SMU volleyball strengthens grip on first place

SMU volleyball completed a two-game homestand with sweeps against Memphis and Cincinnati to strengthen its grip on first place in the American Athletic Conference over the weekend.

The Mustangs allowed 18 or fewer points in five of six sets and pushed their record to 9-1 in conference play with 10 regular-season matches left.

In the Oct. 23 win over the Bearcats, middle blocker Janelle Giordano set an SMU record for most blocks in a three-match set with 12. Her efforts earned her AAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Outside hitter Abbey Bybel led the offense with 13 kills and libero Morgan Heise had 22 digs.

SMU wore special pink jerseys in its Oct. 25 sweep of Memphis as part of an effort to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. The Mustangs trailed 12-8 in the first set, but scored 17 of the next 19 points for the 25-14 win. They never trailed in the next two sets, winning 25-14 and 25-18. Outside hitter Lauren Mills recorded a career-high 15 digs and Heise led the team with 17.

The sweeps stretched SMU’s winning streak to nine as it heads into a four-game road trip starting Wednesday at Tulsa. Six of the nine wins have been sweeps, and SMU has lost just seven sets during the streak. The team’s record sits at 19-3 on the season and it is receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll for the third straight week.

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