAC with 4.86 kps.
Rafdal registered her top two career performances last weekend. She tallied a career-high 28 kills vs. Ball State on Oct. 3, two shy of the school record. Against Akron on Oct. 5, she tallied a career-best .500 ATK% with 18-1-30 totals.
A Westfield, IN native, Rafdal needs just 25 kills to become the ninth Rocket ever to tally 1,000 career kills.
HARKINS PUTTING UP ROOF
Senior MB Dakota Harkins has continued her prowess as one of the MAC’s top blockers and was selected to three all-tournament teams prior to the start of league play.
A 2012 Second-Team All-MAC honoree, Harkins is averaging 1.05 bps and has registered three or more blocks in 12 of 17 contests.
A Canal Fulton, OH native, Harkins tallied a season-high eight blocks at Youngstown State. She also has garnered seven rejections vs. Loyola (IL) and six against Eastern Illinois.
The team leader with a .316 attack percentage, Harkins is UT’s all-time leader with a .303 career hitting mark and 0.98 bps.
PRYOR SETTING THE TONE
Senior S Adria Pryor has quarterbacked the Rockets’ offense since the start of the 2012 campaign. Pryor is averaging 10.23 aps and ranks second in MAC action with 11.75 aps.
She also ranks second on the team with 2.29 dps and tallied a career-high seven blocks vs. Ball State (Oct. 3).
HAYS DIGGING IT
Freshman L Ellen Hays has impacted UT’s defensive fortunes immediately. She ranks second in league action with 6.36 dps and played a key role in UT’s win over Ball State with a season-high 31 digs.
ROCKETS IN MAC RANKINGS
Senior OH Lauren Rafdal ranks second with 3.87 kps, trailing only CMU’s Kaitlyn McIntyre (4.09)...Senior S Adria Pryor ranks fourth with 10.23 aps...Freshman L Ellen Hays ranks sixth with 4.55 dps and is first among all freshmen... Senior MB Dakota Harkins and junior MB Brooke Frazer are seventh and eighth with 1.05 and 1.04 bps, respectively...Harkins is also ninth with a .313 ATK%.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Toledo’s match vs. Ball State on Oct. 3 was part of the MAC’s 2013 television package with Time Warner Cable Sports. It was the Rockets’ first contest ever to be televised regionally.
A LOOK AHEAD
Toledo will hit the road next weekend for matches at No. 18 Ohio (14-2, 4-0 MAC) and Kent State (8-9, 2-2 MAC) on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 18-19.
UT will then return home to face Miami (8-8, 0-4 MAC) and Bowling Green (6-9, 3-1 MAC) on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 25-26.