Game Time...11th-ranked Northwestern plays a pair of conference matches this weekend as they face Morningside on Friday night in Sioux City, Iowa, followed by a home match on Saturday afternoon against Doane. Friday night's match is at 6/7:30pm while Saturday's home match against Doane is at 3:30/5pm. Northwestern is 1-0 in the GPAC, 17-1 overall while Morningside is 0-2 in the GPAC, 7-4 overall and Doane is 1-1 in the conference, 7-7 overall. Watch/listen live to Saturday's match vs Doane on the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or follow along with the live stats in Friday's match against Morningside at the following link: Morningside Live Stats |
All-Time...Northwestern is 17-10 all-time against Morningside, winning both of the match-ups in 2012. The Red Raiders are 6-4 in the last matches against Morningside.
Morningside...The Mustangs have lost two straight matches to open GPAC play and are 7-4 overall. They lost to Nebraska Wesleyan 3-1 and then fell to Dordt in a five setter on Wednesday night in Sioux Center. Prior to that, they won six straight matches, defeating the likes of Dickinson State, Dakota State, Central Baptist, St. Gregory's, Central Methodist and Hillsdale (Okla.).
Sara Horn is in her third season as the head coach of the Mustangs and returns four starters and eight letterwinners off a 2012 team that finished sixth in the GPAC with a 7-9 record, 17-16 overall. They were picked to finish eighth in the GPAC preseason poll.
Morningside is hitting .244 as a team, fourth best in the GPAC, putting down 13.2 kills per set. They lead the conference in digs (18.8) and are in middle of the pack with 65 ace serves.
Senior Maggie Vondrak returns for her final season and is the Mustangs top hitter, putting down 3.4 kills per set. A two-time all-GPAC selection, Vondrak also ranks eighth in the league in digs (4.4). Junior Kecia Verburg is hitting a team-best .338 and is second on the team with 2.5 kills per set. Gabi French (2.6) and Caitlyn Skorczewski (2.2) are the other top hitters for the Mustangs. Hannah Roberg and TyAnn Buddenhagen, a transfer from Dakota Wesleyan, combine for over 10 assists per set. Grace Chvatal leads the conference in digs, averaging 5.7 per set.
Doane...The Tigers bring a 1-1 GPAC and 7-7 overall record into Saturday's match-up against Northwestern. After falling to 25th-ranked Hastings in the conference opener, Doane earned a 3-0 win over Concordia on Tuesday night in Seward, Neb. Among their other results, Doane owns wins over Dickinson State, John Brown, Great Falls, Montana Western, Johnson & Wales and Dakota State. They have losses to Jamestown, Baker, Valley City State, MidAmerica Nazarene, Bellevue and Oklahoma Baptist.
Gwen Egbert is in her first season as the head coach after taking over for Cindy Meyer, who stepped down at the end of the season in 2012 after serving as the Tigers' head coach for 26 years. Egbert comes to Doane following an outstanding high school coaching career at Papillion-LaVista and Papillion-LaVista South High Schools. She inherits a team that returns 10 players off a 2012 team that finished second in the GPAC with a 12-4 record, won the GPAC postseason championship and finished with a 28-9 overall record. They lost to the University of Saint Francis (Ind.) in NAIA Championship Opening Round.
Doane is hitting .155, averaging 11.7 kills per set. They are third in the league with 109 aces and are averaging just under two blocks per set.
Senior Ashley Axmann averages a team-high 3.6 kills per set, hitting .174 as one of the Tigers' outside hitters. A two-time all-conference selection, Axmann ranks third in the GPAC with 24 aces and second in digs (3.5). Abby Sorensen (2.2) and Ali Jansen (1.5) are the other outside hitters. Emily Max, a 2012 NAIA All-American, averages 1.5 kills and leads the team with a .222 kill efficiency as one of the middle hitters. Freshman Rachel Wieser takes over at the setter position and lofts up 7.1 assists per set. Karissa Blank returns in the backrow and leads the team with 4.9 digs per set.
Northwestern News and Notes...Winners of 16 straight matches, the Red Raiders have moved all the way up to 11th in the NAIA coaches' poll. They are 1-0 in the GPAC, 17-1 overall, losing only to Tabor (Kan.) in a five-setter in the second match of the year. They have wins over several teams ranked in the coaches' poll, including Baker, Evangel, Oklahoma Baptist and Bellevue. Northwestern opened GPAC play with a 3-0 win over Mount Marty on Tuesday night, led by Kaitlin Floerchinger with 12 kills.
Northwestern is fourth in the NAIA with a .289 kill efficiency, hammering down 13.1 kills per set. They lead the GPAC in ace serves (122) and blocks (2.4), ranking 10th in the NAIA.
Floerchinger leads the team with 4.1 kills per set, hitting .275 on the outside. The 2012 All-American ranks sixth in the nation with 42 aces and also averages 3.1 digs per set. Karlie Schut averages 3.6 kills per set, hitting .283 on the rightside. The sophomore is also second on the team with 25 ace serves and is third with 45 blocks. Haley Chambers is hitting .245 and averages 1.8 kills to go with 34 blocks. Kellie Goedken leads the team with a .350 kill efficiency, putting down 2.1 kills per set. The freshman ranks third in the NAIA with 75 blocks. Payton Samuelson averages 1.1 kills and is second on the team with 56 blocks. Brooke Fessler directs the Red Raider offense, lofting up 10.6 assists per set, hitting .484 as the team's setter. Alexis Bart leads the backrow with 4.7 digs per set.
Up Next...Northwestern heads on the road to play 20th-ranked Dordt on Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Sioux Center, Iowa, at 6/7:30pm.
# 4 | Outside Hitter
Junior from Treynor, IA
# 10 | Defensive Specialist
Junior from Sheldon, Iowa
# 3 | Rightside Hitter
Sophomore from West Des Moines, Iowa
# 19 | Outside Hitter
Sophomore from Sioux Falls, S.D.
# 13 | Middle Hitter
Sophomore from Gretna, Neb.
# 8 | Setter
Sophomore from Pella, Iowa
# 12 | Middle Hitter
Freshman from Sheldon, Iowa