ON TAP: North Dakota (1-2) opens its home schedule this weeked, hosting the UND Classic Friday and Saturday. It’s 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 to 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
NORTH DAKOTA VOLLEYBALL CLASSIC CENTRAL: For the ultimate volleyball fan, UNDSports.com has set up North Dakota Volleyball Classic Tournament page. This one-stop hub for this weekend’s tournament includes links to live stats, a live audio/video webcast for all UND matches, box scores, and more. Visit UNDSports.com for more information.
TOURNEY TIDBITS: UND won this tournament last season, going 3-0 by sweeping past Montana and Southern Utah as well as Green Bay, who is also in this year’s field ... UND will be searching for its 200th home win all-time (UND is currently 198-183 between the UND Fieldhouse/Hyslop/Betty Engelstad Sioux Center) ... North Dakota’s next win at home will be its 60th all-time at the BESC ... UND has won seven straight at home, including last season’s Great West Conference tournament title ... North Dakota played all three schools in this year’s Classic last season and went a combined 4-0.
LAST YEAR’S CLASSIC: UND won the title outright with three wins ... Montana scored a pair of wins over Green Bay and Southern Utah ... The Phoenix swept Southern Utah for their only win in the classic last year ... Three UND players were named to the all-tournament team, led by tourney MVP Annika Smed ... Devin Trefz and Tia Russell joined her teammate for all-tourney honors.
SCOUTING THE COYOTES (3-1): USD started the season with four matches in Montgomery, Ala. at the Alabama State ISTAP Invitational ... The Coyotes’ only loss came in a five-set nail-biter with Jacksonville State on Saturday ... USD boasts a pair of hitters averaging more than three kills per set (Kendall Kritenbrink, 3.46 and Amber Aschoff, 3.06) ... USD was picked to finish fifth in the Summit League preseason poll.
SCOUTING THE PHOENIX (1-3): After sweeping its opener, Green Bay has dropped its last three matches, including a Tuesday road tilt at Northern Illinois in its last action ... Carmen Leitermann leads the Phoenix with 41 kills (3.15/set) and is hitting a robust .405 on the young season ... UWGB was picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll.
SCOUTING THE LADYJACKS (3-1): Stephen F. Austin comes into the tourney fresh off a 3-1 loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday ... After a hard-fought five-set win over UT-Pan American in its opener, SFA rolled to sweeps over Savannah State and UT Arlington ... Sabrina Burns (34 kills) leads a trio of Ladyjacks with 30+ kills on the season (Jill Ivy- 34, Tori Bates- 31) ... Paige Holland averages 8.73 assists per set as their primary setter ... SFA was picked to finish fifth in the Southland Conference in both the preseason coach and sports information directors’ polls.
NODAK SEASON NOTES (1-2): North Dakota was 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 74-18 in head coach Ashley Hardee’s tenure (4th season) ... 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.
RONNI HONORED: Junior co-captain Ronni Munkeby was named to the 2012 Texas A&M Invitational All-Tournament Team after her performance against teams that were all NCAA tournament teams a season ago. Munkeby recorded 24 kills and 17 total blocks for the three matches combined, including a season-high 10 kills and seven blocks in the win over Texas State. The Lisbon, N.D. product leads UND in hitting percentage (.340) on the young season.
HIGH FIVE: The fifth-ranked team in the nation, Southern California, had to sweat-out a 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 win over UND in the season opener for both teams. North Dakota outhit the talented Trojans in the first set (.296-.289) but USC hit .301 for the match to escape the upset. USC went undefeated at the Texas A&M Invitational to take the team title.
SIXTEEN CANDLES: Sophomore Lexi Robinson (Ramsey, Minn.) enjoyed her first double-double of the season in the win over Texas State last weekend. She recorded a season-high 16 kills and 16 digs as UND earned its first win of the season. Robinson tallied the most kills in a single match by a UND player last season, generating 23 in a four-set win over NJIT (Oct. 22, 2011).
CAPTAINS NAMED: Juniors Ronni Munkeby (Lisbon, N.D./Lisbon) and Lisa Parlich (Delavan, Wis./Delavan-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 579-691-3 (.456) record all-time since the first game was played on Sept. 22, 1976. Under head coach Ashley Hardee, UND is 74-18 (.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.