THIS WEEK: Dakota State (9-12 overall record. 1-2 Association of Independent Institutions record) continues their volleyball action on the road this weekend. The Trojans travel to Denver, Colo. to play three matches in the Johnson & Wales Tournament. The two-day tournament event will take place at the Wildcat Center.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE & TEAMS/RECORDS: DSU kicks off the Johnson & Wales (Colo.) Tournament on Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. (Central Time)/4 p.m. (Mountain Time). The Trojans face Sterling (Kan.) (11-9 overall record) of Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Dakota State will play two matches on Saturday. The Trojans face the host-team Johnson & Wales (Colo.) (3-12, 0-1 A.I.I.) in an A.I.I. match at 11 a.m. (CT)/10 a.m. (MT). DSU concludes the tournament versus Southwest (N.M.) (3-11) of the Red River Athletic Conference.
COLORADO HOMECOMING FOR DIPAOLA AND MOSCO: Two Dakota State volleyball players will be returning back to their home state this weekend. Both were transfers from Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colo. They transferred to Dakota State last season for their final two years of volleyball eligibility. Kristen DiPaola's hometown is Trinidad while Taylor Mosco is from Pueblo, Colo.
REACHING FOR 1000 CAREER KILLS: Kristen DiPaola currently have 915 career through one-and-one-half season at Dakota State. She had recorded double digits kills in 20 of 21 matches played this year. DiPaola had recorded 30 kills twice this season, at Mount Marty (S.D.) on Sept. 3 and versus Mayville State (N.D.) on Sept. 22 in Madison, S.D. She recorded 491 kills (in 137 sets) during the 2011 season and 424 kills (in 81 sets) this season.
SCHULLER MOVES IN TOP 3 CAREER ASSISTS: After the match on Sept. 26, Stacey Schuller had moved into the top three in DSU volleyball record book for most career set assists. She currently have 2119 assists. Schuller produced 1353 assists (in 142 sets) last season and 766 assists (in 81 sets) this year. Jill Weisser currently holds the DSU school record for most career assists with 3150 from 2000-2004.
REGIONALLY SPEAKING: Dakota State dropped one spot from No. 6 to No. 7 in the latest edition of the independent weekly rankings, released Monday afternoon. The rankings are used to determine for teams to qualify for the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) post-season tournament in November. The rankings are (overall record): 1) Cal State San Marcos (16-8); 2) Jamestown (N.D.) (15-3); 3) Ashford (Iowa) (14-8); 4) Mayville State (N.D.) (18-6); 5) La Sierra (Calif.) (14-8); 6) Valley City State (N.D.) (6-17); 7) Dakota State (S.D.) (9-12) and 8) Rochester (Mich.) (12-14).
A.I.I. INDEPENDENT VOLLEYBALL CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: The Association of Independent Volleyball Conference Tournament will be hosted by Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D. on Nov. 9-10. The tournament will start with a pool play format on Nov. 9 with top two teams in each pool advancing to the single-elimination tournament and championship match on Nov. 10.
DIPAOLA TOPS NATION AND INDEPENDENT CONFERENCE: Kristen DiPaola amasses a total of 424 kills and averages 5.23 kills per set, which leads the nation and A.I.I. conference. She was named to the A.I.I. Female Athlete of the Week on Sept. 10 after recording 105 kills in a week, including 30 kills in a match at Mount Marty on Sept. 4.
DSU IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: According to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website, Dakota State ranks 21st in the nation in total digs (1328). The Trojans are 27th in total kills (969) and 40th in total assists (839). Stacey Schuller is 18th in the nation in total assists (766) and 44th in assists per set (9.5). Katie Green ranks 38th in the nation in total digs (340).
TROJANS QUICK LEADERS: Kristen DiPaola leads DSU with 22 service aces (0.3 aces per set). She amasses a total of 424 kills this season (5.2 kills per set). Stacey Schuller produces 766 set assists (9.5 assists per set). Katie Green leads DSU's defense with 340 digs (4.2 digs per set). Taylor Mosco have a total of 59 blocks (0.7 blocks per set) for the Trojans.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State went 1-2 for the week last week. The Trojans dropped a five-set thriller to in-state rival Dakota Wesleyan on Sept. 26 during the homecoming week. DWU came on top by the scores of 25-18, 21-25, 25-17, 23-25 and 19-17. Kristen DiPaola had 28 kills in the match, while Allison Thielsen added 11 kills. Stacey Schuller had 43 assists. Five players recorded in double digits digs, led by Mandi Atkins with 22 digs. The Trojans snapped their four-match losing streak with three straight sets sweep (26-24, 25-18 and 25-14) over Northland (Wis.) on Sept. 29 in Morris, Minn. DiPaola smashed 16 kills in the match. Taylor Mosco added 10 kills. Schuller produced 30 assists. DSU dropped a 3-1 decision (25-18, 25-14, 19-25 and 25-22) to Minnesota-Morris in the last match of the UMM triangular last Saturday. DiPaola had 17 kills. Caitlin Pick added 11 attacks. Schuller had 38 assists. Mandi Atkins had 16 digs and two service aces.
REMAINING SCHEDULE IN OCTOBER: Dakota State have two remaining home matches in October. The Trojans entertain Jamestown (N.D.) on Oct. 13 and Presentation (S.D.) on Oct. 16 for their final two home matches. DSU heads on the road for their last five matches of the season. The road trip includes Fremont and Omaha in Nebraska and Jamestown and Mayville in North Dakota.
COACHES' CORNER: Amy Veenhof enters her fourth season as head coach at Dakota State. She has coached three all-conference players and seven NAIA Academic All-American scholar athletes. Megan Kusler is in her first season as an 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.
LIVE STATS/PLAY-BY-PLAY: Johnson & Wales (Colo.) will be providing the live stats and play-by-play this weekend. The live stats link is available on game day on www.dsuathletics.com under 'Live Games' tab above the 'Upcoming Events.'
UP NEXT: Dakota State returns home on Saturday, Oct. 13. The Trojans welcome Jamestown (N.D.) in the battle of former Dakota Athletic Conference foes. First serve is set for 3 p.m. at the DSU Fieldhouse in Madison, S.D.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director