The Emory volleyball team, fresh off a successful season-opening weekend at its own Classic, faces its first road trip of the young season this Friday and Saturday (Sept. 6-7) when it heads to Rome, Georgia to compete in the Berry College National Invitational.
The Eagles start on Friday with a 3:00 pm contest against Christopher Newport. On the final day of play, Emory will battle Covenant College at 3:00 pm followed by a 7:00 pm match-up against the host Vikings of Berry College.
Emory enters the upcoming weekend as the No. 1 D-III program in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll.
THE COACHES - Emory head coach Jenny McDowell (Georgia, '89) begins her 24th year at the helm of the Eagles' program with a school and career mark of 748-166. She has 20 campaigns of 30 or more wins, including last year's slate of 30-6, and has directed the program to 23 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. She has steered the Eagles to six berths to the national semifinals and has national championships to her credit in 2008 and 2018.
2019 represents the 17th year that Lindsay Birch has directed the fortunes of the Christopher Newport program. During her tenure, she has guided the Captains to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances. Birch will begin the weekend with a school and career won-lost record of 497-118.
In her seventh year of calling the shots for Covenant College is head coach Joanna Ehman. Ehman, who led the College to its first NCAA Tournament win in any sport (2017), begins the Berry National Invitational with a school and career effort of 126-71.
Caitlyn Moriarty is in her third campaign as the head coach at Berry. Moriarty, who has overseen two trips to the NCAA Tournament, owns a school and career ledger 82-21. She is a two-time Southern Athletic Association Coach of the Year.
SERIES RECORDS – Emory holds a 14-2 all-time mark vs. Christopher Newport. Friday's meeting will be the first for the schools since the 2017 season when the Eagles topped CNU, 3-0, in the semifinals of the NCAA Atlanta Regional.
Emory has emerged victorious in 13 of the 16 matches against Covenant College. The two schools last clashed at the 2018 Emory Classic with the Eagles prevailing by a 3-0 margin.
Emory and Berry have played 20 times with the Eagles capturing 19 decisions. The Eagles and Vikings met on two occasions last year with Emory winning the initial affair, 3-0 (Sept. 7), before Berry posted a 3-1 triumph (Oct. 9) on its home floor.
RECORDS – Emory stands 3-0 after hosting its Classic this past weekend. The Eagles started with a 3-0 win over Guilford College before battling to a 3-1 verdict over No. 8 Johnson and Wales. On Saturday, Emory bested Sewanee, 3-1, in its Classic finale.
Christopher Newport, ranked 14th in this week's AVCA Top 25 Poll, sports a 2-1 record after hosting the Captains Classic. CNU came out on the short end of 3-1 outcome to No. 4 UW-Eau Claire in its opener before topping No. 3 Juniata, 3-1, and Marymount University, 3-0.
Covenant College will be looking to get into the win column after dropping all three of its contests at Birmingham Southern's McAttack Bash. The Scots were swept by the host Panthers, St. Catherine and Rhodes College.
No. 9-ranked Berry is off to a fine start at 3-0 after its appearance at the Ithaca Bombers Invitational. After a 3-2 victory over No. 11 Ithaca, the Vikings rolled to 3-0 win against UW-La Crosse and Ohio Wesleyan.
THOMPSON CLIMBS DIGS LADDER – Elyse Thompson recorded 48 digs during the Emory Classic and in the process moved into the No. 2 position on the school's all-time chart in that category. Thompson has totaled 1,365 digs during her Emory tenure, trailing only Kate Bowman's (2011-14) standard of 1,511. An All-America Honorable Mention pick last year, Thompson moved ahead of Maggie Ramm (2004-07, 1,321 digs) on the program's career ladder.
SAUNDERS NAMED UAA CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Junior Leah Saunders (Simpsonville, SC) was named the University Athletic Association Co-Hitter of the Week following her performance at the Emory Classic.
Saunders saw action in all 11 of the team's sets and averaged a team-high 3.82 kills per game while registering a solid hitting mark of .359 (42-14—78). In addition, she averaged 2.73 digs per set and doled out a squad-high seven service aces.
She led or tied for team honors in kills in two of the three contests, highlighted by a career-high 21 terminations that topped all players in a 3-1 triumph over No. 8 Johnson and Wales.
SRB MAKES DEBUT AT SETTER – Freshman Cassie Srb made a fine debut as the Eagles' setter seeing action in all 11 sets and averaging 10.73 assists per game, with that mark tops among UAA performers through the first weekend of play.
The 5-foot-9 Srb doled out 44 assists and chipped in six digs in the 3-1 win over Johnson and Wales before closing out the Classic with 40 assists and five kills in the four-set triumph vs. Sewanee. Her play helped Emory enjoy an edge in hitting percentage in all three contests.
McKNIGHT PUTS UP TERMINATIONS TRIFECTA – Morgan McKnight tied for second place on the team with a 2.91 kills-per-set average over the weekend, recording double figures in that department in all three matches. After putting up 10 kills in the season opener vs. Guilford, McKnight put together back-to-back 11-terminations performances against Johnson and Wales and Sewanee.
During her career, McKnight has totaled 37 matches of double-figure kills and has dialed up a total 846 successful attack attempts.
EMORY CAPTAINS – Serving as the captains for the 2019 Emory volleyball team will be seniors Elyse Thompson and Morgan McKnight.
NEW FACES ON THE EMORY ROSTER – Seven talented freshmen comprise this year's 22-player roster with those rookies being: Katie Hulme (Saratoga, CA), Cassie Srb (Seabrook, TX), Caitlyn Reynolds (West Baden, IN), Abby Heimlicher (Parker, CO), Katie Carmichael (Park Ridge, IL), Kirwan Carey (Westport, CT) and Amanda Meyer (St. Louis, MO).
EMORY ENJOYS SUCCESS ON HOME FLOOR – The Eagles have enjoyed considerable success over the years playing at the Woodruff PE Center compiling a home won-lost slate of 384-56 (.871) since 1992.
More recently, Emory has been dominant at the Woodpec, compiling a 55-6 record at home since the 2015 campaign. In 2017, the Eagles were successful in 10 of 12 home matches.