August 25, 2011

Northern Michigan, Hillsdale Picked To Win GLIAC Divisional Titles In 2011 Preseason Volleyball Poll

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Written by Sandy Gholston, special writer for the GLIAC

BAY CITY, Mich. -- Already well respected for producing some of the nation’s top NCAA Division II teams, this year’s Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) race is promising to be as hotly-contested as ever.

    This fall, the GLIAC coaches have picked Hillsdale College as the top team in the South Division and Northern Michigan University as the first-place team in the North Division – by just a narrow two-point cushion over second-place Grand Valley State University. That is consistent with the way things are shaping up for the GLIAC on the national stage as the Chargers, Wildcats and Lakers were ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) preseason top 25 poll. GVSU is ranked eighth, Hillsdale 10th and Northern Michigan 25th in the national listing.

    In the South Division, the Chargers were picked to finish first with 36 point. In second place, with 29 points, is Ashland University. Wayne State University is third with 26 points, the University of Findlay is fourth with 23, Tiffin University is fifth with 15, Ohio Dominican University is sixth with an 11-point total and Lake Erie College is seventh with seven.

    In the North Division, the Wildcats earned the first-place spot with 34 points, Grand Valley State placed second with 32, Ferris State University was third with 25, Saginaw Valley State University was slotted fourth with 22, Northwood University was tabbed fifth with 15, Lake Superior State University was sixth with 10 and Michigan Technological University was seventh with nine.

2011 GLIAC Volleyball
Preseason Coaches’ Poll

 

 

North Division

 

 

School (1st votes)

Points

     

1.

Northern Michigan (4)

34

 

2.

Grand Valley State (3)

32

 

3.

Ferris State

25

 

4.

Saginaw Valley State

22

 

5.

Northwood.

15

 

6. 

Lake Superior State

10

 

7.

Michigan Tech

9

 

South Division

 

1.

Hillsdale (6)

36

 

2.

Ashland (1)

29

 

3.

Wayne State

26

 

4.

Findlay

23

 

5. 

Tiffin

15

 

6. 

Ohio Dominican

11

 

7. 

Lake Erie

7

 

    Last fall, the Chargers finished the 2010 undefeated in league play and ended the season 29-2 overall. The Lakers return a group that is still fairly young, but has gained experience and enjoyed success at the same time. NMU, a program that has qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament three years in a row, is back and talent rich.

    Hillsdale won the South Division title in the regular season and won the tournament as it went on to be crowned the overall league champion. The Chargers have won or shared the overall GLIAC title two straight years. Winning the 2010 North Division title was Grand Valley State.

    This season, the league is strong and respected nationally, with three teams in the AVCA Division II Preseason Top 25 poll. In addition to those three, other challenges could stake their claim on a national ranking by the time the season is finished. First, however, GLIAC teams will set their sights on the league championship.

 

 -- The following are previews of all 14 GLIAC Volleyball teams for the 2011 season --


Ashland Eagles
Head Coach: Cass Dixon
1st Season
2011 Preseaon Pick:  2nd  (South)
2010 Record:  (17-13, 10-9 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Ashland has a young team entering the 2011 season – a roster that includes just one senior: 6-foot Anesia Benton, an outside hitter from Lima, Ohio for first-year head coach Cass Dixon. Of the 12 players on the roster, five are sophomores and three are freshmen. This will be a year where the Eagles will look for their young talent to pay early dividends for a new head coach.     

THE PLAYERS: One of the leading returners this season is Benton, who finished with 282 kills, six solo blocks and 40 block assists. Brittany Snider is back and that is a major positive for the Eagles as she led the team with 429 kills, 35 service aces and 239 digs. Kate Eckels, a 5-10 outside hitter, finished with 339 kills, 271 digs and 21 total blocks. Baley Bernthisel, a 5-10 middle blocker and outside hitter, returns for her sophomore year. Bernthisel totaled 97 kills and was a defensive force with 76 total blocks, including 24 solo blocks. Libero Arian Martin is back this season after she totaled 467 digs in 2010. While Ashland will send a young team to the court, some of that youthful core has competed against GLIAC competition and performed well at a young age.

THE COACH: Dixon is a first-year head coach for Ashland University. Dixon will be assisted by Carey Cavanaugh and Jenn Fepke.

OF INTEREST: Ashland has four NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in its history. The last NCAA Tournament berth for the Eagles came in 2007 when they dropped a 3-2 decision to Lewis University.

 

 

Ferris State Bulldogs
Head Coach: Tia Wilhelm
16th Season
2011 Preseaon Pick: 3rd  (North)
2010 Record:  (18-10, 13-6 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Ferris returns 11 letterwinners, including four starters plus its primary libero, from a season ago. The Bulldogs welcome back 58.3 of their kills production from the 2010 campaign which features three of the squad’s top four leaders in kills. The Bulldogs have an experienced leadership group that is ready to make the 2011 campaign its year to put it all together and lift the team to regular-season and post-season success on the court.

THE PLAYERS: The Bulldogs will put three 2010 All-GLIAC performers on the court in senior outside hitter Ashley Huntey, senior libero Lisa Tobiczyk, and junior setter Samantha Fordyce. Huntey and Tobiczyk, who each claimed All-GLIAC Honorable Mention accolades in 2009, received second-team all-conference recognition in 2010, while Fordyce earned honorable mention laurels. The trio is ranked among the program’s all-time best as Huntey is listed 17th in career digs (885) and 31st in kills (685) while Tobiczyk ranks eighth in digs (1,256) and is 28th in service aces (102). Fordyce, who enters the 2011 season ranking seventh on FSU’s all-time charts with 2,337 career assists, directs the Ferris State offense and finished 2010 listed 41st nationally in assists per set (10.15 avg.). The three along with junior OH and returning starter Aly Brecht will serve as team captains this fall.

THE COACH: Tia Brandel-Wilhelm starts her 16th season directing the Bulldogs and will be assisted by first-year coach Jesse Ortiz, who spent the last four seasons (2007-10) at NCAA Division II Sonoma State in California.  Brandel-Wilhelm needs 24 more victories to move into a tie with Jill Hirschinger (1984-95; 330-151 record) as the Bulldogs’ all-time winningest coach.

OF INTEREST: Ferris State has compiled 13 consecutive winning seasons to date after compiling an 18-10 overall record for the 2010 season.  The last non-winning season occurred in 1997 (14-18 overall record).

 


Findlay Oillers
Head Coach: Wick Colchagoff
14th Season
2011 Preseaon Pick:  4th  (South)
2010 Record:  (13-15, 7-12 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Optimism is running high in Findlay, Ohio as the Oilers enter the 2010 season with high hopes under head coach Wick Colchagoff. UF has 10 letterwinners returning to the court – a group that includes a strong group of experienced upperclassmen who have matured into leaders through what will be a tough schedule in the GLIAC. While the Oilers did suffer some losses, there is a good group of talented players ready to take the leadership responsibilities and younger players eager to step in and prove their talent in one of the toughest NCAA Division II volleyball conferences in the nation.

THE PLAYERS: The Oilers return a talented group to the court this season led by Second Team All-GLIAC setter/hitter Jessica VonIns, who totaled 263 kills with an attack percentage of .304 last fall. Also on the right side is Maggie Naayers, who totaled 50 kills and 20 blocks in 2010. VonIns, in the team’s 6-2 offense, racked up 1,477 assists. Senior Erin Thomasson returns for the Oilers looking to return to the form that earned her second team All-GLIAC recognition as a sophomore. In 2010, she finished with a team-leading 366 kills and needs 227 more to become the eighth player at UF to record 1,000 kills for a career. Returning starters in the middle for UF are a pair of sophomores, Danielle Taflinger and Mackenzie Vorst. Taflinger had an attack percentage of .332 to place her second on the school’s list of all-time leaders for hitting percentage in a season. Taflinger led the team in kills for 2010 and was named Honorable Mention for the season in the GLIAC.

THE COACH: The Oilers are coached by Colchagoff, who enters his 14th season as the head man and owns a career record of 282-168.

OF INTEREST: Findlay welcomes back12 letterwinners and five starters from last season to complement a strong recruiting class of freshmen into the fold.

 


Grand Valley State Lakers

Head Coach:  Deanne Scanlon
17th Season
2011 Preseaon Pick:  2nd (North)
2010 Record:  (26-7, 17-2 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Having gained experience, this year’s Grand Valley State team could be poised for even bigger and better things as it prepares for the 2011 season. As was the case last season, a lot of the success the Lakers will experience will begin with quality leadership from its top players: senior Nicole Whiddon, junior Eno Umoh and junior Olivia Kohler. The Lakers also welcome former Michigan State University basketball standout Allyssa DeHaan, who checks in at a height of 6-foot-9. GVSU, ranked eighth in the nation in the preseason poll issues by AVCA, will feature a nice blend of experience and youth as it seeks to compete for the GLIAC championship this fall.

THE PLAYERS: Whiddon returns as one of the teams leaders as she proved a force at the net with 77 total blocks in 2010 – as a junior. Helping Whiddon put up an imposing block is Umoh, who totaled a league-leading 116 block assists. That marked the second-straight season Umoh has led the GLIAC in that category.  Offensively, Kohler, a setter, will run the show for the Lakers. Last fall, Kohler ranked second on the team with 521 assists and 22 service aces. She is back as an experienced setter for GVSU’s 6-2 offense. In the middle, Abby Ebels and Sam Phillips will battle for playing time. The Lakers have added Lyndsey Holt, a Division I transfer from Samford. Megan Schroeder is a new addition after earning All-American honors at Kishwaukee Junior College. The freshmen class, consisting of 5-foot-11 setter Clair Ruhenkamp, 5-11 hitter Abby Aiken and 6-foot middle blocker Ally Simmons is a talented one for GVSU.

THE COACH: Deanne Scanlon is entering her 17th season as the head coach of the Lakers and boasts a career record of 429-122. Scanlon is assisted by Craig Vlietstra, Mayme Vlietstra and Brian Netzler.

OF INTEREST: The Lakers begin the 2011 season with four matches in two days in Florida Sept. 2-3. Before playing at home, in Allendale, the Lakers are scheduled to face three GLIAC opponents on the road.

 

 

Hillsdale Chargers
Head Coach: Chris Gravel
16th Season
2011 Preseaon Pick:  1st  (South)
2010 Record:   (29-2, 19-0 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Hillsdale continues to reign as one of the top teams in the GLIAC, the region and the nation. The two-time defending GLIAC champion Chargers enter the 2011 season with high expectations. No team has ever won three straight GLIAC volleyball championships, but the Chargers are determined to become the first and make history on the volleyball court. Last fall, the team put together a brilliant season as it finished with a 29-2 record and a top-10 national ranking. Hillsdale welcomes back five starters this season, led by two All-American players.

THE PLAYERS: All-American Hillsdale standouts Ashlee Crowder and Clara Leutheuser will lead the way for a team that has sky-high expectations. Crowder was the 2010 GLIAC “Player of the Year” and became Hillsdale’s third AVCA First-Team All-American in the past five years following last season. Leutheuser was the GLIAC’s top-ranked player in total blocks and hitting percentage last year, and was the GLIAC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Senior setter Apryl Schmucker is back for her third season as the team’s starting setter. Sydney Lenhart, a sophomore, is coming back off a strong spring season for HC. Sophomore right-side hitter Bekah Draves could garner even more playing time as she has gained experience. The future has been recruited to Hillsdale. The team’s freshman class consists of five players: Lindsay Kostrzewa, Bailey Lindner, Kat Carpenter, Alexis Waugh and Meagan McPhetridge. Defensively, Brogan Wells and Morgan Podkul are back for the Chargers.

THE COACH: Chris Gravel is entering his 16th season as the head coach of the Chargers. Gravel has coached Hillsdale to consecutive GLIAC titles in 2009 and 2010.

OF INTEREST: While leading the Chargers’ program to more than 300 wins since his arrival, Gravel and his players have racked up numerous honors, both athletic and academic in nature, culminating in a 2010 season that saw the program honored like no other time in its history.

 

 

Lake Erie Storm
Head Coach: Brian Coughlin
1st Season
2011 Preseaon Pick:  7th  (South)
2010 Record:  (4-26, 1-18 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Lake Erie got it first action as a member of the GLIAC and now will work to build on what it has learned to become better in 2011. The team will have new leadership this season, however, as Brian Coughlin takes control of the program. LEC expects to be solid offensive squad this season with talented players as attackers this fall. Last season, the team compiled a record of 4-26 overall and finished 1-18 in the GLIAC.

THE PLAYERS: The Storm expects to be strong, offensively. The team’s top leaders in kills are sophomore Jamie Hoppe and Molly Richardson. Hoppe and Richardson gained great experience, as freshman, and return as seasoned sophomores. Richardson totaled 138 kills last season while Hoppe had 158. One key returning player for LEC is All-GLIAC Honorable Mention senior Michelle Naab, a right-side hitter, and junior Mary Walter. At setter, the Storm has talent and depth as senior co-captain Krista O’ Connor, who had 242 assists, and Lauren Bogatay, who had 248 assists, are back in along with Stephanie Minotas, who had 159 assists, and two newcomers Alexis Bankson and Samantha Kuepley. O’Connor also saw time at libero in 2010 and may see time there again in 2011.

THE COACH: Coughlin, in his first season, comes to Lake Erie College after serving as an assistant coach at Cleveland State.

OF INTEREST: Bogatay and O’Connor are serving as the team’s captains this fall.

 

 

Lake Superior State Lakers
Head Coach: Ben Kaszeta
1st Season
2011 Preseaon Pick:  6th (North)
2010 Recod:  (6-20, 2-17 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: It is the beginning of a new era in Laker volleyball as Ben Kaszeta steps in as head coach for Mark Engle, who coached Lake Superior State for 16 years. Even with a new head coach, the Lakers welcome back a veteran roster that the new head coach hopes is ready for big things. Kaszeta knows his players who have a learning curve, as he described it, to adapt to his coaching style and to the system he wants to implement in Sault Ste. Marie. He is hopeful that the Lakers will continue to improve over the course of the season as the team seeks to improve from the 6-20 record from last season.

THE PLAYERS: The Lakers return an experienced cast. Senior libero Brittany Newberry is back for LSSU after leading the GLIAC in average digs per set for three consecutive seasons. Based on the numbers, she is on pace to become the Lakers career leader in digs. Last fall, Newberry averaged 5.76 digs per set in 2010 and had a service reception percentage of .926. The team has some youth, offensively, on the outside led by Emily Snyder, Nikki Stratelak, Chloe Balanda and Amber Kotalik. Senior Janelle Balkwill is back as the team’s top setter after she ranked eighth in the GLIAC in assists per set (7.82). She also had an attack percentage of .233, which was among the leaders for GLIAC setters in that category. Junior Marylou Drobish, a newcomer from Mott Community College, is expected to step in as a back-up setter. Seniors Lindsay McLeod and Jeanna Radzinski bring experience to the middle. McLeod led the team in total blocks with 42, while Radzinski and Balanda followed with 38 each. Sophomore Billie McLeod will also play middle hitter.

THE COACH: Kaszeta takes over as the first-year head coach of the Lakers. He has experience as a club coach and spent last season as a volunteer assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University.

OF INTEREST: The Lakers begin their season Sept. 2-3 at the Ferris State Invitational. Lake Superior State hosts Tiffin at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 in the GLIAC home opener.

 


Michigan Tech Huskies

Head Coach: Orlando Gonzalez
3rd Season
2011 Preseason Pick: 7th (North)
2010 Recod: (5-21, 3-16 GLIAC)


OVERVIEW: Expectations are again running high in the Michigan Tech volleyball program as the team hopes to turn some close setbacks in 2010 to heart-stopping triumphs in 2011. Head coach Orlando Gonzalez believes he has a core group to lead a Huskies squad that should be ready to compete with some of the top GLIAC teams this fall. Entering this season, Tech believes  it has improved in a couple of key areas, including serve receive and defense – two cornerstones of success in college volleyball.

THE PLAYERS: Michigan Tech has a strong squad returning, from an experience standpoint, but Gonzalez is excited about the potential for competition as newcomers and up-and-comers battle for playing time this fall. This year’s team welcomes back six players from last year’s squad, led by 6-foot-2 outside hitter Kristy Sexton, a two-time All-GLIAC selection during her career.   Sexton ranked ninth in the GLIAC as she totaled 3.19 kills per set last fall. Defensively, she added 45 blocks, including nine solo blocks.  Senior OH Alex Schwalbe also returns after averaging 1.93 kills per set and tallied 17 total blocks, including three solo, last season. Junior Madeline Haben is back as a setter, with Ciara Sebelius competing with her, and other returners include junior Skylar Paffenroth. Tessa Mauer, at libero, is back after leading the team with 304 digs. Kenzie Tonn, a Division I transfer from Robert Morris, and Lisa Dudich, join the squad this season as experienced newcomers.

THE COACH: Gonzalez begins his third season as the head coach at Michigan Tech. Previously Gonzalez served as an assistant coach at Northwood, a GLIAC rival of the Huskies.

OF INTEREST: The Huskies begin their 2011 season at St. Joseph’s in Renssalaer, Ind. on Sept. 1. Michigan Tech then plays an additional four matches in Indiana as part of the St. Joseph’s Puma Invitational before it makes its home     debut on Sept. 9 against Ferris State.

 

 

Northern Michigan Wildcats
Head Coach: Dominic Yoder
5th Season
2011 Preseason Pick: 1st  (North)
2010 Record:  (22-7, 15-4 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Recent history suggests the 2011 Northern Michigan volleyball squad could be poised for big things as it seeks to make another run in the D-II Tournament. Having qualified for the last three NCAA Tournaments, the Wildcats, led by head coach Dominic Yoder, are hopeful this is the year to make an extended run in the big dance. NMU already has garnered preseason national attention and will try to follow that up with a successful regular season. The Wildcats return a talented and experienced core group that will be led by 2010 GLIAC “Freshman of the Year” Lina Lopes, a left-side outside hitter. NMU is nationally-ranked in the preseason AVCA poll and picked to finish atop the standings in the GLIAC North Division.

THE PLAYERS: Leading the Wildcats, entering the 2011 season, will be Lopes, a 5-foot-10 left-side hitter from Brazil. She was also named AVCA Midwest “Freshman of the Year,” GLIAC first team all-conference, NCAA Regional all-tournament team and Wildcat Open all-tournament team. She led the team with 312 kills, 49 service aces and 309 digs as a rookie in 2010. Joining Lopes is All-GLIAC performer Abby Lovell, a junior setter, who averaged 10.21 assists per set last fall. Senior Emma Wolfe is back after earning All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors. She totaled 277 kills. Senior Becca Feuerherd and sophomore Kristin Wetzel are experienced back-row specialists. The team also has a pair of junior college transfers joining the squad from Kishwaukee College in 5-8 libero and defensive specialist Kalin Zimmerman and 6-3 right-side hitter and middle blocker Jasmine Calhoun.

THE COACH: In four seasons at Northern Michigan, Yoder has a record of 81-42. Overall, as a head coach, he is 106-47. Yoder is assisted by Kim Falkenhagen.

OF INTEREST: In 2010, the Wildcats started the season on a 17-game winning streak and finished 22-7 and 15-4 in the GLIAC. NMU was ranked as high as 13th in the country and finished ranked No. 23.

 

 

Northwood Timberwolves
Head Coach: Tim Koth
8th Season
2011 Preseason Pick: 5th  (North)
2010 Record:  (13-14, 10-9 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Coming off a 13-14 overall season, Northwood is hoping to build on its 10-9 record last fall in the GLIAC and climb up the ladder in what is expected to be a tight race in the league’s North Division. The team lost some key players from last season that will be a challenge to replace for head coach Tim Koth and his staff. One of the team’s leading returners, however, is 6-1 middle blocker Sara Skornia, who will be a senior this fall. Skornia totaled 239 kills for the Timberwolves. Skornia is the lone senior on this year’s NU volleyball roster. That list does, however, include three juniors who will have to account for some of the experience this season in Midland.

THE PLAYERS: Skornia returns for the team in the middle. Another returning contributor this season for Northwood will be 6-3 junior middle blocker Tatjana Rajic, who last fall accounted for 68 kills, 85 digs and 67 total blocks. Her role could expand this season with significant losses to graduation from last season for NU. Angie Sparling, a 6-2 middle blocker, is back for the Timberwolves after finishing the 2010 season with 144 kills and 34 total blocks. The team’s junior class consists of Rajic, setter Rachel Hamblin and outside hitter Anna Laitinen. The balance of Northwood’s 12-player roster is filled by sophomores and freshmen.

THE COACH: Koth enters his eighth season at Northwood. This year, his staff features the additions of first-year assistants Michelle Parker and Brett Ferguson.

OF INTEREST: Northwood begins its 2011 season out west as it as it travels to Golden, Colo. for five matches, beginning on Sept. 1 and extending through Sept. 3. NU returns home to begin GLIAC competition as it hosts Ohio Dominican on Sept. 9.

 

 

Ohio Dominican Panthers
Head Coach: Sandy Rowley
23nd Season
2011 Preaseason Pick: 6th (South)
2010 Record:  (8-19, 3-16 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Ohio Dominican has its first season of GLIAC competition under its belt and will work to build on a record of 8-19 overall and 3-16 in league play. The team welcomes back six letterwinners with eight lost from 2010. The Panthers have four starters back and three lost, but they also welcome 10 newcomers to the roster for the program’s sophomore year of GLIAC competition. ODU has several key returning veteran players that are expected to lead the way for Ohio Dominican, including 5-11 outside hitter Rachel Billing, a senior.

THE PLAYERS: Billing returns to the lineup for the Panthers as she earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors in 2010. She totaled 272 kills to lead the squad and also finished with 258 digs. Other top returners include 5-9 senior outside hitter Stacey Rogg, 6-2 middle hitter Shannon Nadler, 5-11 middle hitter/outside hitter Emily Post and 5-10 middle hitter/outside hitter Kristy Birkemeier. Rogg finished with 498 digs and Nadler totaled 105 kills and 57 total blocks.

THE COACH: Sandy Rowley has a career record of 444-386 in 20-plus years as the head coach of ODU. She is assisted by David Franklin, Kathy Earles and Lyndsay Rowley.

OF INTEREST: Second-year assistant coach Lyndsay Rowley is the daughter of head coach Sandy Rowley.

 

Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
Head Coach: Will Stanton
9th Season
2011 Preaseason Pick: 4th (North)
2010 Record:  (14-12, 9-10 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Saginaw Valley State finished with a record of 14-12 overall and 9-10 in the league standings, but this is a new year and the Cardinals are hoping to take a step back up into the GLIAC penthouse of success. The Cardinals do return some talent from last season, led by senior outside hitter Annie Buxton, who earned All-GLIAC honors in both her sophomore and junior years. In addition, the Cardinals also will feature middle hitter Katie Fitzgerald as one of its key players this fall. SVSU returns six seniors this season for head coach Will Stanton. SVSU hopes to improve upon its fifth-place finish in the North Division in last fall’s race for the GLIAC title.

THE PLAYERS: The Cardinals welcome back a solid core of talented and experienced players led by Buxton, who earned first team All-GLIAC honors last season. Buxton finished last season with 382 kills, 232 digs and 42 total blocks for the Cardinals. Also back is Fitzgerald, who was named to the All-GLIAC second team for her efforts on the court in 2010. Fitzgerald finished with 216 kills and 75 total blocks for SVSU. Also back for the Cardinals is 6-1 senior middle hitter Becky Schroeder, who totaled 134 kills and 91 total blocks.

THE COACH: Stanton is in his ninth season as the head coach of the Cardinals. He is assisted this fall by Kait Harris, Shannon Flippin and Jessica Stanton.

OF INTEREST: During his time at SVSU, Will Stanton has been named the 2008 Midwest Region Coach of the Year as well as GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2007. Prior to becoming the head coach at SVSU, Coach Stanton was head coach at Lake Fenton High School where he led the squad to the 1998 Michigan Class C title.


Tiffin Dragons
Head Coach: Dana Cordova
2nd Season
2011 Preseason Pick: 5th (South)
2010 Record:  (15-15, 11-8 GLIAC)

          

OVERVIEW: Tiffin made dramatic improvement on the volleyball court in 2010 as it went from 4-29 in 2009, overall, to a record of 15-15. In addition, the Dragons went from 0-16 in the GLIAC to 11-8 in the conference in a one-year period. This season, Tiffin is hopeful that the strides made in 2010 will continue in 2011. TU expects to be more of a defensive-oriented team this season as it looks to build from that fundamental base under head coach Dana Cordova. The coaching staff knows the team will be young this season, but Cordova likes the athleticism and size of the 2011 squad.

THE PLAYERS: The Dragons have a pair of All-GLIAC choices returning to the lineup this fall in senior Lindsay Heller, an honorable mention pick, and sophomore Danielle McQuade, a second-team pick. McQuade led the team with 3.01 kills per set (a total of 319) and ranked second on the squad with a .236 hitting percentage. Heller finished second in the GLIAC with 4.97 digs per set. Leading newcomers this season for Tiffin includes freshmen Tiffany Buchinger and Erin Turner.

THE COACH: Cordova is entering her second season as the head coach at Tiffin University. Cordova is being assisted by Maggie Peterson.

OF INTEREST: A native of Trinidad, Colo., Cordova was a standout athlete who garnered all-state recognition in both volleyball and basketball and was a four-time state qualifier in track. Cordova later attended Otero Junior College on a basketball scholarship.

 

Wayne State Warriors
Head Coach: Phil Nickel
4th Season
2011 Preseason Pick: 3rd (South)
2010 Record:  (15-12, 13-6 GLIAC)

 

OVERVIEW: Phil Nickel has brought a high level of success to the Wayne State volleyball program and has guided the team to the GLIAC Tournament in each of his three seasons. This year, Wayne State returns an experienced group that has hopes of big things. The Warriors have eight letterwinners back in the mix this season, including junior All-American middle blocker Katarzyna Sak. Junior setter Cydney Biessel, an All-GLIAC Second Team selection returns to the squad as the player who will run the team’s offense. Junior Madie Kent and second-year player Nicole Arends provides additional experience at the net. Defensively, the Warriors have experience back in the lineup as the squad hopes to contend for the GLIAC South Division title.

THE PLAYERS: Wayne State has eight letterwinners back in the mix this fall, including Sak, who had 401 kills, 115 blocks and a .333 hitting percentage in 2010, and the 5-9 Biessel, an All-GLIAC Second Team selection who totaled 993 assists last year. Kent, a 5-11 junior, and the 6-foot Arends provide additional experience up front, while libero Lindsey Graciak, a 5-5 junior, averaged 4.27 digs per set in his first season at that position. In all, the 13-woman Wayne State roster includes five juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen. The experienced players are Biessel, Graciak, Sak and Kent – all of whom have earned two varsity letters as juniors.

THE COACHES: Nickel enters his fourth season as the head coach of Wayne. Nickel is being assisted by Kylie McCulley.

OF INTEREST: Six newcomers round out the roster for the 2011 Warriors who begin their season Labor Day weekend at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Triton Classic.

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