North Dakota State at Oral Roberts Thursday, Southern Utah Saturday
Release: November 01, 2011
THIS WEEK: The North Dakota State women's volleyball team looks to extend its half-game lead in The Summit League this week when the first-place Bison (20-8, 12-2) play second-place Oral Roberts (19-6, 12-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at the ORU Aerobics Center (350) in Tulsa, Okla., and seventh-place Southern Utah (8-18, 5-10) at 7 p.m. MT on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Centrum Arena (5,300) in Cedar City, Utah.
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: Thursday will be the 14th meeting between North Dakota State and Oral Roberts dating back to 1982. ORU snapped an eight-match losing streak to NDSU with a 3-2 win in Fargo on Oct. 8, but the Bison still lead the series 9-4. NDSU has won four straight in Tulsa over the past three seasons. ... Saturday will be the seventh meeting between North Dakota State and Southern Utah since the Thunderbirds launched their Division I volleyball program in 2009. NDSU has won all six matches including 3-0 in Fargo on Oct. 7.
ABOUT ORAL ROBERTS: The Golden Eagles are 19-6 overall and second in The Summit League with a 12-3 record after having a 12-match winning streak snapped with a 3-0 loss at Oakland last Friday and a 3-1 loss at IPFW last Saturday. This is ORU's final season in The Summit League after the school announced Oct. 25 that it will join the Southland Conference in July. Elizabeth McVicker leads the team with a .268 hitting percentage, 2.69 kills per set and 1.03 blocks per set. Setter Laura Taylor averages 10.14 assists per set and Bruna Silva is averaging 5.53 digs per set, including a career-high 41 against the Bison in Fargo. Head coach Sheera Sirola (Oral Roberts, 1998) has a 169-107 record in her ninth season at ORU.
ABOUT SOUTHERN UTAH: The Thunderbirds are 8-18 overall and seventh in The Summit League with a 5-10 record after losing 3-1 at IPFW and 3-0 at Oakland last weekend. Analaine Pelaez-Mailoto leads the team with 4.09 kills per set, 23 aces and 307 digs. Setter Gabi Mirand is averaging 9.24 assists per set, Davia Lee leads the team with 4.38 digs per set, and Cashaana Renfro leads the team with 100 blocks (0.98 bps). Head coach Debby Baker (Utah State, 1993) has a 32-53 record in her third season at SUU.
BISON UP FOUR SPOTS IN THIRD RPI: North Dakota State moved up four spots in the third NCAA Rating Percentage Index released Monday, Oct. 31. NDSU checked in at No. 46 after being ranked 55th and 50th in the first two RPI reports. The Bison were the top ranked Summit League team ahead of IPFW (61) and Oral Roberts (67). Other opponents in the Top 100 included Iowa State (3), Northern Iowa (5), Tulsa (22), Missouri (32), North Dakota (65) and UC Davis (70). NDSU has a 2-8 record against these Top 100 teams.
SUMMIT LEAGUE STATS: North Dakota State ranked first in The Summit League in hitting percentage (.246), opponent hitting percentage (.132), assists (12.86 aps), kills (13.90 kps) and service aces (1.47 saps) in the league-only stats through Sunday, Oct. 30. NDSU was third in blocks (2.33 bps) and fifth in digs (18.63 dps). Individually, Megan Lambertson was first (.420) and Janna Deyle second (.361) in hitting, and Jennifer Lopez was first in assists (10.88 aps). Lauren Cammack was third in service aces (0.42 saps) and ninth in kills (2.82 kps), Lambertson was seventh in kills (2.98 kps), Lopez was eighth in aces (0.27 saps), Andrea Henning was ninth in digs (4.57 dps), Deyle was ninth in blocks (0.90 bps) and Brynn Joki was 10th in kills (2.80 kps).
BISON 49th IN ATTENDANCE: North Dakota State ranks 49th in the latest NCAA Division I women's volleyball attendance report through Sunday, Oct. 30. NDSU has an average home attendance of 972 over 10 matches including a season-high 1,438 for the three-set loss to 17th-ranked Iowa State in the home opener Sept. 9. The Bison have had five crowds of 1,000 or more during the season. NDSU finished 43rd in average home attendance last year.
LAMBERTSON 6th NATIONALLY IN HITTING: North Dakota State ranked 37th in digs (17.08 dps), 38th in hitting percentage (.247), 40th in service aces (1.52 saps) and 49th in kills (13.74 kps) in the NCAA Division I national statistics through Sunday, Oct. 30. Individually, Megan Lambertson ranked sixth in the nation in hitting with a .411 mark, seven points behind the school record of .418 set by Bison Hall of Famer Jen Miller in 1982. Also in the Top 50 were Lauren Cammack 45th in aces (0.41 saps), Jennifer Lopez 46th in assists (10.77 aps) and Janna Deyle 49th in hitting (.353).
BISON BEAT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 3-1: Brynn Joki had 14 kills, 19 digs and three solo blocks to lead North Dakota State to a 25-23, 19-25, 25-16, 25-10 win over South Dakota State last Friday. Chrissy Knuth added 12 kills and 12 digs, and setter Jennifer Lopez hit .429 with a season-high nine kills, 39 assists and seven digs. Andrea Henning finished with 15 digs and defensive specialist Danielle Dombeck had 14 to round out four NDSU players in double figures.
BISON SWEEP NEBRASKA OMAHA: North Dakota State defeated future Summit League member Nebraska Omaha 25-11, 25-18, 25-19 last Saturday. Brynn Joki had 11 kills and three solo blocks and Chrissy Knuth hit .429 with 10 kills and four block assists as North Dakota State reached the 20-win mark for the fifth straight season. NDSU outhit UNO by a .302 to .071 margin, had a 58-45 advantage in digs and outblocked the Mavs 11-3. Libero Andrea Henning made a match-high 20 digs for the Bison.
BISON CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT: North Dakota State clinched a berth in the four-team Summit League postseason tournament with the 3-0 home win over Oakland on Oct. 22. 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.
TWENTY-WIN SEASONS: North Dakota State has reached the 20-win mark for the fifth straight season. 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.
WHALEN STEPS IN FOR CAMMACK: North Dakota State middle hitter Carissa Whalen moved to outside hitter Oct. 14-15 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 seven 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 1,230 career kills.
LOPEZ PASSES 1,000 DIGS: North Dakota State setter Jennifer Lopez recorded her 1,000th career dig in the home win over Oakland on Oct. 22. Lopez ranks 17th in school history with 1,023 career digs and remains eighth on the career assists chart with 2,947.
JOKI ON THE BLOCK: North Dakota State outside hitter Brynn Joki had three solo blocks against South Dakota State and three more against Nebraska Omaha to move into 10th place on the school single-season chart for solo blocks with 35. The school record for solos is 56 set by Bison Hall of Famer Pati Rolf in 1982. Joki is NDSU's fourth leading blocker this year with 56 total blocks and an average of 0.57 per set.
LAMBERTSON PLAYER OF THE WEEK: North Dakota State middle hitter Megan Lambertson was named Summit League Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 17 by the league office. Lambertson hit .407 with 14 kills in the four-set win at IUPUI 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 29-10 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.