ON TAP: The UND volleyball team officially gets its 2012 season underway with a daunting trip to the Texas A&M Invitational Friday and Saturday. The four-team tourney includes UND, host Texas A&M, Texas State and Southern California. It will be the first meeting between UND and all three schools.
TOURNEY TIDBITS: This stacked field includes three teams that won league titles a year ago (USC- PAC 12, UND- Great West and Texas State- Southland) ... All but UND (who was in final year of DI transition and not eligible for postseason) were in the field of 64 in the NCAA Tournament ... Texas A&M advanced to the second round while USC was a semifinalist, losing in the Final Four to Illinois in five sets ... Three of the four teams are in new conferences this season (UND- Great West to Big Sky, Texas A&M- Big 12 to SEC, Texas State- Southland to WAC) ... The 2011 combined record of the four teams is a staggering 105-26 (.802) ... USC is ranked fifth in the first American Volleyball Coaches Association poll while A&M was also receiving votes.
UND CLASSIC: North Dakota returns home for the UND Classic Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, a four-team tourney that features six matches over two days at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND welcomes South Dakota on Friday night and plays host Green Bay and Stephen F. Austin on Saturday afternoon and evening, respectively.
Below is the full tournament schedule:
Friday, Sept. 2
5 p.m. - Stephen F. Austin vs. Green Bay
7 p.m. - North Dakota vs. South Dakota
Saturday, Sept. 3
11 a.m. - South Dakota vs. Stephen F. Austin
1 p.m. - North Dakota vs. Green Bay
5 p.m. - Green Bay vs. South Dakota
7 p.m. - North Dakota vs. Stephen F. Austin
SCOUTING THE WOMEN OF TROY (0-0): USC was picked to finish third in the PAC 12 preseason poll ... The Trojans check-in at No. 5 in the first AVCA preseason poll ... The Trojans are the first-ever defending Pac-12 champions after posting a 20-2 mark in conference play with four players named to the AVCA All-America team a year ago ... USC returns its first-ever All-American libero in 2012, junior Natalie Hagglund ... USC is coached by Mick Haley, who owns a 284-64 record in 11 seasons.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS (0-0): Texas State is also moving to a new conference, heading to the WAC this season ... Three of six starters and the libero return to the lineup for the Bobcats, including two-time all-conference selection Amari Deardorff and team captain Caleigh McCorquodale ... Seven newcomers also appear on the team's initial 2012 roster, two of which are transfers along with five true freshmen ... Karen Chisum, the sixth winningest active head coach in NCAA Divison I, will begin her 33rd season at the helm of Texas State.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES (0-0): In their inaugural season in the SEC, the Aggies have been picked to finish second in the SEC West behind seven-time defending west champion LSU ... A&M returns 10 letterwinners - including four starters plus the libero -- from last year's team that went 23-8 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament ... Head coach Laurie Corbelli (499-300 overall, 399-194 at A&M) is entering her 20th season at the helm of the Aggies and the 26th year of her head coaching career.
NODAK NOTES (0-0): North Dakota is picked to finish fourth in the Preseason Big Sky Coaches Poll ... UND returns nine athletes from a season ago and welcomes 11 new faces to the roster, including a pair of transfers ... UND does not have a senior on its roster ... North Dakota is 73-16 in head coach Ashley Hardee's tenure (3 seasons) ... UND is in its first season in the Big Sky Conference ... While a member of the Great West Conference, North Dakota won all three GWC postseason tournaments and two regular season titles ... UND is 18-18 all-time in season openers.
CAPTAINS NAMED: Juniors Ronni Munkeby (Lisbon, N.D./Lisbon) and Lisa Parlich (Devalan, Wis./Devalan-Darien) were named team captains for the 2012 season. The duo will lead a young UND squad making its first tour in the Big Sky Conference. The pair are the leading returning point scorers for UND from a season ago.
RECORD REWIND: The University of North Dakota volleyball program holds a 578-689-3 (.456) record all-time since the first game was played on Sept. 22, 1976. Under head coach Ashley Hardee, UND is 73-16 (.820).
YOU BETTY RECOGNIZE: North Dakota is 59-29 all-time at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, which opened prior to the 2004 season. Since 2008, UND is a staggering 37-3 (.925) including a school-record 13 wins a season ago.
THIS ONE GOES TO 11: A lot of new faces dot the 2012 UND volleyball roster as a total of 11 newcomers make-up the 20-person list. Included in that total are two transfers, junior Jessica Fontes (Grand Forks, N.D./Northland CC) and sophomore Kyle Everett (Maple Grove, Minn./Univ. of South Dakota). Nine true freshmen make their way to UND this season from five different states (Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon).
GREAT WEST DOMINANCE: North Dakota was a full member of the Great West Conference for the past three seasons and took home plenty of league hardware during its brief stay. UND won every postseason GWC tournament while it was a member (2009, 2010, 2011), won a pair of regular season crowns (2009, 2010) and compiled an impressive 31-3 (.912) record in conference play in three seasons.
UND JOINS BIG SKY CONFERENCE: North Dakota joined the Big Sky Conference as a full member beginning with this 2012-13 season. UND successfully made the transition from NCAA Division II and will be eligible for NCAA postseason play this season.
NORTH DAKOTA FOURTH IN PRESEASON BSC POLL: The University of North Dakota volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in the 2012 Big Sky Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. Reigning BSC champion Northern Colorado topped the poll with 99 total points with nine of a possible 10 first-place votes (coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams). Portland State grabbed a first-place vote and had 88 total points to place second. UND had the lone other first-place nod, tallying 70 points, one point behind third-place Eastern Washington.
UND ON THE INTERNET: UNDSports.com is the official online home of University of North Dakota athletics. UNDSports.com is a veritable one-stop shop for the most hard-core UND fan, featuring breaking news, feature stories, game notes, live and archived video webcasts, FREE audio, FREE live stats, podcasts, blogs, player profiles, merchandise, photo galleries, news feeds, camp registration and much, much more.
BIG SKY TV: All UND home matches and every Big Sky road match will be available via free video webcast through Big Sky TV. Go to UNDSports.com for more details.
UND ON THE RADIO: Three UND matches will be available on the radio as well. Tune in to hear Paul Ralston's call on Sep. 1 for the Green Bay match and catch a pair of Big Sky matches: Sept. 13 vs. Montana State and Oct. 1 vs. Northern Colorado. The matches will be aired on KKXL-AM 1440 and WDAY-AM 970.
UND ON TV: Midco Sports Network will televise three UND volleyball games as part of its broadcast deal that includes football, men's hockey, women's hockey, men's basketball and women's basketball. The first televised volleyball game comes on Sept. 13 when UND hosts new Big Sky foe Montana State. BSC defending champion Northern Colorado visits BESC on Oct. 1 and Portland State rounds out the TV schedule on Nov. 8. Check MidcoSports.com for channel availability in your area.