The University of Memphis volleyball team will play their first two American Athletic Conference matches at home against both Wichita State and Tulsa this weekend.
The Tigers are looking to get back to their winning ways, having lost three straight games after a record 11-0 start of the season. Head coach Sean Burdette said in a press release his team is still playing ball even with the good competition in the AAC.
“Our team is playing at a new level against good competition in the AAC," Burdette said. "We’ve lost the last two matches by a combined four points, so we are right there fighting for it."
The Shockers are coming to Memphis to get rid of a losing streak of their own. They have lost eight straight games, giving them a 3-11 record coming into the weekend. Wichita State dropped their first two AAC games against Tulsa 3-2 and Cincinnati 0-3.
A player to keep an eye on from an offensive perspective is Megan Taflinger. The sophomore outside hitter leads the team in kills with 136 on the season and is third on the team in blocks with 19. Taflinger is currently on a two-game double-digit kill streak, with 17 against Tulsa and 10 against Cincinnati.
Another player to watch out for is McKayla Wuensch. The junior setter has 213 assists to lead the team with and is fourth on the team in digs with 86. She has done well serving the ball on the season too, racking up 11 service aces to lead the team.
The Golden Hurricanes began conference play with a strong statement by winning both games at home last weekend against Wichita State 3-2 and East Carolina 3-1. They are coming into Memphis with a two-game winning streak and a 9-6 record on the season.
A key player to look out for this weekend for Tulsa is freshman Dilara Gedikoglu. The outside hitter leads her team in kills with 225 on the season. She also ranks second on the team in digs with 142. The Turkish native has posted seven double-doubles this season.
Roosa Rautio, Tulsa's sophmore setter, is another threat Memphis needs to watch out for. Rautio currently leads the team in assists with 313 on the season and ranks third on the team for number of digs with 109.
Players to watch for Memphis are Sabria Cooper, Sabrina Bianco and Hannah Flowers. Bianco is coming off of an appearance on the AAC Weekly Honor Roll, Cooper has been improving her kills total each week, and Flowers was lights out the last time Memphis was home, earning her second honor roll appearance after that weekend.
The Tigers tend to perform well at home, only losing one game so far in the season. They will look to get back to winning and go into October on the right foot. Memphis will play Friday at 7 p.m. against Wichita State for Girl’s Day, and then play Sunday at 1 p.m. against Tulsa showing support for Breast Cancer Awareness.