Summit League 2014 volleyball preview

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August 8th, 2014

Omaha, NE – Taking a look at the final standings for last year’s Summit League volleyball squads could be deceiving at first glance. IUPUI won last season’s conference tournament after finishing the year 19-14 overall (11-3 in the Summit). But Denver, South Dakota and Forth Wayne were in the thick of things until late in the conference season. We take a closer look at 2013 and a peek at 2014 while talking to all nine Summit League head coaches. This includes Summit League newbie Oral Roberts University.

 

2013 Recap:

Summit
Overall 
IUPUI 11-3 19-14
Denver 10-4 17-13
South Dakota 9-5 19-13
Fort Wayne 9-5 18-14
Western Illinois 6-8 12-18
North Dakota State 6-8 6-22
South Dakota State 3-11 5-22
Omaha 2-12 7-22

 

 

Looking ahead to 2014:

 

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: IUPUI

[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/COACH-PAYNE-iupui.mp3]
Home: The Jungle, Indianapolis, Ind.

Head Coach: Steve Payne, 3rd season at IUPUI

2013 Recap: 19-14 overall record, 11-3 conference record, 1st in Summit

At First Glance: IUPUI came out of the gate in 2013 sluggish, losing 2-of-3 to start year. They also won 8-of-9 to finish regular season.

A Deeper Look: Following OSU Tourney (where they lost all three matches) IUPUI really came on strong during conference play.

Numbers Don’t Lie: IUPUI led all teams in the Summit League with 1636 kills, 1529 assists, 174 service aces, and 2051 digs.

2014 Outlook: Jaguars return six upperclassman, three juniors and three seniors but, IUPUI loses Setter of the Year in the Summit League for 2013 – Alexis Meeks. Meeks led the summit league in assists (1303) and was 2nd in assists per set (10.8). The Jaguars also have to replace 1st team All-Summit outside hitter, Moriah Fair. Still, IUPUI should compete for tops in the league.

Notables: Junior Beth Howard, Defensive Player of the Year, returns. So does junior outside hitter Kaitlyn Hickey and middle hitter Logan Walling, an All-Freshman selection in the Summit also returns.


 

 

University of Denver

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Home: Hamilton Gymnasium, Denver, Colo.
Head Coach: Jesse Mahoney, 3rd season at Denver

2013 Recap: 17-13 overall, 10-4 in conference, 2nd in Summit

At First Glance: Denver was streaky – with winning and losing streaks of five games in 2013.

A Deeper Look: DU had a young team in 2013, as year wore on they grew stronger. 1-2 against Summit’s other top four teams (USD, IUPUI, IPFW)

Numbers Don’t Lie: Denver led the Summit League in team Hitting Percentage (.266) – Brea Muhle, led the Summit League with a whopping .445 hitting percentage.

2014 Outlook: The Pioneers lose two 1st team Summit Leaguers: Colleen King and Brea Muhle, but may compete for tops in the conference and should finish in the top tier in the final standings.

Notables: Sophomore OH’s Moni Corrujedo & Nola Basey (Freshman of the Year in the Summit), as well as junior MH Sarah Schmid, return in 2013 – All three were honorable mention All-last season.

 


University of South Dakota

[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/usd-coach-williamson.mp3]

Home: DakotaDome, Vermillion, S.D.
Head Coach: Leanne Williamson, 1st year at USD

2013 Recap: 19-13 overall, 9-5 in conference, 3rd in Summit

At First Glance: Started Summit League conference strong, going 8-0 to begin. USD lost to Denver 3-2 in Conference Tournament.

A Deeper Look: USD went 8-0 at home, 3-9 on the road. Closed out year losing 5-of-6 last games.

Numbers Don’t Lie: Coyotes’ Kendall Kritenbrink, the Summit League Player of the Year, had 12 matches with 20 or more kills. Kritenbrink, led the Summit in total kills (557, single season record at USD) and was 2nd in kills per set (4.64).

2014 Outlook: 1st year HC Leanne Williamson should hit the ground running with Kritenbrink, one of the nation’s best outside hitters, returning. Kritenbrink could easily be the back-to-back POY in the Summit.

Notables: Kendall Kritenbrink, one of USD’s three native Nebraskans, made the Summit League All-Tournament team. She also competed for the U.S. Collegiate National Team this spring.

 


 

IPFW: Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne 

[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/STEVE-FLORIO-IPFW.mp3]

Home: Gates Sports Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Head Coach: Steve Florio, 1st year

2013 Recap: 18-14 overall record, 9-5 in conference, 4th in Summit

At First Glance: Fort Wayne lost to League Champ IUPUI in Summit League Tourney – 3-2. Had young team, 8 freshman, 5 sophomores.

A Deeper Look: Mastodons went 11-0 at home – 4-10 on the road. They also won 7-of-last-8 to finish regular season.

Numbers Don’t Lie: 2.40 blocks per set as a team, 2nd in Summit. Also IPFW had a Summit best 53 ball handling errors.

2014 Outlook: That young team now has much needed experience, now with nine upperclassmen. The Mastodons’ could challenge for a spot in the top half of the league in 2014. New HC Steve Florio isn’t new to the system, having been at Fort Wayne for last 11 years.

Notables: IPFW returns two key pieces to their puzzle: Junior middle hitter, Hailie Ripley, and senior outside hitter Emily Spencer.


 

Western Illinois University

[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/COAHC-HALL-wiu.mp3]

Home: Western Hall, Macomb, Ill.

Head Coach: April Hall, 3nd year at WIU

2013 Recap: 12-18 overall record, 6-8 in conference, 5th in Summit

At First Glance: Leathernecks finished in the middle of the pack in the Summit. Like most Summit teams, they played strong at home (6-2) and poorly on the road (2-11 on the road)

A Deeper Look: WIU beat USD and Fort Wayne at home, and lost to IUPUI 3-2 at home. WIU lost 4-of-last-5 games.

Numbers Don’t Lie: WIU led the league in errors (660), Samantha Fournier was 4th in Summit with 3.75 kills per set.

2014 Outlook: Lots of experience returns – four seniors and three juniors. WIU may be a surprise in the summit league to fans, but HC’s all have WIU on their radar.

Notables: Senior outside hitter Ann Miller returns for the Leathernecks, she was 6th in the Summit in points per set (3.7) last year and 5th in kills (377).


 

North Dakota State University

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Home: Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse, Fargo, N.D.

Head Coach: Kari Thompson, 4th season at NDSU

2013 Recap: 6-22 overall, 6-8 in conference, 6th in Summit

At First Glance: One of the worst teams in the Summit according to overall record.

A Deeper Look: NDSU was a young team, including eight freshmen, in 2013. The Bison had tough early season sked, which led to many losses. Beat Fort Wayne at Home and notched back to back conference wins against WIU and UNO.

Numbers Don’t Lie: Lost first 12 matches. NDSU simply couldn’t climb out of the hole. As a team NDSU has 1.32 blocks per set, last in the Summit League. Monica Claxton was 5th in Summit in assists per game (9.95).

2014 Outlook: Still pretty young, adds five new freshmen for 2014, but should be much improved. However, this may not show in results or win and loss record.

Notables: Jenni Fassbender, 1st team outside hitter returns as does sophomores Emily Milligan (DS), Emily Miron (MH) and Monica Claxton (S)

 


 

South Dakota State University

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Home: Frost Arena, Brookings, S.D.

Head Coach: Phil McDaniel, 4th season at SDSU

2013 Recap: 5-22 overall, 3-11 in conference, 7th in Summit

At First Glance: SDSU struggled throughout the season, losing streaks of 5, 8 and 5 games.

A Deeper Look: 2013 team had two upperclassmen, one senior and one junior. SDSU had injury to begin season to most experienced player, junior outside hitter Margit Hansing.

Numbers Don’t Lie: Last in the Summit League in kills (959), kills/set (10.42), assists (885) and digs (1310)

2014 Outlook: Added a couple transfers and several freshmen to roster. Will this result in wins? Time will tell, but don’t expect a gigantic jump from the Jackrabbits up the Summit League standings in 2014.

Notables: MH Tiara Gibson and OH Margit Hansing returns for SDSU. Both should improve SDSU’s offensive ability.

 


 

University of Nebraska at Omaha

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Home: Sapp Fieldhouse, Omaha, Neb.

Head Coach: Rose Shires, 25th season at UNO

2013 Recap: 7-22 overall, 2-12 in conference, 8th in Summit

At First Glance: Youth caused plenty of headaches for veteran head coach Rose Shires.

A Deeper Look: UNO beat South Dakota in Omaha, 3-2. Mavericks were up and down during early season tourneys. They went 3-1 at Tangi Tourism Lion Classic in Louisiana – then went 0-4 at the Nike Invitational in Norman, Okla. However opponents in Norman were Miami, Oklahoma and Tulsa.

Numbers Don’t Lie: Worst hitting percentage in Summit League (.141), 6th in kills (1099).

2014 Outlook: Young team no more; the Mavericks now have eight upperclassmen, including a junior class with six players. UNO should be much improved from a last place finish in the Summit in 2013. Freshman setter Sydney O’Shaughnessy could make an impact for UNO. Time will tell.

Notables: The junior class. OH Megan Schmale (.295 hitting percentage), MB Diane Banderas (.266 hitting percentage), OH Kelley Wollak (2.77 digs per set & 2.58 kills per set, DS Kimberly Bailey (3.65 digs per set), S/RS Michaela Schimmer (3.82 assists per set).


 

Oral Roberts University

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Home: Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center, Tulsa, Okla.

Head Coach: Sheera Sirola, 12th season at ORU

2013 Recap: 22-7 overall, 14-4 3rd in Southland Conference (2014 is 1st year in Summit)

At First Glance: Summit League newcomer ORU had successful 2013.

A Deeper Look: URO was a very consistent team – they had five seniors in ’13, that helped with consistency. ORU’s largest losing streak was two games. Lost to Houston Baptist in conference tournament.

Numbers Don’t Lie: ORU’s .251 hitting percentage would have been good for 2nd place in the Summit. 1.4 service aces/set would have placed ORU in 2nd place as well. So would the 16.0 digs per set.

2014 Outlook: ORU should make a big splash in the Summit League – may even threaten defending champ IUPUI for top spot in ’14. But they must replace Laura Taylor who averaged 10.27 assists per set in ’13.

Notables: Sophomore OH McKenna Qualls and senior OH Sara Pope (1st team All-Southland conference)

 

 

 

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