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2008 NATIONAL TRANSITIONS VOLLEYBALL CHALLENGE HOSTED BY BRYANT UNIVERSITY SET TO KICK OF FRIDAY AT 4 P.M., CONTINUES THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON

2008 NATIONAL TRANSITIONS VOLLEYBALL CHALLENGE HOSTED BY BRYANT UNIVERSITY SET TO KICK OF FRIDAY AT 4 P.M., CONTINUES THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON

November 14, 2008

BULLDOGS SET TO HOST 2008 NATIONAL TRANSITIONS CHALLENGE FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

Live Video

SMITHFIELD, RI -- For teams all over the country this weekend, despite records like 21-3, 23-6 and 16-16, there will be no conference tournament, no playoffs, no NCAA berth. They are the Division I transitional teams, squads who are making the move from Division II to the Division I ranks and must endure a four-year waiting period before becoming eligible for Division I postseason glory.

But in lieu of the NCAA Tournament, six teams will have a championship of their own this weekend, as Bryant University hosted the first annual National Transitions Challenge at the Chace Athletic Center in Smithfield, R.I.

The tournament will feature two pools with three teams each, with the University of South Dakota, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Bryant University making up Pool A and the University of North Dakota, Seattle University and Houston Baptist University making up Pool B.

Friday's games will feature the following matchups:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14 - COURT 1
4 P.M.  SOUTH DAKOTA vs. SO. ILLINOIS, EDWARDSVILLE
6 P.M.  BRYANT UNIVERSITY vs. SO. ILLINOIS, EDWARDSVILLE
8 P.M.  BRYANT UNIVERSITY vs. SOUTH DAKOTA

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14 - COURT 2
4 P.M.  SEATTLE UNIVERSITY vs. NORTH DAKOTA
6 P.M.  NORTH DAKOTA vs. HOUSTON-BAPTIST
8 P.M.  HOUSTON-BAPTIST vs. SEATTLE UNIVERSITY

Saturday's matchups will begin at 10 a.m. and feature a championship playoff series based on each team's record coming out of pool play. The third-place finisher in Pool A will take on the third-place finisher in Pool B, the second-place in Pool A will take on the second-place in Pool B and the first-place finishers in Pool A and B will compete of the title of 2008 National Transitions Challenge Champion.

Saturday game times will be determined after the conclusion of pool play on Friday, with Bryant taking on its Pool B matchup at 2 p.m. regardless of place.

Saturday's game schedule:

10 A.M.  TBA vs. TBA
12 P.M.  TBA vs. TBA
2 P.M.    BRYANT UNIVERSITY vs. TBA (SENIOR DAY)

All games featuring Bryant University can be seen like via webstreaming by clicking here.

SCOUTING HOUSTON BAPTIST

The Huskies of Houston Baptist University are led by senior outside hitter Megan Klimitchek with 268 kills on the season. The Huskies are 21-7 overall, taking down teams such as South Carolina State, Texas Southern and University of Maine.

HBU gets 0.75 blocks per set from Alexis Forsythe (12s, 48a) while receiving 237 digs from Jessica Barrera. Natalie Magat runs the offense for the Huskies, who will enter the Great West Conference upon completing the NCAA transitional period, with 877 assists.

SCOUTING SUIE

Sophomore Sydney Winslow paces the Cougars in kills in 2008 with 258, but SUIE sports six players with over 125 kills. Samatha Schulte's 60 blocks (4s, 56 a) lead the Cougars at the net while three players have over 200 digs, led by 257 from Emily Rahn.

The Cougars are 11-13 on the year, but have faced off against teams such as then-No. 23 Illinois and then-No. 23 St. Louis. SUIE, who will join the Ohio Valley Conference, has recorded wins over such competition as Air Force, Providence College and Quinnipiac.

SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA

Leading the tournament with 340 kills entering Friday's 4 p.m. matchup, junior Britta Hanson also paces the 23-6 Fighting Sioux. With a .296 hitting percentage and just 94 errors on 831 attacks, Hanson averages 3.37 kills per set and poses a huge offensive threat for North Dakota.

On defense, Hanson also comes up big, grabbing a team-high 99 total blocks (18s, 81a) for a shade under a block per set. Lindsay Vortherms's 460 digs are a team best while 1,1014 assists from Megan Langseth pace the tournament as well. UND will also enter the Great West Conference upon full Division I membership.

SCOUTING SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota is led by 303 kills from Kathleen Hruska, who also chips in a second-best 71 blocks. But is it 72 blocks from Heather Hult (4s, 68a) that pace the Coyotes.

USD, 21-3 entering the National Transitions Challenge, has received 845 assists from Gina Baldwin, while 462 digs and 37 service aces from Amber Kobus also lead the team.

The Coyotes will also enter the Great West Conference.

SCOUTING SEATTLE U.

Despite a decieving 9-21 record, Seattle University will present stiff competition in Pool B. The Redhawks are led by 291 kills from Cristin Richards and 68 blocks from Jordan Keller.

Jamie Mellies has 904 assists on the year, while 315 digs from Shelley Anderson leads the Redhawks.

This season, Seattle has played one of the toughest schedules possible, taking on oppoonents such as then-No. 6 UCLA, then No.-10 Washington and then-No. 17 San Diego. But the Redhawks also have wins over teams such as Idaho, Boise State, Penn and North Florida.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS

Bryant looks to end its inaugural Division I season on a high note after a successful campaign that has them entering the weekend at 16-16. A pair of freshman Maria Scocca (Melrose, Mass.) and Hilary Andrews (Tipp City, Ohio) pace the Bulldogs with 307 kills apiece, while freshman Jazmin Stoner (Durango, Colo.) and junior Julie Geonnotti (St. Louis Park, Minn.) also have triple-digit kills with 277 and 136, respectively.

Senior co-captain Delia Glover (Marston Mills, Mass.) leads the team with 525 digs -- a tournament best -- while Andrews and fellow senior co-captain Maureen Atkins (Fenton, Mo.) each have over 200 digs with 249 and 250, respectively.

Scocca enters the weekend not just leading the Bulldogs, but leading the National Transitions Challenge field in blocks, registering 118 (23s, 95a).

The Bulldogs will enter the Northeast Conference fulltime in 2012-13.