PREVIEW: Ferris State Volleyball Heads To NCAA Midwest Regional

PREVIEW: Ferris State Volleyball Heads To NCAA Midwest Regional


NCAA Division II Midwest Region Quarterfinal
vs. Lewis
Thursday, Dec. 5 - 2:30 p.m. (EDT)
GVSU Fieldhouse Arena - Allendale, Mich.

 Live Video Webcast
 Live Internet Statistics

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

*The Opening Serve: The Ferris State University women's volleyball team will be making its third consecutive NCAA Division II Regional Tournament appearance and will take on Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) foe Lewis (Ill.) on Thursday (Dec. 5) in a 2:30 p.m. (ET) regional quarterfinal match at the Grand Valley State Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale, Mich.

*Ticket Information: Tickets will be $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and children or $3 for college students of the competing teams with a valid ID card. The prices are based per session and no all-tourney passes will be available.

*Media Coverage: GVSU will provide live internet statistics and a live video webcast of all matches.  All links will be available at the official tournament website at this link below.

*NCAA Tourney History: Ferris State will be making its third-straight NCAA-II Regional appearance following back-to-back trips to the regional semifinals the last two years.  FSU's appearance in 2011 was its first since 2009 (Nov. 9) when the Bulldogs dropped a 3-0 decision to Lewis (Ill.) to Indianapolis, Ind.  FSU's upcoming regional appearance will represent the program's 18th all-time as the Bulldogs have compiled a 9-18 overall record in NCAA Tournament competition.

*The Regional Tourney: Nationally-ranked Grand Valley State was chosen as the top seed and will host the regional tournament from Thursday to Saturday (Dec. 5-7).  Semifinals will take place on Friday night with the championship match on Saturday. The field features four teams each from the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) and the GLIAC. The winners of each of the 2013 eight regionals will advance to the national finals (Dec. 12-14) which will be conducted at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

*41st Season: The 2013 campaign represents Ferris State's 41st season of women's volleyball. The Bulldogs own an all-time record of 881-481 (.647). Since the program's inception in 1973, the Bulldogs have won 10 GLIAC titles, qualified 18 times for the NCAA-II Tournament and registered 33 winning seasons.

*2013 Record: Ferris State currently maintains a 22-8 overall record and was 15-3 in the GLIAC during regular-season action en route to finishing tied for second overall.

*Last Time Out: The Bulldogs, seeded fourth, were upset in the quartefinal-round of the GLIAC Tournament by fifth-seeded Northwood in a 3-1 decision on Nov. 20 at FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids.  FSU had posted back-to-back road sweeps over two regionally-ranked teams in Hillsdale and Northwood (Nov. 9-10) in its last two regular-season matches prior to the upset loss in the league tournament.

*The Coach: FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm (Alma, 1990) is midst her 18th year at Ferris State. Brandel-Wilhelm ranks among the nation's top active coaches with a 497-200 (.713) career record.  She holds a record of 379-180 (.678) at the Bulldog helm. Brandel-Wilhelm entered the 2013 campaign as Ferris State's all-time winningest coach. She became the program's fifth head coach in June 1996.  Brandel-Wilhelm notched her 350th win at the Ferris State helm in 2012 and needs three victories to record her 500th career coaching victory.

*FSU vs. Lewis: Ferris State and Lewis met earlier this season in the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament with the Bulldogs posting a 3-0 victory in Aurora, Ill.

* We Meet Again: This is the second straight season the Bulldogs have faced off against the Flyers in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Ferris State won the NCAA Regional Tournament match in Indianapolis, Ind., by a 3-1 count (27-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-23).

*Scouting the Flyers: Lewis is making its eighth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.  The Flyers earned an at-large bid to the 64-team tournament after a top-8 ranking in the Midwest region. In the 2013 Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship Tournament, the Flyers fell 3-2 (24-26, 25-21, 25-27, 25-19, 15-13) to Truman State in a semifinal match at Neil Carey Arena on Saturday (Nov. 23). Lewis is led by 2013 GLVC Women's Volleyball Player of the Year redshirt junior outside hitter Kim Vertin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Central), who is No. 24 in the country averaging 3.97 kills-per-set this season. LU is 24-9 overall this campaign to date.

* More Match Notes: The Bulldogs placed tied for second overall this season in the GLIAC standings with a 15-3 league mark and it marked the third-straight year in which FSU finished either first or second in the conference.  Lewis owns a 24-9 overall record this season and posted a 16-2 mark in GLVC action before falling in the conference tournament semifinals.

* The Division II Tourney: The Division II Women's Volleyball Committee selected a total of 64 teams to participate in the 2013 Division II Women's Volleyball Championship. Eight teams were selected from each of the following eight regions: Atlantic, Central, East, Midwest, South, South Central, Southeast and West. The eight, eight-team regionals will be played at on-campus sites. Regional competition will be single-elimination, best-of-five set matches and will not include a third-place match. The winners of each of the eight regionals will advance to the championship finals, Dec. 12-14. Competition at the final site will be single-elimination, best-of-five set matches. The site of the finals, the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, will be the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

*2013 GLIAC Volleyball Preseason Poll: Ferris State was selected second in the 2013 GLIAC Preseason North Division Coaches Poll. The Bulldogs captured two first-place votes and 42 total points in being chosen behind Northwood in the division. Hillsdale came in third overall in the North Division with Grand Valley State fourth and Northern Michigan fifth in the top five.

*National Attention: Ferris State is ranked 23rd nationally in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II National Poll released on Nov. 18.  Two years ago, FSU's 11th-place national ranking was the program's highest ranking in 20 years. The Bulldogs have been ranked for most of this season and are one of two GLIAC member schools found in the top 25 along with 13th-ranked Grand Valley State.

*GLIAC Award Recipients: FSU had four players receive recognition as the 2013 All-GLIAC Awards were presented in conjunction with the conference volleyball tournament. Bulldog senior libero Brandie Merren (Hopkins) was chosen as the league's "Libero of the Year" for the second-straight year. Additionally, the Bulldogs had two first team All-GLIAC honorees in Merren and sophomore outside hitter Alexis Huntey (Stanwood/Morley-Stanwood). Junior outside hitter Courtney Rehm (Portage/Central) was a second-team pick with senior middle hitter Angi Kent (Lansing/Waverly) claiming honorable mention All-GLIAC laurels in voting conducted by the league's head coaches.

*Libero of The Year: Senior Brandie Merren attained GLIAC Libero of the Year honors for the second-straight year. Merren leads the Bulldogs with 503 digs to date this campaign. The returning all-region honoree and two-time all-conference pick became the 14th player in school history earlier this season to notch 1,000 career digs. A three-year letterwinner, she's averaged 4.75 digs while helping lead the Bulldogs to a potential NCAA Division II Tournament berth and top 25 national ranking this campaign.

*First-Year Impact: Ferris State sophomore Alexis Huntey has played a major role this season and competed in nearly every set for the Bulldogs this season in her first year at FSU. She posted 10 or more kills in 19 matches. She's also totaled 10 digs or more 14 times and ranks among the GLIAC leaders in both kills and points this year. Her 331 kills and 31 aces both rank as team season-bests. The sophomore outside hitter is midst her first season at Ferris State after transferring from NCAA Division I George Washington.

*Bulldog Bites: Junior Courtney Rehm attained all-conference honors for the third year in a row. Rehm amade the All-GLIAC list as an outside hitter and plays a versatile role in the Bulldog lineup. She's among the team's top performers in nearly every statistical category with 287 kills, 244 digs, 38 blocks and 23 service aces. Previously, she was honored as the GLIAC Freshman of the Year two seasons ago and also attained GLIAC Player of the Week recognition in 2013.

*GLIAC Standing/Schedule: Fans can view the complete 2013 GLIAC Standings for both the North and South Divisions along with a composite schedule on the GLIAC website at

*2013 FSU Roster: Ferris State's 2013 active roster includes two seniors, two juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen. Nine of the 15 players are outside hitters, three are middle hitters and the three others fill the squad's setter, defensive specialist and libero roles.  All but two members of the team are from Michigan.

*Senior Standout: Senior Angi Kent has made the most of her senior campaign as the four-year letterwinner is among the conference's top performers in both attack percentage and blocks. She is hitting a team-leading .310 on the season with 213 kills in 102 sets. Her 71 total blocks also are second on the team.

*Ewigleben Sports Arena: The Bulldogs have compiled a 330-87 (.791) record to date in 32 seasons of competition at the Ewigleben Sports Arena since moving from the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Building in 1981. Ferris, which has accumulated six undefeated home seasons in the facility, produced a 15-1 home ledger in 2011 and was 12-2 at home this campaign. Overall, Ferris is 183-47 (.796) in home matches under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.

*Two Years Ago: The Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship while also reaching the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals in 2011 with a 27-4 overall record.  Ferris State finished as league co-champions after posting an 18-1 conference mark under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.

*Did You Know: The Bulldogs appeared in their 16th straight GLIAC Tournament this season.

*All-Tourney Honors: Fhe Bulldogs had several players earn all-tournament team or GLIAC Player of the Week honors in the 2013 campaign.  FSU senior Brandie Merren along with Alexis Huntey and Caroline Heitzman claimed all-tourney recognition after the squad's own Ferris State Invitational to open the year. Meanwhile, senior Angi Kent was an all-tournament team honoree at the Central Missouri Peggy Martin Challenge.  Finally, the Bulldogs have had two players chosen as GLIAC North Division Players of the Week in Alexis Huntey and Courtney Rehm.

*Twenty More Wins: This year marks the 12th time the Bulldogs have won 20 or more matches in a season under 18th-year head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs have reached the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament nine times in that span and advanced to the GLIAC Tournament the last 16 consecutive years to date.

*Yearbook Available Online: The 2013 Ferris State University Women's Yearbook will be available to view online in a PDF format. The publication features such information as 2013 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2012 season statistics, career and season statistical records, series records, game records, etc.

Here are the quarterfinal-round pairing for the 2013 NCAA-II Midwest Regional Tournament:

Thursday, December 5
12 p.m. Match 1 (#3 Northwood vs. #6 Indianapolis)
2:30 p.m. Match 2 (#2 Feris State vs. #7 Lewis)
5 p.m. Match 3 (#4 Ashland vs. #5 Southern Indiana)
7:30 p.m. Match 4 (#1 Grand Valley State vs. #8 Truman State)

Friday, December 6
5 p.m. Match 5 (Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2)
7:30 p.m. Match 6 (Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4)

Saturday, December 7
7 p.m. Match 7 (Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6)