NDSU Hosts South Dakota State Friday, Nebraska Omaha Saturday
Release: October 24, 2011
THIS WEEK: The second-place North Dakota State women's volleyball team (18-8, 11-2) hosts eighth-place South Dakota State (12-14, 4-9) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, and future Summit League foe Nebraska Omaha (5-21) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse (1,206) in Fargo. Fans can redeem their ticket stub from Saturday afternoon's NDSU-Northern Iowa football game for a $5 general admission ticket at Saturday night's volleyball match.
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, Vistors Lot E, and the RF lot south of the Bison Sports Arena.
ON THE WEB: Live video for both matches will be available by subscription to NDSU All Access on GoBison.com. Prices are $9.95 for a monthly subscription, $29.95 for four months, and $79.95 annually. Live stats are available on GoBison.com free of charge and also through the NDSU Bison app for Android devices.
THE SERIES: Friday will be the 83rd meeting between North Dakota State and South Dakota State dating back to 1974. NDSU has a 64-18 lead in the series including the 3-0 win in Brookings on Oct. 1. The Bison have won the last five in Fargo. ... Saturday will be the 71st meeting between North Dakota State and Nebraska Omaha dating back to 1978. UNO leads the series 37-33. The teams haven't met since 2003 when NDSU swept both matches.
LAST TIME VS. SDSU: Brynn Joki had 13 kills, 12 digs and two blocks to lead North Dakota State to a 25-13, 25-13, 29-27 win at South Dakota State on Saturday, Oct. 1. NDSU middle hitters Chrissy Knuth and Janna Deyle combined for 16 kills with no errors, and Megan Lambertson had nine kills for the Bison, who made only two attacking errors in each of the first two sets and outhit SDSU by a .302 to .208 margin. Deyle hit a team-high .500 with seven kills in 14 attacks. Defensively, libero Andrea Henning made a match-high 19 digs for NDSU and Knuth added 14. Ellyce Youngren had 11 kills and Kaitlin Klingemann and Kelli Fiegen finished with nine kills apiece for South Dakota State. Shay Birath led the Jackrabbits with 16 digs and Emily Palmer had 15.
ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: The Jackrabbits have lost four straight and 10 of their last 11 to drop to 12-14 overall and eighth in The Summit League with a 4-9 record. SDSU lost 3-1 to Oakland and 3-2 to IPFW last weekend. Reigning Summit League Player of the Year Kelli Fiegen leads the Jacks with 3.37 kills per set, a .343 hitting percentage, and 88 blocks. Fiegen is fifth in the league-only stats in kills (3.27 kps) and third in hitting (.307) while teammate Shay Birath is fourth in the league stats for digs (5.67 dps). Former Jackrabbit assistant Phil McDaniel (Culver-Stockton, 1996) is in his first year as head coach at SDSU. He was the head coach at Drake the past three seasons and has a 69-57 career record.
ABOUT NEBRASKA OMAHA: The Mavericks are 5-21 overall after a five-set win at UMKC last Wednesday and will play Tuesday night at Nebraska Kearney before ending their season Saturday at NDSU. Nebraska Omaha is in its first season as a Division I independent and will begin play in The Summit League next year. Natalie Ebke leads the UNO attack with 2.99 kills per set, Angie Reicks has a team-high 4.12 digs per set, and Brittany Hanssen has a team-high 97 blocks. Head coach Rose Shires (UTEP, 1985) has a 429-265 record in her 22nd season.
BISON CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT: North Dakota State clinched a berth in the four-team Summit League postseason tournament with last weekend's 3-1 win over IPFW and 3-0 win over Oakland. IPFW, last year's regular-season co-champion and No. 1 seed, will host the Summit League tournament Nov. 18-19 in Fort Wayne, Ind. NDSU has not missed the postseason since joining The Summit League in 2007 when the Bison earned the No. 2 seed. NDSU was the top seed after winning regular-season titles in 2008 and 2009 and settled for the No. 2 seed last year after tying IPFW for the regular-season championship.
BISON SURGE PAST IPFW 3-1: Chrissy Knuth hit .516 with 16 kills to lead North Dakota State to a 22-25, 25-21, 25-10, 25-16 victory over IPFW last Friday. Knuth was one of four players in double figures. Megan Lambertson hit .500 with 13 kills and four blocks, Janna Deyle hit .474 with 10 kills and four blocks, and Carissa Whalen added 10 kills off the bench. Setter Jennifer Lopez had 45 assists, 11 digs and three blocks, and Brynn Joki made 18 digs to lead four players in double figures. The Bison had zero attacking errors in the third set and had only one in the fourth while hitting .464 and .591, respectively, to outhit IPFW by a .353 to .114 margin overall.
BISON SWEEP OAKLAND 3-0: Megan Lambertson hit .500 with 14 kills and four blocks to lead North Dakota State to a 25-14, 25-21, 25-15 sweep of Oakland last Saturday. Brynn Joki completed her ninth double-double of the season with 10 kills, a match-high 17 digs and four blocks. Chrissy Knuth hit .308 and notched her seventh double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs for NDSU, which outhit Oakland by a .268 to .082 margin. Setter Jennifer Lopez had 39 assists, nine digs and five kills. Defensive specialist Danielle Dombeck made a career-high 15 digs and libero Andrea Henning had 13.
TWENTY-WIN SEASONS: North Dakota State is on its way to a fifth straight 20-win season and can reach that mark with victories over South Dakota State and Nebraska Omaha this week. NDSU's record for wins as a Division I program came in 2008 when the Bison finished 24-4. North Dakota State had 27 seasons with at least 20 wins in its Division II history, including a string of 10 in a row before reclassifying.
BISON 55th IN FIRST NCAA RPI: North Dakota State was the top rated Summit League team in the first NCAA Rating Percentage Index released Monday, Oct. 17. NDSU checked in at No. 55 ahead of Oral Roberts (70), IPFW (77) and IUPUI (99). Other Bison opponents in the Top 100 included Iowa State (3), Northern Iowa (5), Tulsa (21), Missouri (36), North Dakota (68) and UC Davis (69). NDSU has a 4-8 record against these Top 100 teams.
SUMMIT LEAGUE STATS: North Dakota State ranked first in The Summit League in hitting percentage (.253), opponent hitting percentage (.128), assists (12.94 aps), kills (13.94 kps), blocks (2.40 bps) and service aces (1.36 saps) in the league-only stats through Sunday, Oct. 23. NDSU was fifth in digs (18.57 bps). Individually, Megan Lambertson was first (.432) and Janna Deyle second (.375) in hitting, and Jennifer Lopez was first in assists (10.98 aps). Lauren Cammack was second in service aces (0.42 saps) and ninth in kills (2.82 kps), Lambertson was sixth in kills (3.09 kps), Andrea Henning was ninth in digs (4.64 dps) and Chrissy Knuth was 10th in hitting (.243).
LAMBERTSON 4th NATIONALLY IN HITTING: North Dakota State ranked 34th in hitting percentage (.250) and 38th in digs (16.91 dps) in the NCAA Division I national statistics through Sunday, Oct. 23. Individually, Megan Lambertson ranked fourth in the nation in hitting with a .422 mark. She has 77 kills and only six errors over her last six matches and leads the team with a .467 hitting percentage and 3.21 kills per set over that span. Also in the Top 50 were Janna Deyle 47th in hitting (.358), Jennifer Lopez 44th in assists (10.78 aps) and Lauren Cammack 46th in service aces (0.41 saps).
WHALEN STEPS IN FOR CAMMACK: North Dakota State middle hitter Carissa Whalen moved to outside hitter two weeks ago in place of Lauren Cammack, who did not play at IUPUI or Western Illinois. Whalen came off the bench in both matches, hit .333 for the weekend, and set career highs on both nights with 10 kills at Western Illinois and 12 kills at IUPUI. Cammack has missed five straight matches.
LAMBERTSON MISSES FOUR MATCHES: All-Summit League middle hitter Megan Lambertson missed four matches in September after suffering an ankle injury during the first play at North Dakota. Lambertson returned in the second set against IUPUI, got five kills before intermission, and had five of her season-high 16 kills in the fifth set to spark the Bison to victory.
KNUTH 14th PLAYER TO 1,000-500 MILESTONE: North Dakota State senior middle hitter Chrissy Knuth is the 14th player in program history to surpass both 1,000 career kills and 500 career digs. Knuth got her 1,000th kill on the opening day of the season with seven against Tulane and eight against Binghamton and her 500th dig at IUPUI on Oct. 14. She ranks 15th in school history with 1,208 career kills.
LAMBERTSON SUMMIT OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF WEEK: North Dakota State middle hitter Megan Lambertson was named Summit League women's volleyball Offensive Player of the Week on Monday by the league office. Lambertson hit .407 with 14 kills in the four-set win at IUPUI on Friday and hit .619 with 13 kills and no errors in a 3-0 win at Western Illinois. For the weekend, Lambertson hit .500 and averaged 3.86 kills per set. It was Lambertson's second career award and first of the season.
LOPEZ PLAYER OF THE WEEK: North Dakota State setter Jennifer Lopez was named Summit League Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 29 after averaging 10.17 assists per set in NDSU's 3-1 weekend at the Missouri Tiger Invitational. The Bison outhit opponents .341 to .181 on the weekend including .471 in the opener vs. Tulane and .439 against Idaho State. Lopez added 13 kills with no errors in 17 attacks for a .765 hitting percentage. It was her third career award.
BISON PICKED TO WIN FOURTH TITLE: North Dakota State was picked to win The Summit League for the fourth straight season in a preseason poll of the league's 10 head coaches. The Bison tallied six first-place votes and 78 points, South Dakota State finished second with two first-place votes and 70 points, while defending co-champion IPFW placed third with 64 points and one first-place vote. Southern Utah tallied 54 points in fourth place and Oakland collected 53 points and the final first-place vote in fifth place. Rounding out the poll were Oral Roberts, IUPUI, UMKC, South Dakota and Western Illinois.
LAST YEAR: North Dakota State went 20-11 overall and won a share of its third straight Summit League title with a 14-4 record last year. NDSU beat co-champion IPFW in five sets in league championship to advance to its second NCAA tournament in three years. The Bison were 11-9 overall and third in the league with an 8-3 record when Kari Thompson took over as interim head coach and guided the Bison to a 9-2 finish. NDSU finished 87th in the final NCAA RPI. Four starters and seven total letterwinners are back from last year's team, including All-Summit League first team middle hitters Chrissy Knuth and Megan Lambertson, and second team outside hitter Brynn Joki.
THE COACH: Kari Thompson (Green Bay, 2003) has a 27-10 record in her first 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 Oct. 19 last year. She 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.