Bison Take Six-Match Win Streak Into Final Home Weekend Against South Dakota, UMKC
Release: November 08, 2011
THIS WEEK: The North Dakota State women's volleyball team (22-8, 14-2) closes out the regular season against sixth-place South Dakota (13-17, 6-10) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, and eighth-place UMKC (11-16, 5-11) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse (1,206) in Fargo. NDSU is on a season-best six-match winning streak and has earned at least a share of its fourth regular-season title. The Bison need one victory or one IPFW loss to clinch the No. 1 seed for next weekend's four-team Summit League tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind.
VETERANS DAY ACTIVITIES: In recognition of Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, representatives of the NDSU TRiO Programs will be handing out American flags to the first 325 fans in attendance, courtesy of the Fargo Army recruiting station. Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC will play a six-minute scrimmage during intermission of the Bison volleyball match with South Dakota.
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, iPhone and iPod Touch.
THE SERIES: Friday will be the 49th meeting between North Dakota State and South Dakota dating back to 1978. NDSU leads the series 44-4 including a 3-0 win in Vermillion on Sept. 19. USD has never beaten the Bison in Fargo. ... Saturday will be the 15th meeting between North Dakota State and UMKC dating back to 1982. NDSU leads the series 14-0 including a 3-1 win in Kansas City on Oct. 3.
ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA: The Coyotes have lost four straight matches to drop to 13-17 overall and 6-10 in The Summit League for sixth place. USD was not eligible for postseason play this year in its final season of reclassification from Division II. Kendall Kritenbrink leads the Coyote attack with 4.24 kills per set, Tori Kroll is averaging 9.63 assists per set, Riley Haug has a team-high 38 service aces and Tahnee Reed has 33, Carol Logato leads the defense with 4.62 digs per set, and Natalie Walseth and Reed are the top two blockers for USD with 97 blocks and 92 blocks, respectively. Head coach Matt Houk (Milwaukee, 2003) has a 63-57 record in his fourth season at USD.
ABOUT UMKC: The Kangaroos are 11-16 overall and tied for eighth in The Summit League with a 5-11 record after having a four-match winning streak snapped by Oakland on Sunday. UMKC had gone five sets in five straight matches before the 3-1 loss to Oakland. Kelsey Knoche leads UMKC with 2.75 kills per set, setter Ella Meier has a team-best 6.69 assists per set and 21 service aces, Nicole Kerkman is averaging 4.87 digs per set, and Christiana McQuin has a team-high 92 blocks. Christi Posey (Kansas, 1982) is in her first year at UMKC after spending the past 11 seasons as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Kansas.
BISON SWEEP ORAL ROBERTS: Megan Lambertson hit .476 with 11 kills in North Dakota State's 25-16, 25-21, 25-11 victory at Oral Roberts last Thursday. Andrea Henning made 19 digs and Jennifer Lopez had 33 assists for NDSU, which had a 14-0 run in the third set to put the match away. NDSU outblocked ORU by an 11-4 margin including four by Brynn Joki and five from Janna Deyle, who had four of them in the first set. Paige Nash matched her career-high five kills in the first set alone and finished the night with eight kills while hitting .389 with four digs and a block. It was NDSU's fifth straight win over ORU in Tulsa.
BISON CLINCH SHARE OF TITLE AT SOUTHERN UTAH: Brynn Joki had 13 kills and five blocks and Megan Lambertson added 12 kills and seven blocks as North Dakota State clinched at least a share of its fourth straight Summit League title with a 25-23, 15-25, 25-19, 25-13 win at Southern Utah last Saturday. Lambertson hit .455 and Janna Deyle hit .429 with 10 kills for North Dakota State, which outhit SUU .236 to .170. Bison setter Jennifer Lopez had 35 assists and 17 digs for her team-leading 13th double-double of the season, Chrissy Knuth made a career- and team-high 20 digs, and libero Andrea Henning had 16 digs for NDSU.
JOKI, BISON BIG ON THE BLOCK: North Dakota State has dialed in on its blocking assignments as of late, stringing together three straight matches of 11 total team blocks and reaching double digits in eight of the last 10 outings. Meanwhile, outside hitter Brynn Joki has quickly vaulted into fifth place in NDSU single-season history for solo blocks with 40 - the most by any Bison player since Bison Hall of Famer Janet Cobbs posted 53 solos in 1986. Joki has been credited with at least two solo blocks in 12 of the last 14 matches including five in the Oct. 8 home loss to Oral Roberts. The school record for solo blocks in a season is 56 set by Bison Hall of Famer Pati Rolf in 1982.
BISON CLIMBS TO 44th IN RPI: North Dakota State moved up two spots to No. 44 in the fourth NCAA Rating Percentage Index released Monday, Nov. 7. NDSU previously checked in at 55th, 50th and 46th. The Bison were the top ranked Summit League team ahead of Oral Roberts (71) and IPFW (72). Other opponents in the Top 100 included Iowa State (3), Northern Iowa (5), Tulsa (27), Missouri (29), North Dakota (60) and UC Davis (91). 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 (.247), opponent hitting percentage (.132), assists (12.76 aps), kills (13.81 kps) and service aces (1.43 saps) in the league-only stats through Sunday, Nov. 6. NDSU was second in blocks (2.43 bps) and seventh in digs (18.60 dps). Individually, Megan Lambertson was first (.426) and Janna Deyle second (.363) in hitting. Jennifer Lopez was second in assists (10.74 aps), and Lauren Cammack was second in service aces (0.42 saps) and 10th in kills (2.82 kps). Lambertson was seventh in kills (3.02 kps), Brynn Joki was eighth in kills (2.84 kps), Deyle was eighth in blocks (0.90 bps), and Andrea Henning was ninth in digs (4.62 dps).
BISON 50th IN ATTENDANCE: North Dakota State ranked 50th in the NCAA Division I women's volleyball attendance report through Sunday, Nov. 6. 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 4th NATIONALLY IN HITTING: North Dakota State ranked in the top 50 in five out of seven categories in the NCAA Division I national statistics through Sunday, Nov. 6. NDSU ranked 34th in hitting (.322), 36th in digs (17.17 dps), 43rd in winning percentage (.733), 46th in service aces (1.49 saps) and 49th in kills (13.7 kps). The Bison were 53rd in assists (12.66 aps) and 89th in blocks (2.23 bps). Individually, Megan Lambertson ranked fourth in the nation in hitting with a .416 mark, two 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 40th in aces (0.41 saps) and Janna Deyle 43rd in hitting (.355). Jennifer Lopez was 53rd in assists (10.70 aps).
BISON IN THE SUMMIT LEAGUE PLAYOFFS: 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 1,242 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 15th in school history with 1,051 career digs and remains eighth on the career assists chart with 3,015.
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 31-10 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.