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Game Time...Fifth-ranked Northwestern begins an important three-match home-stand as they play host to Morningside on Wednesday night, Oct. 23, at 6/7:30pm. The Red Raiders have won 25 straight matches and are currently in first place in the GPAC at 10-0, 26-1 overall. Morningside is in ninth place in the GPAC with a 3-7 record, 11-11 overall. Watch/listen live to the match live via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern is 18-10 all-time against Morningside, winning the last three match-ups. The Red Raiders are 6-4 in their last 10 matches against Morningside.
Earlier This Year...Northwestern earned a four-set win over Morningside in a match played on Sept. 20 in Sioux City, Iowa. After dropping the first set 25-23, Northwestern won the next three; 25-21, 25-10 and 28-26.
Northwestern hit .238 for the match and was led by Karlie Schut with 18 kills. Kaitlin Floerchinger (15) and Haley Chambers (11) were also in double figures while both Payton Samuelson and Kellie Goedken put down six kills each. Brooke Fessler lofted up 45 assists and Alexis Bart led the backrow with 16 digs.
Morningside hit .114 and was led by Gabi French with 12 kills.
Scouting Morningside...The Mustangs are currently in ninth place in the GPAC with a 3-7 record, trailing Concordia by just 1/2 game in the win column with six matches left to play. They are 11-11 overall and 3-2 over its last five matches. Morningside has a non-conference win over Ashford (Iowa) and wins over conference foes Mount Marty and Dakota Wesleyan over the last two weeks. Its losses are to Bellevue and Dordt.
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 ranks in the middle of the conference in both kills (12.65) and hitting percentage (.203) while ranking ninth in the league in blocks (1.5). They have 109 ace serves this season, ninth most in the GPAC.
Senior Maggie Vondrak is a three-year starter and is the Mustangs top hitter, putting down 3.6 kills per set. A two-time all-GPAC selection, Vondrak also ranks second on the team in digs (3.81). Junior Kecia Verburg is hitting a team-best .240 and is third on the team with 2.1 kills per set. Gabi French (2.7) and Amanda Woodman (1.6) are the other top hitters for the Mustangs. Hannah Roberg and TyAnn Buddenhagen, a transfer from Dakota Wesleyan, combine for nearly 10 assists per set. Grace Chvatal, a returning starter, ranks second in the GPAC with 4.9 digs per set.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders are off to the fourth best start in the program's history, coming into Wednesday with a 26-1 overall record, 10-0 in the GPAC with six matches left to go in the regular season. Most recently, Northwestern swept both Mount Marty and Doane last week.
Northwestern ranks among the top teams within the GPAC in several statistical categories, including blocking (1st-2.2), kills per set (3rd-13.3), hitting percentage (2nd-.287) and ace serves (2nd-169). Kaitlin Floerchinger leads the Red Raiders with 3.9 kills per set, hitting .240 as one of the team's outside hitters. The junior leads the conference with 55 ace serves and averages 2.9 digs per set. Karlie Schut ranks fifth in the GPAC with 3.7 kills per set and has hit for double figures in kills in all but one match this year. The sophomore is fifth in the league with 35 ace serves. Kellie Goedken is third in the GPAC in blocking (102) while putting down 2.1 kills per set, hitting a team-best .355 out of the middle. Brooke Fessler lofts up 10.5 assists per set and averages 2.5 digs per set. The sophomore averages nearly one kill per set and is hitting nearly .500. Alexis Bart is sixth in the conference with 4.3 digs.
Up Next...Northwestern will host a pair of GPAC matches this weekend, beginning with Nebraska Wesleyan on Friday night 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