Imagine Christmas day comes and as you sit with anticipation and tear through the first package, you see something completely unexpected.
The shirts, jackets, warmups, sweats and other team gear that normally comes with the start of a new season are usually issued to the team in a non-ceremonious handoff early in the preseason. For this season's volleyball team, it wasn't an ordinary gear delivery.
"We call it Christmas when we get to open our new gear," senior co-captain Ronni Munkeby said. "When we opened them up and saw blank shirts we thought it was a mistake. But then it was explained what we had to do to represent our team and come to that point-- the message got across."
The packages contained only blank T-shirts without the ND logo or North Dakota imprinted on them as they normally are. Those engravings would have to be earned in the preseason per head coach Ashley Hardee and his idea to help the team come together for what has all the makings for being a special season.
"It's been good motivation for us," senior Lisa Parlich, who will be co-captaining with Munkeby for a second straight season, said. "We talked amongst ourselves as well, it is a little bit of a kick. We knew we had to work for it and we needed to get going right away.
"My senior season has been bittersweet so far already. I'm excited for the season to start but it's weird to be starting all these lasts. We've been scrimmaging every day and it will be good to get out there and show everyone where we're at."
So now that the ND and North Dakota images are adorned on the practice shirts, the team has come together with the same mission and goals-- just in time to do battle with one another. Saturday will be a Green-White scrimmage at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, an intrasquad affair that will pit teammates against each other. It will be healthy competition before a rigorous start to the regular season schedule with the UND Classic on Aug. 30-31. North Dakota will welcome 15th-ranked Iowa State, Texas A&M and South Dakota State to the Betty that weekend in what will prove to be a great measuring stick for this talented group.
Saturday, Aug. 24- 4:00 p.m. FREE
Friday, Aug. 30
#15 Iowa State at UND- 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 31
South Dakota State at UND- 1:00 p.m.
Texas A&M at UND- 7:00 p.m.