GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- The University of North Dakota volleyball team officially got its 2014 season underway Friday with a pair of practices at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Led by new head coach Mark Pryor, UND begins defense of its regular season Big Sky Conference title from a season ago and aims to make the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in its brief Division I era.
A roster of 16 split into two groups for much of the afternoon session, preparing for the season opener which is already just three weeks away. North Dakota opens its campaign in Washington, D.C. at the George Washington Invitational Aug. 28-29, playing Auburn, Arkansas State and the host Colonials.
UND returns a pair of All-Big Sky Conference players in senior setter Nikki Husfeldt (second team) and Anna Pioske (honorable mention, co-freshman of the year). All told, seven newcomers join nine returnees, including five full-time starters from last season: senior outside hitter Lexi Robinson, junior libero Lauren Clarke, junior outside hitter Emily Thompson as well as Husfeldt and Pioske.
Continued updates coming soon on UNDsports.com including video, comments from coach Pryor and images from the first few practices of the new season as well as updated bio information and season previews to follow.