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Missouri St Fall Invitational Preview
Missouri St Fall Invitational Preview
Published by BeckysTXA
09-10-2019
Missouri St Fall Invitational Preview

Riding the highs of knocking off Michigan, the Flyers travel to compete in the Missouri State Fall Invitational starting on Friday the 13th against Southern Methodist and Kansas State. Of the first seven UD matches this season, it’s highly probable five teams will make the NCAA tournament (FL, MO, LV, TXAM, MI). It’s also possible Miami (OH) and NIU can win their conferences for an auto bid. A brutal schedule for sure and, yes, this weekend is a little easier just for the fact there are no ranked opponents. But the Flyers will need to build on the Michigan win and understand there are no easy matches in search of continuous improvement and a more consistent, high-level performance on the court.

The team is certainly on track to make the NCAAs right now. In the past UD hosted the first weekend. But, most of those years it was because other higher-seeded programs hadn’t put in a bid to host. Today, everyone puts in a bid and thus you have to be a Top 16 seed to host. After two weeks, that’s probably the only thing off the table for goals this season. Still in play is dominating the A10 and winning both the regular season and tournament championship, securing the auto bid or an at-large bid and making the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. And, although probably not an actual team goal, from a fan perspective, a return to the Top 25.

From a performance basis, the team is behind where fans thought they would be this year. Heck, it’s not a stretch to say they are behind where they thought they would be. But it’s early and the Michigan match proved one very important point…this team is not done. This team can still accomplish more than any volleyball team in program history. Prepare. Play. Learn.

Southern Methodist University - Friday, September 13 @ 11 am

I know SMU Football received the “death penalty” from the NCCA several decades ago exposing wide-spread corruption, and the once-storied program has never been the same since. Many believe this historic case is why the NCAA has been hesitant to levy appropriate penalties to Power 5 schools. Other than this, I know nothing about SMU sports, including Volleyball…and I lived in Dallas for a decade. So here is what I researched…

The Mustangs also referred to as the “ponies” (ok…I also knew that) finished 5th in the ACC last year behind UCF, Cincinnati, Tulane and Tulsa. UD beat Cincinnati last year at Frericks 3-2. Additionally, Wichita State had a down year and finished seventh. The Shockers will move up this year, which probably pushes SMU down in the standings.

SMU has no Top 100 recruits, but they do have six Top 250s. All but one player, come from either Texas or California. You can not underestimate the abundance of volleyball talent coming out of these two states. You have to look no further than California native and Dayton alum, Amber Erahon. Erahon was not a Top 250 recruit but had plenty of potential and athleticism when she arrived in Dayton. She came into the program, worked her tail off and ended up the A10 POY and has an AA banner hanging in Frericks. The point being there is a lot of talent in these two states that end up playing on less-known club programs in high school. Clubs that don’t get seen by the college coaches who make up the committee that determines what players get ranked. The Flyers can not overlook SMU.

The Mustang’s head coach has been at SMU for all 23 varsity seasons. She’s the only volleyball coach SMU has ever had. That says a lot. She has coached 11 All-Americans and in 2008 she had the 46th ranked recruiting class. 2018 was a down year for the program going 12-16. Between 2013-17, the program had four years winning more than .700 of their matches and one year at .656.

Last year at this time, Dayton was reeling in injuries. Staying healthy is critical this season. Sierra Pla finished the Michigan match on crutches. Pla hobbled off during the third set. She went straight over to the coaches and then behind the bench to the trainers instead of to the end of the bench. She appeared to sustain a trip or fall during a long point when she traveled off the court. But, she came back on the court, while the rally continued, and set two blocks to help Dayton win the point. It doesn’t appear to be too critical, because Head Coach Tim Horsmon says the team is in good shape.

“Overall, we are healthy. Obviously the season is long and we have a great athletic training staff that manages injuries and soreness as best they can,” he said. “We have great depth on our bench, so we are not super concerned about our health right now.”

Even if Pla is out, Dayton should win this match. It would be easy to predict a 3-1 score. But this Flyer team needs to learn to play at a high-level on a consistent basis. This is a perfect opponent (as MO St will be on Saturday) where Dayton needs to bring it’s A-game and finish it off in a sweep. We are playing from behind when it comes to our on-court performance this year. There won’t be many teams in the A10 that have six Top 250 recruits. This is an opportunity to not only say we are a better team than programs with some elite-talent on their rosters but to also show we can dominate these teams.

Kansas State - Friday, September 13 @ 8:30 pm

Note: The start time of this match is being reported as 8:30 pm by Dayton, but 8 pm by both KS St and MO St.

Either way, Dayton will have plenty of time to recover from the earlier match and prepare for Kansas St, the toughest match this weekend. Another P5 opportunity to pick up a good win, but it won’t be easy. Both teams are equal in elite-level talent. UD has 3 Top 100s to KS St’s 2. That’s basically the difference in UD’s 10 total and KS St’s nine ranked recruits. But…the Wildcats return two All-Americans whereas Dayton returns one. All net, this will be another tough match to win and another perfect opportunity for the Flyers to come out and show they can play at a high-level for a large percentage of the match.

Dayton is continuing to diversify its offense. This past weekend, OH Alli Papesh played more rotations in the back row giving us a second hitter that can attack out of the back in addition to OH Jamie Peterson. Papesh was also seen swinging from both the left and right pins.

“Alli is definitely a versatile attacker that can hit on both the left and right side,” Horsmon said. “Being able to hit on both pins as an OH is an advantage especially in serve receive where we can line them up to attack on the right side based on match ups.”

What that means is if teams have a “shorter” player along the front row they can pair one of our hitters up against, having outside hitters that can hit from both pins allows you to exploit that when you receive serve. That’s what UD did with Alli against Michigan.

Several fans asked about Dayton’s future plans to install a replay system. Horsmon addressed this.

“We’re looking into adding replay – however, it would probably need to be something that our conference mandated for it to make a lot of sense for us. Most of the places you’re seeing it used, its something their conference is mandating. As for my experience with it, I think it’s beneficial as long as it doesn’t slow down the match too much.”

Against Michigan, Dayton won the serve and pass game in the critical fifth set with the match on the line. They will have to continue to improve this part of their game against Kansas St. if they are going to win this match. Teams all keep their own passing grades every match, and because it is such a critical element of who will win when you have top programs competing against each other, it’s unfortunate that passing grades are not part of the box score so fans can learn how this element of the game affects outcomes. However, Horsmon does not think this will ever be part of the stats.

“I think I’d be a difficult thing to add to the stat sheet because it’s very subjective,” he said. “From my understanding of how the SID and their staff keep track of stats, this would also be a very tough thing for them. They are tracking every touch, so to have to subjectively grade a pass on top of that would probably be too much. Not to mention how each person’s interpretation of the pass would impact your passing grades from venue to venue. It’s something that is much easier for us to keep track of on our own and share with our team as needed.”

Again this weekend on the road, live stats will be available for the SMU and KS St matches and streaming video for the match against host MO St. Live stats were not 100% functioning last weekend and I would expect some continued issues as figgie123 explained it’s probably at the provider level within the NCAA. I looked up stats on the A10 website and they too are not accurate. A work-in-progress at best.

Against KS St, the Flyers will have to deliver their best game to take care of the Wildcats. Like UD, KS St has fought through three five-set matches this year, beating Clemson and Omaha, but falling to Maryland. They have also lost to NC State. Dayton has certainly played a tougher schedule having battled with four ranked teams. The key is what the Flyers have learned from those matches. Against Michigan, the team took some punches but stayed after it and didn’t fold. They kept fighting. Dayton is KS State’s toughest out-of-conference match. The Wildcats will be looking for a good resume’ building win to boost their at-large possibilities. They won’t win their conference, making this match even more important for them. Dayton has to be ready to not let them open any doors, even a crack, during this match.

The goal should be to send a message with the KS St match. Play clean and limit the errors. The journey this year has had more bumps than anticipated. I’d like to see a sweep of KS St, but predict a 3-1 win. The important season goals are all still in play.


MO St match preview will be posted after Friday matches.
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  #1  
By Chris R on 09-10-2019, 09:17 PM
Posted to social media!
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  #2  
By Figgie123 on 09-11-2019, 06:46 AM
AAC, not ACC.
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  #3  
By BeckysTXA on 09-11-2019, 07:13 AM
Originally Posted by Figgie123 View Post
AAC, not ACC.
Thank you. Mental slip. I should have just written out American Athletic Conference.
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  #4  
By udisit19 on 09-11-2019, 11:22 AM
SMU's only loss right now is a 5-set home loss to Stephen F. Austin. The SFA Lubber-Jacks are undefeated at the moment.

A Dayton win over SMU will look good. It will look real good if Dayton can win it in 4 sets and very very good if Dayton can do it in 3.
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  #5  
By udisit19 on 09-11-2019, 11:35 AM
It is worth noting that Kansas State's MSU Fall Invitational begins on Thursday night against the Missouri State Bears. You can watch that match on ESPN+ Thursday at 7:00 PM.
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  #6  
By BeckysTXA on 09-11-2019, 12:24 PM
Originally Posted by udisit19 View Post
It is worth noting that Kansas State's MSU Fall Invitational begins on Thursday night against the Missouri State Bears. You can watch that match on ESPN+ Thursday at 7:00 PM.
Good catch...I missed this. I did note Weber St is also in this tournament but we do not play them.
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  #7  
By BeckysTXA on 09-13-2019, 08:41 AM
FYI: All websites now reporting KS St match at 8 pm tonight.
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