THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University volleyball team kicks off their 2013 campaign on the road Saturday night. The Trojans visit Briar Cliff (Iowa) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Newman Flanagan Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
LAST MEETING: It was exactly one year ago that both Dakota State and Briar Cliff met in the 2012 season opener at DSU Fieldhouse (Aug. 24, 2012). The Trojans jumped to a 2-0 set lead, but the Chargers rallied back to take the final three sets to take a 3-2 match victory (24-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-13 and 15-8). BC took the season series in the second meeting of 2012 in Sioux City, Iowa by the score of 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 17-25 and 25-16).
NEW ERA: Dakota State is entering the new era this fall. DSU is one of the five charter members in the newly-formed National Intercollegiate Association of Athletics' conferenceâ€”the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA). Jamestown (N.D.), Mayville State (N.D.), Presentation (S.D.) and Valley City State (N.D.) are the other charter members. Dickinson State (N.D.) will join the NSAA, starting in 2014-15 academic year. The 2013 NSAA volleyball season will consist of eight conference matches with five teams competing for the conference crown. The NSAA Volleyball Conference Postseason Tournament play kicks off on Nov. 2. The NSAA volleyball championship match is scheduled for Nov. 9 at the highest seed remaining. DSU was a former member of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) conference for the past two years.
2012 IN REVIEW: The Trojans finished the 2012 season with an overall record of 12-20. Kristen DiPaola surpassed the 1,000-kill club and accumulated the second most kills in a single season with 591. She ranked second in the nation in kills per set (5.1 kills). She held numerous records in the Trojan Volleyball record book including most kills in a single match on several occasions. DiPaola was named to the A.I.I. All-Conference team. Senior Katie Green led the team with 491 digs (4.2 digs per set). Taylor Mosco, also a senior for the Trojans, recorded 81 blocks (0.7 blocks per set) to led DSU. Stacey Schuller was ranked 50th in the nation in assists per set with an average of 9.3 assists.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: Dakota State have 22 players on this year's volleyball roster. The Trojans return seven players from last year's team. Shayna Dwyer will be a senior this season. Juniors Caitlin Pick and Schuller and sophomores Jamsine Pace, Michele Rogers, Chelsey Foster and Allison Thielsen also return back to the team. DSU have 15 new faces this season, including two junior transfersâ€”Kelci Viesselman and Kat Gonzalez. There are 12 freshmen on the teamâ€”Brittany Anderson, Chelsey Davis, Heather Dearing, Voni Finck, Haley Hillestad, Kylie Martin, Jessica McKenney, Mackenzie Schultz, Annika Stephens, Taylor Stratton, Kaylee Vander Wal and Tessa Weeldreyer. DSU will have a junior varsity team this season and are scheduled to play 12 matches. Amy Veenhof is entering her fifth season as DSU volleyball head coach, assisted by Megan Kusler (2nd season) and student assistant Tom Mettler (1st season).
NSAA VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON RANKINGS: Jamestown (N.D.) was picked as the preseason favorite to win the inaugural NSAA Volleyball Coaches' Poll. The preseason poll was voted among the league coaches. The Jimmies tallied five first-place votes and 25 points to earn first place in the preseason poll. Mayville State was picked to finish second with 18 points, followed by Valley City State third (14 points), Dakota State fourth (13 points) and Presentation fifth (5 points).
TWO DSU NETTERS NAMED NSAA VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON TEAM: Two Dakota State volleyball players were named to the first NSAA Volleyball Preseason Team. Sarah Becker, a senior middle blocker from Jamestown, was selected as the NSAA Volleyball Preseason Player of the Year voted by the conference coaches. DSU's Kelci Viesselman and Stacey Schuller, Jamestown's Kelsey Deragisch, Mayville State's Josette Glatt, Presentation's Megan Goedert and Valley City State's Emily Plowman and Aurissa Martens were named to NSAA Preseason Volleyball Team.
BUSY SCHEDULE: The DSU volleyball team will have a busy schedule ahead. The Trojans are scheduled to play 12 matches in 18 days. DSU is slated to travel to Sioux City, Iowa for two straight matchesâ€”Briar Cliff (Aug. 24) and Morningside (Iowa) (Aug. 28). DSU plays four matches in the Corn Palace Classic next weekend (Aug. 30-31) and returns home on Sept. 3 versus Briar Cliff. On Sept. 4, the Trojans travel to Yankton, S.D. to take on their in-state rival Mount Marty. On the weekend of Sept. 6-7, DSU heads to Hastings (Neb.) to play four matches in the Hastings Classic. The Trojans play four Nebraska schools, including three from the GPAC conference.
DSU JUNIOR VARSITY SEASON KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND: The Dakota State junior varsity volleyball team will kick off their 2013 season this weekend in Willmar, Minn. The Trojans play four matches in the Ridgewater College (Minn.) Volleyball Classic. DSU faces North Dakota School of Science at 11 a.m. and host-team Ridgewater at 5 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 23). On Saturday (Aug. 24), the Trojans play Ellsworth (Iowa) at 9 a.m. and Central Lakes (Minn.) at 11 a.m. Each match will be best three sets out of five sets.
RECORDS WATCH: Stacey Schuller is currently third in the Trojan Volleyball record book for most career set assists. She recorded 2,440 assists through her first two season at Dakota State. Jill Weisser currently holds the DSU school record with 3,150 career assists from 2000-04. Schuller amassed a total of 1,353 assists (26 matches) in 2011 and 1,087 assists (22 matches) in 2012.
COACHES' CORNER: Amy Veenhof enters her fifth season as head coach at Dakota State. She has coached three all-conference players and seven NAIA Academic All-American scholar athletes. Her teams had been named to NAIA Scholar Team three times. Megan Kusler is in her second season as an assistant coach. Tom Mettler enters his first year as a student assistant coach.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State volleyball and athletics all season long at www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter; just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
WATCH IT: Briar Cliff will be providing a live video coverage of the volleyball match on Saturday night. Fans wanting to follow the action can go to the following link: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/briarcliff.portal#. The link also will be available on www.dsuathletics.com in the 'Live Games' tab above the Upcoming Events.'
UP NEXT: Dakota State continues their action on the road next week. The Trojans travel to Sioux City, Iowa again on Wednesday (Aug. 28) as they take on the GPAC foe, Morningside (Iowa). Junior varsity match kicks off at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity match at 7:30 p.m. On Aug. 30-31, DSU heads to Mitchell, S.D. to play four matches in the Corn Palace Classic, hosted by Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.).
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director