The West Georgia Braves faced two teams from the SIAC Friday

Montevallo, AL – October 2, 2004 – The West Georgia Braves faced two teams from the SIAC Friday, besting both 3-0 at the 2004 Coca-Cola Montevallo Classic.

The Braves beat Albany State for the second time this season in the opener, followed by a win over Fort Valley State in the nightcap.

Saturday, the Braves battled Miles and Central Arkansas. Against Miles, West Georgia put another doughnut on the board with a 3-0 win. The Braves took a 2-0 lead against Central Arkansas, but the Sugar Bears came back for a 3-2 win.

Next up for the Braves is a return to conference play Tuesday night at Alabama-Huntsville.

Carrollton, Ga. – October 8, 2004 – The West Georgia Braves continue to eclipse milestones in the 2004 season. Friday night, the Braves blasted the Emory Eagles 3-1, defeating its first ranked opponent during the Amy Draper era.

Emory entered Friday’s match with the Braves ranked 13th in the nation in Division III. The Eagles are widely recognized as one of the best teams in the nation in Division III.

The Braves took control early, building a 20-15 lead in the opening game on the strong right arms of Bonnie Schwartz and Kathi Schoeneck. The pair combined for six kills in the 30-26 West Georgia win.

In game two, the Eagles came out swinging, building a 20-12 lead on Jolene Litzman’s six kills in the game. But, at that point, Draper called a timeout to rally her troops. The Braves mounted a comeback that ended with Emory leading 28-26. The Eagles took the final two points to take the second game.

Game three saw West Georgia begin to assert itself. The Braves jumped out to a 7-1 lead and then led 15-4. By the time the dust cleared, UWG had a 30-12 win and a 2-1 lead. The third game was the Morgan Kilpatrick to Schwartz show. Six times in the contest, the freshman pair connected for a West Georgia point.

Schwartz, Schoeneck and Stephanie Singleton led the way in game four, collecting four kills apeice in the 30-23 West Georiga win to give the Braves the match.

The West Georgia front line was a major factor in Friday’s win. The Braves had 12.5 team blocks, led by six from middle blocker Siha Collins. The sophomore also had six kills on the night, with no errors, hitting for 46 percent on her kills.

The fearsome trio of Schwartz, Schoeneck and Singleton were again stellar for the Braves. Schwartz led the way with 16 kills. Schoeneck followed up with 14 kills and just one error in the match. Singleton was close behind with 12 kills in the contest.

The win brings the Braves to 15-6 on the year with defending national champion North Alabama coming to Carrollton Monday night at 7 p.m.


Carrollton, Ga. – October 11, 2004 – Most teams don’t like to label wins as “good” or “bad.” But, for the West Georgia Braves, Monday, October 11, 2004 will go down in the record books as one of the biggest wins in the history of UWG volleyball, as the Braves ousted defending national champion North Alabama 3-2.

West Georgia entered Monday night’s contest without history on its side. The Braves were 6-38 all-time against the Lions and had not beaten UNA in the last 10 years. But that didn’t matter to the fiesty squad from Carrollton as the Braves beat their second straight ranked opponent, snapping a 12-match UNA winning streak.

Game one began with little for West Georgia fans to be excited about, with the Lions building a 10-5 lead before a time out from head coach Amy Draper. The Braves regrouped and began a comeback, tying the game at 23 before taking a 28-25 lead. UNA came right back, pulling to within one at 29-28 before the Braves finished things off for a 30-28 win.

Stephanie Singleton led the Braves in the come-from-behind effort with six kills in the game. The junior was big all night, leading West Georgia with 16 kills on the match.

The beginning of game two was very similar to the first game, as UNA built an 11-3 lead early. The Braves came right back, going on a 6-0 run to pull within two at 11-9. The teams went back and forth, with the Lions staying ahead until freshman middle blocker Sara Jett rose above the net with West Georgia down 21-20. Jett blocked a major blow from all-everything hitter Vanessa Ferretti before delivering a kill of her own to give the Braves a 22-21 lead. Another point put UWG up 23-21 and the Braves pulled away from there, winning the game 30-27.

Jett and fellow freshmen Bonnie Schwartz and Morgan Kilpatrick hooked up to pull the Braves past UNA in game two. Schwartz delivered six kills while Jett knocked down four, all on assists from Kilpatrick. The setter had 15 assists in the game. Jett also was a wall for the Braves in game two, with two solo blocks.

But, like any good team, the Lions came roaring back in games three and four. North Alabama jumped on the back of Ferretti and libero Amy Moffitt. Ferretti clocked seven kills in the two games, while Moffitt was all over the place on the defensive side with half of her digs in the same amount of time. The Lions took game three 30-17 and game four 30-12.

But Draper made a masterful move in game four with her Braves down 20-7 and the team reeling from a punishing pair of games at the hands of North Alabama. At that point, she pulled nearly all of her starters out of the game to rest for the final 15 points of the match.

Game five was an all-out war. For the first 11 points, neither team would give an inch. The Braves pulled ahead at 12-11, then 13-11. At that point, The Braves had total control and the raucous crowd was behind them. With the score 14-11 and West Georgia on serve, Anna Gautreau delivered the ball over the net. Ferretti received the serve, passing the ball to setter Laura Bellinger. Bellinger set up Traci Venable for a kill, but she hit the ball directly into the waiting hands of West Georgia’s Siha Collins. Collins blocked the shot down for a 15-11 West Georgia win, sending the Braves and their fans into a frenzy.

In addition to Singleton’s night, Schwartz delivered 15 kills on the night, followed by Kathi Schoeneck with 11 kills. Jett finished the night with six blocks and Kilpatrick set up the Braves 43 times on the night.

The win brings West Georgia’s record to 16-6 on the season and 5-2 in the Gulf South Conference. North Alabama falls to 14-5 and 6-1 in conference play. West Georgia hosts Montevallo Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Women’s Athletic Spotlight: Stephanie Singleton

Carrollton, Ga. – October 13, 2004 – Consistent losing is a distant memory for West Georgia volleyball. But, the tough times are not far removed, which makes the Braves’ current success that much sweeter for Stephanie Singleton

The junior outside hitter was here two years ago, the best player on a squad that won just two volleyball matches. She was a big factor in getting the Braves above .500 in 2003.

Now, she is a major cog in the success of the 2004 version of West Georgia volleyball. The Braves have done a complete 180-degree turn under head coach Amy Draper. They are 16-6 and more importantly, 5-2 in th Gulf South Conference.

“This season has been much more fun,” Singleton said. “Not just because we are winning, which helps a lot, but the team is more athletic, and we are more like sisters than close friends.”

Singleton is already in the record books, being at least 5th all-time in four different categories: service aces (4th), digs(3rd), kills(5th) and total attacks(5th). She has been the team leader in all four categories in her first two seasons as a Brave.

Currently, Singleton is leading the team with 755 total attacks and is tied for the team lead with 37 service aces.

“It is such a huge relief to have players like Bonnie (Schwartz) and Kathi (Schoeneck) on the net with me,” Singleton shared. “The past two years, I have had a lot of pressure on me to perform. It’s great to have great players around me to take some of that pressure off.”

Monday night was perhaps the biggest test of legitimacy for the 2004 Braves, as defending national champion North Alabama came to town. No person on the West Georgia bench had tasted victory over the most dominant team in the Gulf South Conference.

Led by Singleton’s 16 kills, West Georgia upended the Lions 3-2 in one of the greatest volleyball matches ever played in the HPE building. The Arlington, TX native was all over the place on the defensive end as well, tying with Anna Gautreau with 13 digs in the match.

“It was so crazy,” Singleton said, “The whole match is just a blur in my mind still. There were so many times where we could have lost our composure and folded, but we kept on moving forward.”

But, the team goal for a leader like Singleton is still to make the conference tournament. That goal is plainly in sight, but the Braves aren’t out of the woods just yet.

“We can’t coast or go out half-hearted in our remaining games,” Singleton said. “Now people will have to step up to play against us. In the past, it was like, ‘Oh, it’s just West Georgia.’ That’s the best thing that has changed, we are a legitimate opponent for anyone.”

Singleton was one of the first building blocks that Draper brought in to turn West Georgia volleyball around. The program is very much off the ground, but not yet where it would like to be.

Braves set school record with win over Montevallo

Carrollton, Ga. – October 13, 2004 – Wednesday night was a record setting night for the West Georgia Braves. The Braves cut down Montevallo 3-0, giving UWG its sixth conference win of the season, a school record.

After an huge emotional win, a small letdown could be expected. The Braves came out slowly, hitting for just 17 percent in the first two games of the match. West Georgia is hitting on 26 percent of kills on the season, 30th in the nation. But in game three, the hitting came back out as the Braves hit for 39 percent in that game to preserve the shutout.

In game one, West Georgia came out quickly, building a 4-0 lead right out of the box on the strong serve of Stephanie Singleton. The junior had three aces in the match, two in the first four points of the first game. But the Falcons came back and tied the game at nine. The remainder of the game was a see-saw battle, but the Braves pulled ahead at 25-23, then coasted for a 30-26 win.

Game two started very much like game one, with the Braves opening a 3-0 lead early. But again, Montevallo came right back fighting behind seven kills from Caycee Hess. The Falcons took the lead at 21-20. But this West Georgia squad would not back down and pulled back in front and away for a 30-25 win.

In the second game, Singleton matched Hess with seven kills of her own to lead the Braves. Siha Collins was a major cog in the game, collecting six of her seven blocks in game two.

But in game three, the Braves pulled ahead and stayed ahead, winning by a 30-27 mark. Kathi Schoeneck delivered on eight kills in the game to lead West Georgia. Singleton followed that up with seven more kills.

Singleton and Schoeneck were brilliant on the night, with Singleton leading the way with 17 kills. Schoeneck was right behind with 15 kills at an amazing 59 percent clip. Morgan Kilpatrick was equally impressive on the night with 50 assists in the match.

Next up the Braves begin a seven game road trip that stretches over the next three weeks. First up is USC-Aiken and Francis-Marion on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Weekly Wrap-Up – 10/13-10/20

Carrollton, Ga. – October 20. 2004 – West Georgia volleyball enjoyed a rather routine week last week. Other than a 5-0 week, beating defending national champ North Alabama for the first time in 10 years and setting a school record for conference wins, nothing much happened.

UWG kicked off the week last Monday hosting defending national champion North Alabama. The Lions entered the contest with a 14-4 record and with their girls knowing that these Braves had never beaten them.

But that swagger quickly left the HPE Building, as West Georgia came out firing on all cylinders. Behind a great night from setter Morgan Kilpatrick and outside hitter Stephanie Singleton, the Braves took a 2-0 lead in the match.

But the Lions are defending national champs for good reason, and came roaring back in games three and four to tie the match at two games apiece.

Game five was a sprint to the finish, with neither team gaining much ground. That is, until the Braves pulled away with the score tied at 11. Siha Collins’ block of a Tracy Venable kill sealed the 15-11 victory for the historic win.

But the history didn’t stop there, as Wednesday night, Montevallo came calling. The Braves turned the Falcons away with a 3-0 loss, moving West Georgia to 6-2 in the GSC East on the year. The six conference wins are the most in West Georgia history.

The Braves’ week continued against two tough Peach Belt opponents at Francis-Marion on Saturday. West Georgia took out host FMU 3-2 in the opener, the bested USC-Aiken 3-0 in a nightcap.

The trip through South Carolina continued Sunday with a stop in Spartanburg for a match with the Converse All-Stars, whom the Braves dispatched in fairly regular order, 3-0.

The weekend was highlighted by the outstanding play of middle blocker Sara Jett. The freshman had 31 kills on the weekend, hitting at an amazing 72 percent on her attacks.

Record book update:
Several Braves have made strides in the past couple of weeks, heading into the record books.

Stephanie Singleton continues to be on pace to place her name at the top of the heap in several categories by the time she finishes her career at West Georgia. The junior now sits at third place all-time in both digs and service aces. She is 108 digs away from the record and 46 service aces away from the best all-time at UWG. She is in fourth place in both kills and total attacks. She is 205 kills away from being the all-time leader in that category. But total attacks will be a tough row to hoe, she is 774 away from just third place all-time . . . Siha Collins continues to rise up the list in all-time blocks. The sophomore is now tied for 12th all-time and is 22 blocks away from 11th . . . Freshman Morgan Kilpatrick is on her way to the top as well in the assist category. The Athens native is in eight place all-time in assists with 1,090 in just this season. She should be in sixth place by the close of the 2004 season and if she continues on this pace, she will break the all-time record at the mid point of her junior season.

Another milestone realized

Carrollton, Ga. – October 21, 2004 – The 2004 West Georgia volleyball season has been one for the record books thus far. Tuesday, the Braves reached another milestone with its first ranking of any kind in program history, In the October 20 AVCA Regional rankinkgs, West Georgia was ranked ninth.

“It’s such an amazing thing to be able to coach these girls,” head coach Amy Draper said. “They have such drive and will to continue to get better that it makes my job easier. They have exceeded every expectation I had for them before the season started.”

West Georgia is now 17-6 on the year and 6-2 in the Gulf South Conference. Currently, the Braves sit in third place in the East Division standings behind North Alabama and Alabama-Huntsville.

UNA is third in the regional rankings and Alabama-Huntsville is tied for sixth. Harding is the other ranked team from the GSC.

The ranking puts the Braves into position for continuing the 2004 season beyond the Gulf South Conference tournament. Conference champions and the top eight squads other than conference champs are invited to the NCAA regionals.

Next up for West Georgia, the Braves hit the road Saturday to take on Valdosta State. UWG won the first matchup between the two squads earlier this season, beating the Lady Blazers 3-0 on September 26.

The next home match for the Braves is on November 2, when West Georgia hosts West Alabama at the HPE Building on campus at West Georgia. First serve is at 7:00 p.m.

UWG wins fifith straight conference match

Carrollton, Ga. – November 2, 2004 – The West Georgia volleyball express turned the corner down the home stretch Tuesday night, blasting the West Alabama Tigers here in the final game before Thursday night’s huge season finale showdown with Alabama-Huntsville.

Despite playing a team that it had beaten earlier this season, this match was very important for the Braves, who were coming off a loss at Lee University. UWG is currently tied for second with Alabama-Huntsville in the GSC East standings, and Thursday night’s contest at the HPE Building will decide which team gets the second seed out of the East at the Gulf South Conference tournament next weekend.

The Tigers came out playing inspired volleyball, with neither team able to make any headway in the first 21 points of game one. West Georgia pulled ahead at that point, jumping out to a 25-21 lead. The Braves cruised at that point to a 30-26 victory.

In game two, it was more of the same, but the Braves pulled away midway through the game for a 30-22 victory. After two games,West Georgia junior Stephanie Singleton had 12 kills in 15 attempts with no errors.

Game three was a battle similar to game one, with West Alabama building an advantage once the teams got to the 20 point mark. The Tigers maintained the lead, pulling to match point at 29-25. But then, the Braves went on a run, winning six straight points for a thrilling 31-29 victory to seal the match.

Singleton finished the night with 17 kills and was the only Brave in double figures. Freshman setter Morgan Kilpatrick led West Georgia to a hitting percentage of 32 percent, the Braves’ highest in conference matches this season.

The Braves season finale is Thursday night against Alabama-Huntsville. West Georgia sits at 23-7 overall and 9-2 in conference action. The winner will be the second seed out of the East in next week’s GSC tourney.

Singleton earns weekly conference honors

Carrollton, Ga. – November 10, 2004 –In 2002 and 2003, the West Georgia Braves had no players honored with the Gulf South Conference offensive or defensive player of the week award. The announcement Tuesday of Stephanie Singleton as the offensive player of the week for her performance last week gives the Braves a fifth POW on the season.

The junior outside hitter joins Sara Jett and Kathi Schoeneck, the other Braves who have taken offensive player of the week honors this season.

Last week, Singleton was amazing in a win over West Alabama, getting kills on 12 of her first 15 attempts with no errors in that stretch. The Texas native collected 33 kills on the week at a 4.13 kills per game average.

The Braves will need Singleton and the rest of the squad to be at the peak of their game this weekend at the GSC tournament. UWG plays at 6:00 PM, EST.

West Georgia wins first post-season game in 10 years

Florence, Ala. – November 12, 2004 – West Georgia volleyball lives to fight another day. The Braves needed every bit of the court here Friday night to upend the second-seeded Henderson State Lady Reddies 3-1 in the first round of the Gulf South Conference tournament.

The match was full of blocks, digs, kills, assists and high emotions. The Lady Reddies led early in all four games, but the resolve of the West Georgia Braves shone through as the Braves were able to come from behind in each situation.

UWG won the first two games in that come-from-behind fashion, tying the game at 27 in both cases. In game one, that was the last the Lady Reddies would see scoring-wise as the Braves won 30-27. In game two, HSU managed a point before surrending at 30-28.

After dropping game three to the Lady Reddies, the Braves were in desperate need for a win in game four. West Georgia was 4-2 on the season in five-game matches, but the momentum would be all in favor of the team in maroon and white on the other side of the court.

Down 17-12 in game four, Kathi Schoeneck rose to the occasion. The junior had two service aces while the defense played tremendous as the Braves tied the game at 17. In the blink of an eye, the Braves had a commanding lead at 26-21 as the West Georgia faithful roared approval.

Leading 29-24 and with Morgan Kilpatrick serving, Henderson middle hitter Felicia Thompson went up to deliver another punishing kill. But instead, she found the hands of Schoeneck, Siha Collins and Bonnie Schwartz

The block gave West Georgia its first postseason victory since the 1995 Gulf South Conference tournament.

Schoeneck led the effort on the night, collecting 17 kills at a 37 percent clip. Schwartz followed suit with 16 kills and Stephanie Singleton was big with 14 kills on the night.

The Braves face the winner between Arkansas Tech and host North Alabama Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Schoeneck names to All-Tournament Team

Florence, Ala. – November 13, 2004 – Despite West Georgia’s finish in the semifinals, one Brave was named to the All-Tournament team at this weekend’s Gulf South Conference volleyball tournament. Kathi Schoeneck was the only player named to the team from a semifinal squad.

The All-Tournament team was voted on by the coaches after each match. Schoeneck had 22 kills in two matches and three service aces.

West Georgia runs into juggernaut in GSC Semifinal

Carrollton, Ga. – November 13, 2004 –Some days you have it, and some days you don’t. Saturday at the Gulf South Conference tournament, the West Georgia Braves ran into a buzzsaw in host North Alabama, falling to the Lions 3-0.

The loss ends a season to remember, as the Braves finish with a record of 24-9 and saw conference tournament action for the first time in six years. These Braves also won a GSC tourney game for the first time since 1995. But the way things ended will leave a sour taste in the mouths of this young team.

UNA came out with ferocity in defending its home turf, building a 11-1 lead, which turned into a 27-9 lead and a 30-10 final.

After losing game two in similar fashion, the Braves put up a fight in the third match, but the UNA defense was too much to handle as the UWG season ended with a 30-24 loss.

West Georgia racks up postseason honors

Carrollton, Ga. – November 15, 2004 – The historical implications of the 2004 West Georgia volleyball season continued to pour in with the release of the 2004 All Gulf South Conference teams. The Braves received five individual awards, the most in the history of West Georgia volleyball.

UWG setter Morgan Kilpatrick pulled in two awards, netting the East Division Freshman of the Year award as well as being named Second Team All-GSC.

The Athens, Ga. native was the top freshman setter in the conference, placing sixth in assists in the GSC. She also averaged 1.42 digs and .41 blocks per game and was the court general for a West Georgia squad that smashed the school record for conference wins with nine on the season. Kilpatrick finished the season with 1,405 assists, 18 shy of the school single season record. She is currently in sixth place all-time in assists, with just 62 left until fifth place.

The only Brave to win First Team honors was junior outside hitter Stephanie Singleton. The Arlington, Texas native becomes the first West Georgia volleyball player to be named First Team All-GSC.

Singleton is well on her way to being at the top of the record books in four categories. Her 438 kills this season brings her three-year total to 1,253, just 116 away from becoming the all-time leader. She sits in fourth place currently. In digs, the junior is in second place all-time with 1,027, just 26 shy of being the all-time leader. Singleton has been a stalwart in the rebuilding of the volleyball program and the only starter on this year’s squad who has been here for all three years under head coach Amy Draper

Kathi Schoeneck earned Second Team honors along with Kilpatrick. This is the second award in two days for the junior from Berlin, Germany. Saturday, Schoeneck was named to the All-Tournament team for her play at the Gulf South Conference Tournament. She led the Braves to a 1-1 record in the tourney, leading West Georgia with 17 kills in a win over Henderson State.

Schoeneck was steady throughout the season, collecting 373 kills at a 3.11 kills per game clip. She was second on the team in service aces with 58 and was there when Kilpatrick couldn’t get to a ball, getting 45 assists on the year.

But the players weren’t the only ones garnering awards, as Draper won the distinction of East Division Coach of the year. Draper has been the catalyst behind a massive turnaround for West Georgia volleyball, taking the squad from a 2-34 record in her first season to a 24-9 record this year.

In her rookie year as a collegiate head coach, the Braves were winless in conference action. The 2004 Braves, just two years removed from that 0-12 performance, went 9-3 in conference play, earning the school’s first conference tournament bid in six seasons.

The coach of the year distinction is the first for a West Georgia coach in 17 years, the last being Judy Kirkpatrick in 1987. It is just the third for West Georgia athletics since 1997. Ed Murphy won the award in ’97 for men’s basketball and Doc Fowlkes was coach of the year in the 1998 baseball season. Florence, Ala. – November 13, 2004 – Despite West Georgia’s finish in the semifinals, one Brave was named to the All-Tournament team at this weekend’s Gulf South Conference volleyball tournament. Kathi Schoeneck was the only player named to the team from a semifinal squad.

The All-Tournament team was voted on by the coaches after each match. Schoeneck had 22 kills in two matches and three service aces.

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