Schedule note: Court #2
MidAmerican Nazarene Classic
|Hy-Vee Pioneer Invitational|
Fri, Sep 13 - Sat, Sep 14
Game Time...12th-ranked Northwestern heads to play in the MidAmerica Nazarene volleyball Invitational this weekend in Olathe, Kan. The Red Raiders will play four matches in two days, beginning with Evangel (Mo.) at 1pm on Friday. They will then play Benedictine (Kan.) at 5pm Friday night and will return to play Baker at noon and Texas Wesleyan at 2pm on Saturday. Follow the live stats of all the matches on the DakStats tournament page at the following link: Live Stats!
All-Time...Northwestern is a combined 6-2 against its four opponents this weekend, owning a 2-0 record against Benedictine, 4-1 against Baker and 0-1 against Evangel. This is the first ever match-up between Texas Wesleyan and Northwestern.
Evangel...The Crusaders are 6-6 so far this season but have won four straight matches heading into the weekend's tournament. They are earning votes in the most recent NAIA coaches' poll. Evangel began the year with a 2-1 mark but followed with five straight losses, four of those to ranked teams, but have won four straight since, earning wins over Ozarks (Mo.), Tabor (Kan.), William Woods (Mo.) and John Brown (Ark.).
A member of the Heart of America Conference (HAAC), Evangel finished tied with Graceland for second place in the league standings at 7-2 last year. They finished 22-14 overall, losing in the conference semifinals to Graceland. Head coach Mary Whitehead, in her 14th season as the head of the Crusaders' program, just earned her 300th win last weekend against Ozarks. She has won 64% of her matches durign her tenure and returns 11 players and six starters off last year's squad.
Evangel is hitting .196 this season and is led by sophomore Micah Cribbs, a second-team all-conference pick last year as a freshman. Cribbs, the reigning HAAC player of the week, is hitting .214, averaging three kills and 1.2 digs per set. Freshman Morgan Kensinger ranks second in the NAIA with 67 blocks and puts down 2.1 kills per set. Mallory Sidwell, a returning second team all-conference player, leads the backrow with 3.9 digs per set as the team's libero.
Benedictine...The Ravens are 3-8 this season, earning wins over Lyon (Ark.), Sterling (Kan.) and John Brown (Ark.). Earlier this year, they lost to Northwestern (3-0) at the Bellevue Invite on Labor Day Weekend. Members of the HAAC, Benedictine finished 2012 with a 2-7 record in the conference, 7-23 overall. They lost to national championship qualifier, MidAmerica Nazarene, in the conference semifinals.
Erin Pick-Cooper begins her first season with the Ravens after serving as an assistant at MidAmerica Nazarene for a number of years. She inherits 16 players, including several starters off the 2012 team.
The Ravens average over nine kills per set, hitting .124 for the season. Karlie Dalton leads the team with 2.5 kills per set, hitting .195, and teammate Ashley Voudrie puts downs just over two kills per set. Emilee Clark takes over the fulltime setting duties and lofts up 6.4 per set to got with eight aces.
Baker...Members of the Heart of America conference, the Wildcats are on an impressive eight match win streak since dropping two straight earlier this season. They began the year with a 2-3 record, losing to Dordt and Northwestern at the Red Raider Classic and then lost to Jamestown in the first game of the Bellevue Invite. Since then, however, Baker has been unbeaten and is 10-3 this year, earning votes in the last NAIA poll.
Picked second in its conference preseason coaches' poll, Baker returns all but two of its regular rotation players off a 2012 team that finished fourth in the HAAC with a 6-3 record, 19-14 overall. They lost to MidAmerica Nazarene in the 2012 conference semifinals but earned votes in the initial NAIA coaches' poll released earlier this week.
Kathy Allen returns for her 16th season as the Wildcats head coach and has a 331-186 all-time record since taking over in 1998. She ranks 25th in all-time wins within the NAIA.
The Wildcats are averaging 11.6 kills per set, hitting .203 as a team. Danielle French, the 2012 HAAC freshman of the year and first team all-conference selection, leads the team with 2.9 kills per set and 46 blocks. Shannon McCarty and Crystal Simon both average 2.3 kills per set and are hitting .270 and .195, respectively. Renata Dill, a second team all-conference pick in 2012, returns as the libero and averages 5.3 digs per set.
Texas Wesleyan...The Rams own a 6-7 record heading into the weekend. After starting the year with a 5-1 mark, TWU has just one win in its last seven matches, falling to ranked teams Embry-Riddle and Lewis-Clark State, among others. They are members of the Sooner Athletic Conference.
TWU is hitting .169 this season, led by Abigail Zipoy and Katherine Rosenbusch, who both average 2.9 kills per set. Rosenbusch is hitting .300 and leads the team with 34 blocks. Lauren Hutchinson anchors the back row, averaging 4.5 digs per set while serving a team-high 28 aces.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders go into the weekend with an 11-match win streak, having moved up 11 spots in the NAIA coaches' poll to 12th. It marks the highest ranking for the Red Raiders since Nov. 14, 2010. They have wins over ranked teams, Baker, Oklahoma Baptist and Bellevue. Northwestern is 12-1 overall this season.
The Red Raiders are hitting .289, averaging 13.2 kills per set. They are among the nation's leaders in blocks (2.43) and limit opponents to a .129 kill efficiency. Northwestern also has 100 ace serves, 66 more than its opponents.
Kaitlin Floerchinger averages a team-best 4.1 kills per set, hitting .264 as an outside hitter. The junior earned both NAIA and GPAC player of the week honors last week in leading Northwestern to a 5-0 record. Floerchinger also averages 3.3 digs and has served 39 aces. Sophomore Karlie Schut is second on the team with 3.5 kills per set, hitting .287 on the right side. Kellie Goedken leads the team in kill efficiency (.375) and blocks (1.1) while putting down two kills per set. Brooke Fessler lofts up 10.7 assists per set and is hitting .500 as the team's setter. She earned GPAC setter of the week honors last week. Alexis Bart leads the backrow defense, putting up 4.7 digs per set, earning GPAC defensive player of the week honors.
Up Next...Northwestern returns home and will open conference play on Tuesday night against Mount Marty.
# 4 | Outside Hitter
Senior from Treynor, Iowa
# 10 | Defensive Specialist
Senior from Sheldon, Iowa
# 3 | Rightside Hitter
Junior from West Des Moines, Iowa
# 8 | Setter
Junior from Pella, Iowa