North Dakota State Hosts Western Illinois, IUPUI in First Two Home Matches
Release: September 19, 2012
THIS WEEK: After four straight weekends on the road, the North Dakota State women's volleyball team makes its home debut when NDSU (4-8, 1-1) hosts Western Illinois (6-7, 1-2) at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and IUPUI (8-6, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse (1,206) in Fargo.
TICKETS & PARKING: Tickets for NDSU home volleyball matches are available in advance at the Bison Sports Arena ticket office, online at GoBison.com/tickets, or by telephone toll free at (888) 231-NDSU. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth ages 3-17, and reserved tickets are $10. Game day tickets are sold at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. Doors open 1 hour prior to the match. Free parking after 4:30 p.m. is available in the CF and SF lots adjacent to the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse, Visitors Lot E, and the RF lot south of the Bison Sports Arena.
ON THE WEB: Live video of all NDSU home volleyball matches is available by subscription to NDSU All Access on GoBison.com. Prices are $9.95 monthly, $29.95 every four months and $79.95 annually. This year's webcasts will be produced by the Bison Information Network with Ryan Nelson calling the play-by-play. Games will re-air on SU TV channel 84 and will be available to NDSU All Access subscribers on-demand. Live stats for all NDSU home games are available on GoBison.com free of charge and also through the NDSU Bison mobile app for Android, iPhone and iPod Touch.
THE SERIES: Friday will be the 12th meeting between North Dakota State and Western Illinois dating back to 2005. NDSU has won eight straight and leads the series 9-2 including a pair of 3-0 wins last year. Saturday will be the 13th meeting between North Dakota State and IUPUI dating back to 2006. NDSU leads the series 12-0 including a 3-2 home win and 3-1 road win last year.
ABOUT WESTERN ILLINOIS: The Fighting Leathernecks are 6-7 overall and 1-2 in The Summit League after a five-set win at Oakland on Monday night. Western Illinois has four starters and its libero back from last year's 12-18 team that was last in the league with a 3-15 record. Samantha Fournier leads the Leathernecks and is fifth in the league with 3.65 kills per set, setter Sarah Fetter is second in the league with 10.27 assists per set overall, and libero Bridget Murphy leads the defense with 4.90 digs per set. Head coach April Hall (Tiffin, 2006) is in her first year as the head coach after spending last year as assistant coach at Northern Kentucky. She was the volunteer assistant at Ohio State in 2010 and spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons as assistant coach at Ohio Wesleyan.
ABOUT IUPUI: The Jaguars are 8-6 overall and 2-1 in The Summit League after a four-set loss at Fort Wayne on Tuesday night. IUPUI has four starters back from last year's 15-16 team that was fifth in the league with an 8-10 record. Moriah Fair leads the Jaguars with 3.02 kills per set, Bethany Fogler ranks second in the overall league stats with 55 blocks and is third with a .348 hitting percentage, and libero Beth Howard is fifth in the league with 4.62 digs per set overall. IUPUI is first in the league in digs (17.35 dps) and third in blocks (2.13 bps), kills (13.00 kps) and assists (12.19 aps). Head coach Steve Payne (Northern Illinois, 1987) has a 176-264 record in his 16th season at IUPUI.
BISON SWEEP OMAHA: North Dakota State opened Summit League play with a 26-24, 25-15, 25-20 sweep of Omaha last Saturday behind Brynn Joki's 17 kills and 15 digs. Megan Lambertson hit .429 with seven kills and four blocks, and Jenni Fassbender hit .444 with four kills in nine attacks. Setter Catherine Yager had 31 assists as the Bison outhit Omaha by a .280 to .117 margin. Andrea Henning made 12 digs.
JACKS SHUT DOWN BISON: Middle hitters Kelli Fiegen and Kaitlin Klingemann combined for 26 kills and South Dakota State beat North Dakota State 21-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-9 Sunday. Fiegen hit .320 with 12 kills and was in on five of SDSU's seven blocks, and Klingemann hit .345 with 14 kills and three service aces for the Jackrabbits. Libero Shay Birath made 27 digs. Brynn Joki had 15 of her match-high 20 kills in the first two sets for NDSU. Megan Lambertson added 11 kills and Carissa Whalen got 10. NDSU hit just .199 with 22 attacking errors compared to SDSU's .333 with only 12 errors. The Bison also had six serving errors and gave up eight aces.
HENNING POSTS SCHOOL-RECORD 36 DIGS: Senior libero Andrea Henning set an NDSU four-set match record with 36 digs in the Sept. 8 victory over Drake. She passed the previous mark of 34 digs by Kari Fagnan against Western Illinois in 2007 and it was the second largest overall dig total in school history behind Fagnan's 42 at UTEP in 2007.
HENNING, JOKI REACH MILESTONES: North Dakota State senior libero Andrea Henning became the 20th player in school history to reach 1,000 career digs in the season opener at Northern Illinois. Henning has 1,190 digs and ranks 11th on the NDSU career chart. Meanwhile, senior outside hitter Brynn Joki became the 21st player in school history to reach 1,000 kills Sept. 16 at South Dakota State. Joki is tied for 20th in school history with 1,000 kills.
ALL-TOURNAMENT SELECTIONS: North Dakota State's Carissa Whalen, Brynn Joki and Megan Lambertson earned all-tournament team honors during the first three weeks of play. Whalen was all-tourney at Northern Illinois where she hit a team-best .388 with 11 blocks in losses to Northern Illinois, New Mexico State and Wichita State. Joki was all-tournament at Northern Colorado where she averaged 3.80 kills and 3.10 digs per set in a win over Air Force and losses to Oklahoma and Northern Colorado. Joki and Lambertson both were picked at Wisconsin where Joki averaged 3.92 kills and 4.92 digs per set and Lambertson hit .359 with 30 kills and 14 blocks in three matches.
NCAA ATTENDANCE RANKINGS: North Dakota State ranked 51st in last year's NCAA Division I average home attendance rankings. NDSU drew 11,543 fans over 12 dates for an average of 962. The first Bison home matches are Sept. 21-22 against Western Illinois and IUPUI.
TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: North Dakota State's non-conference schedule is among the toughest it has faced since beginning Division I play. Five of the first seven matches were against NCAA tournament teams from a year ago, two more await in November, and 12 matches are against teams ranked in the top 100 of last year's NCAA Rating Percentage Index. Minnesota was ranked 10th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll and Pepperdine has also been among the Top 25 all season. Oklahoma and Wichita State were receiving votes in the poll the week of their matches with NDSU. The Bison ranked as high as 40th before finishing 42nd in last year's NCAA RPI.
LAMBERTSON SELECTED TO A2 PROGRAM: North Dakota State senior middle hitter Megan Lambertson was one of 48 athletes selected by USA Volleyball to participate in last summer's U.S. Women's National A2 Team Program. South Dakota State middle hitter Kelli Fiegen was the only other Summit League player selected. NDSU's Brynn Joki was an alternate.
BISON PICKED FIRST IN SUMMIT: For the fourth straight year, North Dakota State was the preseason favorite to win The Summit League in a vote of the league's head coaches. NDSU collected six of the nine first-place votes ahead of second-place Fort Wayne, which had the other three votes. Oakland and South Dakota State tied for third place, IUPUI was fifth, and South Dakota, Kansas City, Western Illinois and Omaha rounded out the poll in order.
FOUR STRAIGHT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS: North Dakota State won its fourth straight Summit League regular-season title last year with a 16-2 record in league play. NDSU won outright titles with a 16-0 record in 2008 and an 18-0 mark in 2009 before tying with Fort Wayne for the 2010 championship with a 14-4 mark. NDSU's five-year league record is 76-10 including a tie for second place at 12-4 in 2007.
THE COACH: Kari Thompson (Green Bay, 2003) has a 39-19 record in her second full season as head coach at North Dakota State. Thompson was NDSU's top assistant her first 4 1/2 seasons before taking over as interim head coach in October 2010. She went 9-2 in her interim role and has guided the Bison to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. Thompson was a 2010 recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association's "Thirty Under 30" award recognizing the top young coaches in the country. She was a three-year letterwinner at Green Bay, stayed one year as a volunteer assistant with the Phoenix, and spent two years as a graduate assistant for volleyball operations at Alabama before coming to NDSU in 2006.
THE SUMMIT LEAGUE: This is North Dakota State's sixth year in The Summit League after reclassifying from Division II and spending three seasons as a Division I independent. Other members are Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI); University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC); University of Nebraska-Omaha; Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.; University of South Dakota; South Dakota State University; and Western Illinois University. The Summit League dropped from 10 teams to nine this year with the addition of Omaha from Division II and the departure of Southern Utah to the Big Sky Conference and Oral Roberts to the Southland Conference.