THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University volleyball team (16-19 overall record) plays their final regular-season action on Saturday afternoon. The Trojans face their former Dakota Athletic Conference foe South Dakota Mines (25-5) in both teams' second meeting of the season. First serve is set for 4 p.m. (Central Time)/3 p.m. (Mountain Time) at King Center in Rapid City, S.D.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State competed in the University of Sioux Falls Halloween Tournament which featured three NCAA Division II and NAIA nationally-ranked teams. The Trojans were unable to get a win out from the tournament. DSU lost a five-set match to in-state rival University of Sioux Falls (21-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-22 and 15-12). Lindenwood (Mo.) defeated the Trojans in three straight sets (25-23, 25-21 and 25-22). Minot State won the battle of former Dakota Athletic Conference on Oct. 29. The Beavers defeated DSU in four sets (19-25, 25-16, 25-20 and 25-18). The Trojans dropped their final match of the tournament to No. 23 Grand View (Iowa) 25-17, 25-16 and 25-17. South Dakota Mines went 3-1 in the Cardinal Stritch Tournament in Milwaukee, Wis. last weekend. The Hardrockers opened the tournament with a 3-0 win (25-12, 25-21 and 25-17) over Calumet-St. Joseph (Ind.). SD Mines lost a 3-0 decision to the host-team Cardinal Stritch (25-18, 31-29 and 25-23. The Hardrockers bounced back and defeated Clarke (Iowa) 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-22 and 25-13) and Ashford (Iowa) 3-0 (25-22, 25-20 and 25-18). South Dakota Mines heads on the road in Spearfish, S.D. for a match with their rival Black Hills State on Nov. 2.
TROJANS QUALIFY FOR A.I.I. VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT: Dakota State was one of the six qualifiers to play in the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) volleyball tournament to be held on Nov. 11-12 on the campus of Arizona Christian in Phoenix, Ariz. The tournament play starts with a pool play on Friday, Nov. 11. The Trojans, seeded No. 5, will play No. 1 seed La Sierra (Calif.) at 3 p.m. and No. 4 seed Mayville State at 7 p.m. No. 2 Cal State San Marcos, No. 3 seed Jamestown and No. 6 seed Arizona Christian are in the other pool. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 12. The semifinals winners (A.I.I. Volleyball Championship match takes play late Saturday night, Nov. 12) will earn an automatic bid to the NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round at campus sites on Nov. 19.
LAST MEETING: South Dakota Mines, entering their first year membership in the NCAA Division II, defeated Dakota State in their last meeting on Sept. 23 in Madison, S.D. The Hardrockers won in four sets by the scores of 25-19, 21-25, 25-20 and 25-23. Kristen DiPaola had 18 kills and Stephanie Kruggel added 11 kills for DSU. Kruggel recorded six service aces. Janelle Strampe had 15 kills for SDM. Sara Schmidt added 12 kills. Rachel Pekarek led the Hardrockers' defense with 17 digs. South Dakota Mines outhit the Trojans 55-43. DSU recorded nine service aces compared to the Hardrockers' one.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: According to DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Wednesday, Stacey Schuller ranks eighth in the nation in total assists (1244). Stephanie Kruggel is 13th in the nation in total kills with 464. Kristen DiPaola ranks 15th in the nation in total kills (446). As a team, DSU ranks 16th in the nation in total digs with 2193.
COACHES' CORNER: Amy Veenhof enters her third season as head coach at Dakota State. She has coached one all-conference player and five NAIA Academic All-American scholar-athletes. Jessica VanLoy is in her first season as an assistant coach. She guided the Trojans' junior varsity volleyball program this fall. Becky Smith is in her first year as a student assistant coach.
WATCH IT: Follow DSU-South Dakota Mines volleyball match paid live video coverage through America One. Go to http://www.b2livetv.com/partner_members.asp?id=71 for more information.
UP NEXT: Dakota State prepares for the A.I.I. volleyball postseason tournament on Nov. 11-12. The Trojans get started with a pool lay on Friday, Nov. 11 against La Sierra (Calif.) and Mayville State. The matches will be held at Fultz Gymnasium on the Arizona Christian campus in Phoenix, Ariz.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director