KANSAS CITY, Mo. – UMKC volleyball opens up the 2018 campaign when it welcomes in a trio of teams for the UMKC Invitational at the Swinney Recreation Center on Aug. 24-25.
Friday, Aug. 24
10:30 a.m. - Austin Peay vs. Western Michigan
1:00 p.m. – UMKC vs. South Dakota State
4:30 p.m. – Austin Peay vs. South Dakota State
7:00 p.m. – UMKC vs. Western Michigan
Saturday, Aug. 25
11:00 a.m. – Western Michigan vs. South Dakota State
1:30 p.m. – UMKC vs. Austin Peay
About the Roos
UMKC will look to rebound from a 9-19 season a year ago and get back into its winning ways. The Roos are led by senior Emma Dyer and junior Alicia Harrington as the duo were each named Preseason All-WAC. In total, UMKC returns nine letterwinners, including five starters and its libero.
About the Opponents
South Dakota State was picked to finish eighth in The Summit League preseason poll. Senior Payton Richardson and junior Ashlynn Smith were named to The Summit League Volleyball Players to Watch List. Richardson, a middle blocker, led the team in block assists (42) and had two-or-more block assists 12 times. She also averaged 1.40 kills per set and hit higher than .300 in 11 matches. Smith led the team in kills (214) and kills per set (2.55). The outside hitter tallied 10-or-more kills in nine matches, including six times in league matches.
WMU returns 11 from last year's squad that made an appearance in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship game. In 2017, WMU was one of the best offensive teams in the MAC, ranking third in hitting percentage (.211) and second in kills per set (13.59). Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Bontrager was named to the preseason All-MAC West team on Wednesday. Last season, Bontrager played and started in all 31 matches and led the team with 3.41 kills per set en route to being named to the MAC All-Freshman team. The Mid-American Conference released its preseason coaches' poll on Wednesday with the Broncos being picked to finish second in the west division while also receiving two votes to win the conference tournament.
The Governors were picked second in the OVC's preseason poll of coaches and sports information directors. It is the second consecutive season APSU has been picked second in the poll. However, Austin Peay was the top pick of more than half the voters in that preseason poll. The Govs 14 first-place votes outpaced preseason favorite Murray State's 10 first-place votes. Senior setter Kristen Stucker, the two-time reigning OVC Setter of the Year, was a preseason All-OVC pick for a second consecutive season. She has her sights set on the Govs career assists mark this season. Sophomore outside hitter Brooke Moore also earned preseason All-OVC honors. Last season, she became the first freshman in league history to earn OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
The Blue & Gold will head to Omaha, Neb., on Aug. 31-Sep. 1 for the Omaha Classic to take on Omaha, UTEP and UIC.
– UMKC –