Ferris State University Picked To Win GLIAC Title In 2012 Coaches’ Preseason Volleyball Poll

Ferris State University Picked To Win GLIAC Title In 2012 Coaches’ Preseason Volleyball Poll

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BAY CITY, Mich. -- If the preseason American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll is any indication, it appears the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) race will be another hard-fought battle from start to finish – where every match will hold great meaning.

In the preseason AVCA national poll, defending GLIAC Tournament and regular-season South Division champion Hillsdale College is tied for 10th while Ferris, the defending regular-season champion, is ranked 14th in the nation.

2012 GLIAC Volleyball
Preseason Coaches’ Poll




School (1st votes)




Ferris State (10)




Hillsdale (3)




Grand Valley State (1)




Saginaw Valley State (1)




Wayne St. (1)












Northern Mich








Ohio Dominican


Lake Superior












15. Michigan Tech 43  


Lake Erie



The GLIAC race figures to feature tough battles nearly every time out in one of the nation’s premier Division II volleyball conference. In addition to the preseason national rankings for the Chargers and Bulldogs, Grand Valley State was listed among “Others Receiving Votes” in the poll released on Aug. 14.  

In the preseason GLIAC poll, the coaches tabbed Ferris State University to win the 2012 GLIAC title, outdistancing second-place Hillsdale College by a 211-193 tally.  The Bulldogs garnered 10 first-place votes while the Chargers earned just three.

GLIAC volleyball teams open play on Friday, Aug. 31 with conference play beginning Sunday, Sept. 30.  The 2012 GLIAC Volleyball Tournament will begin with quarterfinals on Nov. 14 on campus sites, with the semifinals and final held on Nov. 17-18 on the campus of the No. 1 seed.


-- The following are previews of all 16 GLIAC Volleyball teams for the 2012 season --

  Ashland Eagles
  Head Coach: Cass Dixon
  2nd Season
  2012 Preseason Pick:   6th
  2011 Record:  (15-13, 12-7 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Ashland opens the season with some talented young players on its roster led by senior outside hitter Brittany Snider. The Eagles closed the season with a loss to 12th-ranked Ferris State, but won five of its last seven matches. With a young team that features strong, youthful talent, Ashland is taking aim at climbing the ladder toward the top of its division in the talent-rich GLIAC.

THE PLAYERS: Snider returns after finishing last season with 210 kills and 104 digs. Senior setter Crystal Elliott returns after totaling 1,010 assists and 96 kills. Elliott also ranked second on the team in digs last season with 199. As a team, Ashland finished with a team attack percentage of .203 vs. .195 for the opposition. Junior Baley Bernthisel, listed at middle blocker and outside hitter, finished the 2011 season with 143 kills and returns as one of the team’s top hitters.

THE COACH: Ashland is coached by Cass Dixon, who is in her second season as the head coach of the Eagles.

OF INTEREST: The Eagles open the 2012 season Aug 31 and Sept. 1 at the Truman State Days Inn Bulldog Invitational in Kirksville, Mo.


  Ferris State Bulldogs
  Head Coach: Tia Wilhelm
  17th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 1st
  2011 Record:  (27-4), 18-1 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Ferris State University is coming off of one of its best seasons in recent memory as it finished 27-4 overall, won the GLIAC North Division championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament. The Bulldogs finished 18-1 in the conference. Ferris has a solid supporting cast returning to lead the team into the 2012 season led by 5-foot-11 senior setter Samantha Fordyce and 6-foot-2 senior middle hitter Anne Sutton. Ferris officially opens its 2012 season on Friday, Aug. 31, with a pair of non-league matches in its own Ferris State Invitational in Big Rapids.  The team hosts Alderson-Broaddus (W.Va.) and Mercyhurst in its first two matches of the tournament. The Bulldogs then conclude play at the invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1, with contests against West Virginia State and Clarion (Pa.). The Bulldogs enter the 2012 season ranked 14th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll.

THE PLAYERS: The Bulldogs return with an experienced roster that includes 11 letterwinners from 2011, including a pair of All-GLIAC and all-region honorable mention picks in Fordyce and Sutton. Ferris features solid depth at the hitter positions with Courtney Rehm, a 6-foot-2 middle hitter; Angi Kent, a 6-foot-2 middle hitter; and Aly Brecht, a 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter and a 2011 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention choice. Rehm was the 2011 GLIAC Freshman of the Year and an All-GLIAC Second Team choice in 2011. The Bulldogs will look for candidates to step in and fill the void left by the graduation of standout Lisa Tobiczyk, the 2011 GLIAC Libero of the Year. Fordyce and Sutton were 2011 All-GLIAC First Team competitors.

THE COACH:  Ferris is coached by Tia Brandel-Wilhelm, who is in her 17th season as the head coach of the Bulldogs. Brandel-Wilhelm was the 2011 GLIAC Coach of the Year.

OF INTEREST: The Ferris women’s volleyball program is celebrating its 40th season of intercollegiate competition this fall.

Findlay Oilers
Head Coach: Wick Colchagoff
15th Season
2012 Preseason Pick:  9th
2011 Record:  (15-12, 9-10 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: The University of Findlay volleyball team is coming off of a solid 15-12 2011 season and ended the year on a high note, winning 10 out of its last 11 matches to carry momentum into the spring and onto the fall. The Oilers hope to use the momentum picked up at the end of last fall to carry the program into the GLIAC Tournament for the first time since 2007.

THE PLAYERS: Junior Danielle Taflinger and senior Andrea Holthaus will return to lead the Oilers at middle hitter. Taflinger was named second team all-GLIAC last year as a sophomore and was an honorable mention all-Midwest Region pick. She totaled 264 kills with a .360 hitting percentage, the fifth best mark in the conference. Holthaus totaled 83 total blocks and 56 kills. At right side, senior Maggie Naayers returns after she totaled 127 kills, 45 total blocks and 47 digs in 2011. Junior Mackenzie Vorst will lead the Oilers group of outside hitters in 2012 as she led the team with 305 kills as a sophomore. She was an honorable mention All-GLIAC pick as she also tallied 166 digs, 36 aces and 44 blocks last year. Sophomore Samantha Granger is coming off a great first season as she totaled 216 kills, 147 digs and 27 aces. Sophomore Amanda Calhoun and redshirt sophomore Kylee Greenwood will be pacing the offense this fall. Calhoun saw action in 19 matches in 2011 and finished with 97 assists.

THE COACH: Findlay is coached by Wick Colchagoff, who is in his 15th season as the head coach of the Oilers.

OF INTEREST: Findlay is returning 10 letterwinners this season and four starters.


  Grand Valley State Lakers
  Head Coach:  Deanne Scanlon
  18th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 3rd
  2011 Record:  (14-13, 11-8 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Grand Valley State recorded its 19th consecutive winning season in 2011, as the Lakers went 14-13 overall. In GLIAC play, GVSU was 11-8 and placed fourth in the GLIAC North Division. The Lakers will look to get back to being one of the league and region’s elite teams, as head coach Deanne Scanlon returns five starters and 10 letterwinners. Entering her 18th season at GVSU, Scanlon owns a career record of 443-135, while her .766 winning percentage is 10th best in Division II history.

THE PLAYERS: The Lakers bring back three all-conference players from last season, including the team’s lone senior, Eno Umoh. In 2011, Umoh was second in the GLIAC with 126 total blocks, hit .255, and led GVSU with 23 service aces. She was an All-GLIAC Second Team selection, as was junior middle blocker Abby Ebels. Owning the seventh-best hitting percentage (.328) in the conference last year, Ebels added 128 kills and 71 blocks. Sophomore setter Clair Ruhenkamp was an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention choice, as she dished out 731 assists (10th in the league), while adding 168 digs and 22 aces. GVSU also returns sophomore outside hitter Abby Aiken, as she delivered a team-high 245 kills, 115 digs, and 36 blocks in her true freshman season. Junior Megan Schroeder will be another big contributor, as the right side hitter notched 166 kills in her first season with the Lakers. Scanlon has a freshman class of eight players, including outside hitters Carley Gross, Jess Majerle, and Betsy Ronda, all of which are expected to be in the everyday lineup.

THE COACH: Deanne Scanlon is entering her 18th season as the head volleyball coach at Grand Valley.

OF INTEREST: Scanlon owns a career record of 443-135, while her .766 winning percentage is 10th best in Division II history.


  Hillsdale Chargers
  Head Coach: Chris Gravel
  17th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick:  2nd
  2011  Record:   (31-3, 18-1 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: In 2011, the Hillsdale College volleyball program enjoyed a year with unprecedented success. The Chargers finished with a record of 31-3, won their third straight GLIAC championship and won the school’s first-ever NCAA Division II regional championship. The season came to an end in the NCAA Final Four, and with three players earning All-American honors. But 2012 brings a new year and a much different look to the Chargers. Seven new players were recruited and those seven players will complement nine talented and battle-tested returnees. Senior middle hitter Lauren Grover returns as the most experienced player for Hillsdale. She was named to the NCAA Elite Eight All-Tournament Team and Second-Team All-GLIAC last year. She’s also the Senior Class President in 2012-13 at Hillsdale College. The Chargers enter the 2012 season tied for 10th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll.

THE PLAYERS: Senior middle hitter Lauren Grover returns as the most experienced player for Hillsdale. She was named to the NCAA Elite Eight All-Tournament Team and Second-Team All-GLIAC last year. She’s also the Senior Class President in 2012-13 at Hillsdale College. Senior Kaleigh Shuster is an athletic outside hitter who played her best volleyball in the season’s final five weeks in 2011. The junior class is led by Caitlin Kopmeyer, another all-around threat, who was named to the GLIAC All-Tournament Team. Look for Sydney Lenhart to play a bigger role either at setter or defensive specialist, and Bekah Draves supplies power at right-side hitter. Sophomores Lindsay Kostrzewa, Bailey Lindner, Alexis Waugh, Meagan McPhetridge and Kat Carpenter all had limited roles last year, but should step into much bigger roles this year. Two freshmen to watch include the 2011-12 Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana, Emily Wolfert, and middle hitter Haylee Booms, who finished her prep career as the all-time leader in career kills at Marysville High School, one of Michigan’s most successful high school programs.

THE COACH: The Chargers are coached by GLIAC and Midwest Regional Coach of the Year Chris Gravel

OF INTEREST: Gravel has led Hillsdale to an unprecedented three straight conference tournament championships, and a record of 60-5 the past two years.


  Lake Erie Storm
  Head Coach: Brian Coughlin
  2nd Season
  2012 Preseason Pick:  16
  2011 Record:  (3-23, 1-18 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Lake Erie enters the 2012 season with a young squad as players and coaches roll up their sleeves to get to work moving the program forward. Lake Erie finished with three wins in 2011, but returns to the court this fall with some talented young players hungry to step up and lead the Storm to more wins.

THE PLAYERS: Youth will lead the way for Lake Erie this season as the Storm have two of its top offensive players from 2011 returning in Jamie Hoppe, a junior outside hitter and a 2011 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention competitor, and Molly Richardson, another junior outside hitter. Hoppe totaled 160 kills last season to lead the Storm while Richardson tallied 154 kills. Hoppe was second on the team last season in digs with 174. Returning setters are senior Stephanie Minotas and sophomore Samantha Knepley, a converted hitter. The setters put in work during the off season to be ready for the fall as Lake Erie reloads at that key position. Paige Baldauf, a senior defensive specialist and Rachael Ritt, a senior DS, solidify the backline defense for the Storm. Baldauf had 205 digs last season. Ritt totaled 110 digs. Destiny Prusky, a sophomore middle hitter and all-conference high jumper in track, totaled 32 total blocks.  

THE COACH: Lake Erie is coached by Brian Coughlin, who is in his second season as the head coach of the Storm.

OF INTEREST: All of the 2011 victories last season for the Storm came on Lake Erie’s home court.


  Lake Superior State Lakers
  Head Coach: Ben Kaszeta
  2nd Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 11th
  2011 Record:  (8-19, 5-14 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Lake Superior graduated several productive seniors from its 2011 squad, but that has opened the door for younger players to step in and take leadership roles on the court for second-year coach Ben Kaszeta. The coaching staff has put together a large recruiting class in its first year out on the road working to attract people to Lake State. The newcomers will join a roster that includes two returning seniors and five returning juniors.  

THE PLAYERS: The Lakers have a blend of youth and experience returning to the court this season led by senior outside hitter Nikki Stratelak, who totaled 178 kills last season. Emily Snyder, a junior hitter, is back in the mix along with setter Marylou, Drobish, who shared the setter duties last season with Janelle Balkwill. Snyder totaled 142 kills last season and totaled 96 digs. Katie Fitzpatrick, a defensive specialist who can also play setter, returns to the court this season after totaling 266 digs, good for second on the team in 2011.

THE COACH: Lake Superior is coached by Ben Kaszeta, who is in his second season as the head coach of the Lakers.

OF INTEREST: Lake Superior graduated five seniors from the 2011 team, including two of its starting hitters, a starting setter and the school’s career leader in digs, Brittany Newberry.


  Malone Pioneers
  Head Coach: Tonya Hockman
  14th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick:  14th
  2011 Record:  (29-15, N/A GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Malone enters its first season of competition as a member of the GLIAC. The Pioneers open their season on Sept. 4 with a match at Cedarville University as it gears up for the stiff competition ahead of them in the GLIAC – a league stocked with several of the top NCAA Division II programs in the nation. Last season, Malone finished with a 29-15 record overall, including 8-1 at home.   

THE PLAYERS: Senior middle hitter Hannah Haver returns for her final season after tallying 2.4 kills (second among returnees) and 1.95 digs per game.  Senior setter Jackie Schwamberger also returns for her final year after posting 9.34 assists and 2.14 digs (tops among returnees) per contest last season. In addition, Schwamberger earned National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Second Team All-America honors last year.  Junior middle hitter Lauren Townley will also provide leadership for the squad as she returns after blasting 2.54 kills (tops among returnees) per game last season while also collecting a team-best .61 blocks per contest last fall.

THE COACH: Malone is coached by Tanya Hockman, who begins her 14th season on the sidelines this fall. Through her 13 seasons, Hockman has amassed an impressive 353-186 record (65.4 winning percentage) including a 29-15 mark last season.  The Pioneers are returning five starters and eight letterwinners from the 2011 campaign.

OF INTEREST: Malone opens its season on the road at Cedarville on Sept. 4 and then competes in the Lock Haven (Pa.) Tournament Sept. 7-8 before opening GLIAC play on the road at Tiffin (Sept. 13) and Ohio Dominican (Sept. 14). The home opener is Sept. 18 against Indiana (Pa.).


  Michigan Tech Huskies
  Head Coach: Matt Jennings
  1st Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 15th
  2011 Record: (2-25, 0-19 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Michigan Tech begins a new era in the history of its volleyball program as Matt Jennings was introduced as its new head coach back in January. Jennings had spent the last three seasons as an assistant women’s volleyball coach at NCAA Division I University of Pittsburgh of the Big East. Jennings will seek to turn that Division I coaching experience, as an assistant, into Division II success, in this opportunity as a head coach.

THE PLAYERS: The Huskies feature a very young roster in 2012 with one senior, setter Skylar Paffenroth, a setter. Tech has four juniors, five sophomores and five freshmen. Jordan Kero, a junior outside hitter is one of the top returning offensive players for the Huskies having recorded a team-best 167 kills last season. She added 25 total blocks and 109 digs. Shelby Jones, a sophomore outside hitter, returns off a solid freshman season in 2011 during which she totaled 136 kills with 147 digs. Abby DeWitt, a junior outside hitter, is back in the Black and Gold after a solid sophomore season that included 51 kills and 206 digs.

THE COACH: Michigan Tech is coached by Matt Jennings, who is in his first season as the head coach of the Huskies.

OF INTEREST: Jennings is a native of Chicago, who played volleyball at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., from 2000-03. As a student-athlete, he was a four-year starter, a two-time all-conference performer and a 2002 Collegiate Club All-American. He helped his team to a national third-place finish in 2002.


  Northern Michigan Wildcats
  Head Coach: Dominic Yoder
  6th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 9th
  2011 Record:  (15-14, 12-7 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Northern Michigan has several talented returning players who played key roles in the team’s success in 2011. Head coach Dominic Yoder will be looking for that group to provide leadership as the team fills in holes left by the graduation of some key performers for the Wildcats last fall. The coaching staff hit the recruiting trail hard to bring in talented freshman and transfers who could help provide some experience as NMU seeks to remain competitive in one of the toughest Division II volleyball leagues in the nation.

THE PLAYERS: Northern’s team will be led by several players, including junior hitter Lina Lopes, and junior hitter Kalli Herron. Lopes last season finished third on the team in kills with 240 while Herron was fourth with 159. Lopes was among the team leaders in digs last season with 220 while Herron ranked among the NMU leaders in total blocks with 52, including seven total blocks. The Wildcats have some new blood running the team from the setter position with three players competing for the duties, including junior Kellisha Harley, sophomore Kaitlyn Hoffman and freshman Miranda Hilgers.

THE COACH: Northern Michigan is coached by Dominic Yoder, who is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Wildcats.

OF INTEREST: The Wildcats posted a winning record for the ninth consecutive season in 2011, as it finished 15-14 overall.


  Northwood Timberwolves
  Head Coach: Tim Koth
  9th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 7th
  2011 Record:  (13-15, 11-8 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Northwood is coming off a solid season in GLIAC play and looks ahead to 2012 as it blends some talented newcomers in with talented veteran players. The Timberwolves return just two seniors to the floor in 2012, but they will be called upon to step into leadership roles with Northwood. The coaching staff is looking to tap into the youthful energy and desire to improve upon the team’s 11-8 record in the GLIAC last season.  

THE PLAYERS: The two returning seniors for Northwood are Tatjana Rajic, a 6-foot-3 middle blocker who totaled 218 kills in 2011, and Rachel Hamblin, a 5-foot-10 setter who had 130 assists last season. Beyond the two seniors, Northwood has seven juniors, two sophomores, a redshirt freshman and six freshmen. To some extent youth will be served, but head coach Tim Koth will look to his two seniors and other emerging leaders to steer the team in the right direction in what will be – as always – a very challenging schedule of GLIAC competition. Zina Liubymova, a 5-10 junior outside hitter who had 244 kills and 261 digs, and Kristin Perschon, a 6-foot middle blocker. Perschon finished with 109 kills in 2011. Jordan Dunn, who had 866 assists last season, could be a factor at the setter position as well for the Timberwolves. Angie Sparling, a 6-2 middle blocker, enters her junior season after a solid freshman campaign. Sparling finished with 144 kills in 2011.

THE COACH: Northwood is coached by Tim Koth, who enters his seventh season as the head coach of the Timberwolves.

OF INTEREST: As the NU head coach, Koth has put together a record of 128-106 and led his program to the GLIAC Tournament seven times. In his career as a head coach, Koth has compiled 234 victories in women’s volleyball.


  Ohio Dominican Panthers
  Head Coach: Sandy Rowley
  24nd Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 10th
  2011 Record:  (12-17, 5-14 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Ohio Dominican enters 2012 after finishing 12-17 overall and 5-14 in the GLIAC last season. The Panthers have three seniors returning in middle hitter Shannon Nadler, setter Meredith Shifley and hitter Kristy Birkemeier. Coach Sandy Rowley’s squad has a strong junior class and quality sophomores back to lead Ohio Dominican in 2012. In GLIAC competition, Ohio Dominican has a tough schedule ahead of it as it looks ahead to battles against top league competition, including: Hillsdale, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Ashland, Saginaw Valley State and many more.

THE PLAYERS: Among the players expected to lead Ohio Dominican this season are junior Tara Winner and sophomore Caitlin Kusan as hitters. Kusan ranked among the conference’s best in blocks (seventh) and hitting percentage (ninth) during her freshman season. Another junior, Emily Post, ranked ninth in the GLIAC in blocks and returns for the Panthers. Running the offense will be the duty of ODU’s two returning setters: sophomore Kelsey Snyder and Shifley. From a proficiency standpoint, the Panthers ran a solid offense that allowed them to rank as one of the top hitting teams in the GLIAC, statistically. They ranked third in the league with a .209 attack percentage. Defensively, Ohio Dominican hopes to improve and make life far tougher on the offense of the opposition.

THE COACH: Sandy Rowley is a former Ohio Dominican student, assistant coach, and now in her 24th season as head coach of the Panther volleyball team, Sandy Rowley embodies the Panther persona.

OF INTEREST: Ohio Dominican’s volleyball team was one of four GLIAC schools to be recognized with the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the 2011-2012 academic year.

  Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
  Head Coach: Will Stanton
  10th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 4th
  2011 Record:  (18-11,  15-4 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Saginaw Valley State finished with a record of 18-11 overall and 15-4 in the league standings. The 15 GLIAC victories were the most in SVSU history as they clinched a home playoff game as the third seed in the conference tournament. SVSU lost six seniors to graduation last season, which means head coach Will Stanton will have to rely heavily on a young but talented group of individuals to produce. SVSU holds high hopes of matching its second-place finish in the North Division in last fall’s race for the GLIAC title. The Cardinals will also look to participate in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons.

THE PLAYERS: The Cardinal offense will rely on the agility of senior setter Sam Breault along with a group of talented returners. Coach Stanton welcomes back a talented group of seniors including Laurel Mattson, Sarah Robb and Megan Jones who have big shoes to fill from last year’s senior-laden squad. Sophomore Kelsey Ferla finished fourth on the team last year in kills and will look to lead the Cardinal attack with help from junior Lyndsay Reynolds and sophomore Kate Czopek. Saginaw Valley also brings in a recruiting class consisting of four freshmen ready to make an immediate impact.

THE COACH: Stanton begins his 10th 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 coached the Cardinals to a 99-53 overall and 56-32 GLIAC record the past five seasons. Saginaw Valley received their third NCAA Tournament bid in the past four years as Stanton continues to recruit and make the SVSU Volleyball program one of the premier programs in both the conference and region.


  Tiffin Dragons
  Head Coach: Dana Cordova
  3rd Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 12th
  2011 Record:  (7-21, 6-13 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Once again, youth will be served in 2012 for the Tiffin University volleyball team.  The Dragons have six returning players among the 21 players on the roster.  TU went 6-13 in the GLIAC and was 7-21 overall in 2011.

THE PLAYERS:  Leading the way is two-time All-GLIAC selection, junior Danielle McQuade.  McQuade, one of five starters back, led the team with 3.56 kills per set (356) and a .269 hitting percentage while averaging 2.89 digs per set.  Sophomore Tiffany Buchinger returns to quarterback the Dragons after averaging 8.64 assists per set. Junior Jordan Jenkins looks to take over the libero position from the graduated Lindsay Heller.  Jenkins was second on the team with 2.99 digs per set and led the squad with 30 service aces.  Senior Maggie Betz and Maureen Kurtz both saw significant time as starters last season. Tiffin brought in size and experience with a pair of six-foot transfers, junior Brooke Friesen and sophomore Briana Rosen.  Friesen, an outside hitter, helped Western Wyoming Community College go 79-9 over the last two seasons.  Rosen, a right side, averaged 1.83 kills and 1.64 digs per set with 41 total blocks for Midway College (Ky.).

THE COACH: Tiffin is coached by Dana Cordova, who is in her second season as the head coach of the Dragons.

OF INTEREST: The Dragons open the 2012 season Aug 31 and Sept. 1 at the Christian Brothers Invitational in Germantown, Tenn.

  Walsh Cavaliers
  Head Coach: Erin Foster
  3rd Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 13th
  2011 Record:  (27-7, N/A GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Walsh enters its first season in the GLIAC coming off a strong season during which it finished 27-7 overall. The Cavaliers were perfect at home with a 13-0 record. The team was strong on the road as well with a 7-2 record. Coming off of that strong season, Walsh has a solid core group of talented veterans well positioned to become leaders this fall on the court.

THE PLAYERS: Julianne O’Donnell, a senior outside hitter, and junior middle blocker Paige Chandler are among the leaders for the Cavaliers this season on the court. Krissy Sokol, a junior, also is a returner for Walsh entering the 2012 season. O’Donnell finished with 460 kills, 326 digs and 37 aces. Chandler finished with 284 kills in 2011 and 67 digs. Sokol totaled 235 kills, 49 service aces and 69 total blocks, including 21 solo blocks. Hannah Duran, returning this season as a senior, brings experience to the setter position for the Cavaliers. Duran finished with 1,057 assists, 240 digs and 38 kills

THE COACHES: Walsh is coached by Erin Foster, who is in her third season as the head coach of the Cavaliers.

OF INTEREST: Foster played her college volleyball at NCAA I Cleveland State University from 2000-04 as a middle blocker.


  Wayne State Warriors
  Head Coach: Phil Nickel
  5th Season
  2012 Preseason Pick: 5th
  2011 Record:  (14-4, 10-9 GLIAC)

OVERVIEW: Wayne State returns 12 letterwinners from a 2011 squad which qualified for the GLIAC Tournament for the fourth straight season under the tenure of head coach Phil Nickel. The Warriors have a talented cast of players returning this season led by junior outside hitter Kristen Bulkiewicz, an All-GLIAC First Team and AVCA All-Region pick in 2011. The Warriors posted a third-place finish in the GLIAC South Division with a league record of 10-9 to place the team behind 18-1 Hillsdale and 12-7 Ashland.

THE PLAYERS: Bulkiewicz led the Warriors with 402 kills last year, the most by a WSU player since 1997.  Other returnees include senior setter Cydney Biessel, one of three players in WSU history with over 3,000 career assists; junior middle blocker Nicole Arends, who led the Warriors in hitting (.274) and blocking (93) last year; and senior libero Lindsey Graciak, the 2011 GLIAC co-leader in digs (513).  Redshirt junior middle blocker Katarzyna Sak, a 2010 All-American who missed last season with an injury, will also be back on the court for the Warriors.

THE COACHES: Wayne State is coached by Phil Nickel, who is entering his fifth season on the bench for the Warriors.

OF INTEREST: Wayne opens the season Aug. 31 at the Nova Southeastern Sharks Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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