Volleyball competes at JMU Invitational

Katelyn Layden and Lorin Thomas  (Courtesy of Bennett Scarborough)
Katelyn Layden and Lorin Thomas (Courtesy of Bennett Scarborough)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. - Following a five-set triumph vs. UNCW, Campbell brings an 8-4 record to the James Madison Invitational, where it will be tested against Cleveland State on Friday at 5 p.m., the host Dukes on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and Wake Forest on Saturday at 5 p.m. The trip to Harrisonburg, Va., begins a seven-match road trip for the squad.

Links to live stats for all matches can be found on the volleyball schedule page of GoCamels.com. A free audio broadcast can heard for the contest vs. James Madison. In-game updates can be found by following @GoCamelsVB on Twitter.

The Camels battle in-state foe North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C., on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The next home game for Campbell is Oct. 11 against Liberty at 7 p.m. inside Gore Arena/John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.

- The 7-2 start was the program's best since 2001, when it began 8-2. The mark tied for the third-best start to a season.
- The Camels are 5-0 in five-set matches. Campbell came back from match point, 23-24, during the fourth frame vs. San Jose St. and Georgetown to win a decisive fifth set.
- The Camels rank fifth in the nation in digs per set at 18.20 and are led by Mary Crema, who ranks fifth nationally and paces the Big South at 5.55. Hein (2.94), Layden (2.63)  and Wilson (2.49) are all back-row contributors.
- Jessica Groen leads the offensive attack with 2.73 kills per set. The presence of Alexis Hein (2.41), Lindsey Coats (2.26), Lorin Thomas (2.02) and Katelyn Layden (1.78) have provided the Camels with consistent offense threats.
- A 9.18 assists per set average has been totaled by Heather Wilson, who earned Big South Player of the Week honors on Sept. 9.
- The net presence has been created by Thomas and Coats with 0.92 and 0.74 blocks per frame, respectively.

MATCH 13 | CAMPBELL (8-4) vs. CLEVELAND ST. (8-2)

Camels All-Time vs. CSU: 0-0
Series History: This is the first meeting between the two programs.
Scouting Report: The Vikings are 8-2 on the campaign with notable victories against Eastern Michigan (3-1), High Point (3-0), UC Irvine (3-2), Cincinnati (3-0) and Navy (3-1). The pair of Maggie Hannon and Grace Kauth have paced the Vikings' offense with 3.40 and 3.35 kills per set. CSU runs a two setter offense with Dayna Roberts and Annie Djukic helping to total 12.69 assists per frame. Nikki Holmes leads the back row with 15.91 digs per set. With 1.26 and 1.09 blocks per set, Kelly Kiger and Maggie Hannon have provided a presence at the net. Head coach Chuck Voss is in his 14th season guiding the Vikings' program.


Camels All-Time vs. JMU: 1-7
Series History: James Madison has compiled a 7-1 mark in the all-time series.  The last match up was back in 2004  and the Dukes hold a 4-1 on their home court. JMU come to Buies Creek twice in 1996, notching a pair of sweeps. The only neutral-site matchup came in 1991 in Greenville, S.C., a 3-0 JMU victory.
Scouting Report: James Madison enters its home tournament with a 4-6 mark, notching wins over George Washington (3-2), Albany (3-0), Presbyterian (3-2) and Marshall (3-2). Four hitters - Janey Goodman (2.95), Lizzy Briones (2.55), MacKenzie Kleespies (2.45) and Meghan Niski (2.29) - have provided James Madison with a consistent offensive attack. Kristi Richardson has totaled 8.71 assists per set. The defense is paced by Kleespies and Katie Daorai with 3.33 and 3.28 digs per set. An average of one block a frame has been credited to Briones and Hannah Radhi. Head coach Lauren Steinbrecher is in her fourth season leading the Dukes.

MATCH 15 | CAMPBELL (8-4) vs. WAKE FOREST (8-1)

Camels All-Time vs. WFU: 0-7
Series History: Wake Forest holds a decisive, 7-0, advantage in the all-time series, including a 3-0 win last year in Winston-Salem, N.C.  This is only the second neutral site match with the last coming in Rock Hill, S.C., back in 1986 (2-0 WFU). The Demon Deacons are 5-0 on their home court and 1-0 at Campbell.
Scouting Report: Wake Forest has started the campaign with an 8-1 mark with its only loss in five sets at Cal State Fullerson. The Demon Deacons have topped notable foes East Carolina (3-0), UNCG (3-0), Gardner-Webb (3-0), William & Mary (3-1) and Presbyterian (3-1). Tallying over 3.00 kills per set have been Kristin Grissom (3.16) and Kyle Hargreaves (3.06). The offense is run by Sophia Dodd with 9.61 assists per set along with Danae Rosendall, who averages 3.57. Defensively, libero Megan Miller has compiled 4.45 digs per set. The blocking duo of Ashlee Rusk (1.21) and Grissom (1.12) have been obstacles for their opponents. Head coach Ken Murczek is in his first campaign at the helm of Wake Forest.


First-year head coach Greg Goral has helped the Camels surpass their 7-24 mark from last year with an 8-4 start. Campbell has posted a perfect 5-0 mark in five-set matches with wins over William & Mary, San Jose St., Indiana St. and Georgetown has been impressive. This is just the fourth time the program has started 7-2 or better with the only other first-year coach to accomplish the feat being T.J. Meager in 1998.

Heather Wilson, a three-year starter for the Camels, has amassed 2,603 assists, the third most in school history. She will pass Sarah Dillon (2003-06) with 2,611 assists at the JMU Invitational. Jenny Bueno (1992-95) stands atop the list with 4,439. The Concord, N.C., native is also sixth all-time with 7.12 assists per set.

Five different Camels have been named to all-tournament teams through three events. Lorin Thomas and Mary Crema received recognition following the Tribe Invite. The Hampton Inn of Holly Springs Invitational MVP was Heather Wilson, while Alexis Hein was selected all-tournament. An all-tournament honor was earned by Lindsey Coats at the Eagle Challenge.

Opponents are unable to focus on limiting the effectiveness of just a single hitter, because coach Greg Goral has five offensive threats that can step up in any give match. Jessica Groen has tallied 2.09 kills per set, but Alexis Hein, Lorin Thomas, Lindsey Coats and Katelyn Layden are all consistent attackers hovering around 2.00 kills per set.

Mary Crema has notched a pair of career-best 31-dig performances against San Jose St. and Indiana State. She was the first  Camel to hit the 30-dig plateau since Sarah Hill vs. Mercer (10/24/2009). The Loveland, Ohio, native has stabilized a back row that has eclipsed the 100-dig mark three times this season - William & Mary (120), Georgetown (115) and San Jose St. (112). 

Alexis Hein, Heather Wilson, Jessica Groen and Katelyn Layden showed their versatility on offense and defense by notching at least one double-double on the season. Five double-doubles have been achieved by both Wilson and Hein. 

Heather Wilson earned the Camels first overall volleyball player of the week honor on Sept. 9 since rejoining the Big South in 2011.  The Concord, N.C., native totaled 8.56 assists, 2.38 digs and 1.06 kills per set. She registered a pair of double-doubles including a personal-best 50 assists and 15 digs against Georgetown. A 45-assist, 13-dig and 8-kill performance was achieved by the Hampton Inn of Holly Springs Tournament MVP vs. Indiana State. 

Mary Crema was tabbed as the Big South defensive player of the week after totaling 5.77 digs per set to open the season. The Tribe Invite All-Tournament recipient reached her first 31-dig performance vs. San Jose St. and added 29 digs at William & Mary. The Camels tallied over 100 digs in each of their two victories.

Before coming to Campbell in Dec. 2012, Goral was the associate head coach at Morehead State and made his return to Wetherby Gym on Sept.  13-14 at the Eagle Challenge. He spent five seasons on Jamie Gordon's staff, where the Eagles tallied a 121-43 overall and 77-12 Ohio Valley Conference record. The highlight of the span was in 2011 when the Eagles made the NCAA Tournament. The 2012 squad ran through the OVC slate with a 16-0 mark before falling in the OVC Tournament championship game. Goral helped Morehead to four OVC regular season titles during his stay.