D III Women's Volleyball

A source for NCAA Division III women's volleyball info and opinion, with a focus on the Midwest and Central regions

Archive for November 2008

Jenny McDowell: National Champ, National COY

After leading her Emory team to its first national title last week, Jenny McDowell has been named the 2008 AVCA National Coach of the Year. Congrats to Coach McDowell and to the entire Eagles roster and coaching staff on an incredible season. I found the news here. The AVCA site didn’t have the 2008 National Coach of the Year link updated.

Thank you for stopping by this season. I hope I assisted your interest in D-III volleyball this year, if only a little. I also hope to do it again next year. Thanks for your feedback, and with any luck you’ll be back with me in 2009. Any suggestions for next year would be appreciated.

I’ll continue to update throughout the offseason, but, as we all know, D-III volleyball news is sporadic until season openers near.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 27, 2008 at 11:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Final D-III Bison/AVCA Poll Released

No more than two minutes after I posted the item below, we have our final rankings. The top seven are chalk, in my opinion. It’s basically conjecture after that, although it’s nice to see the voters finally give Wisconsin-Eau Claire some credit in the end.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

On Deck: ACVA National COY, Final Poll

The AVCA is expected to announce its National Coach of the Year later today. Emory’s Jenny McDowell seems like the obvious choice, but the nominees (Regional Coaches of the Year) are:
Jenny McDowell, Emory (South)
Don Flora, La Verne (West)
Brian Schaefer, Wisconsin Oshkosh (Midwest)
Rich Luenemann, Washington (Central)
Amber Warners, Calvin (Great Lakes)
Margie Knight, Salisbury (Mid-Atlantic)
Joel Dearing, Springfield (New England)
J.J. O’Connell, Stevens (New York)

The final 2008 Bison/AVCA is also due out later today. It should read something like this: No. 1 Emory, No. 2 La Verne, No. 3 Juniata, No. 4 Ohio Northern … just a hunch.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 25, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Final ’08 Recap

Emory 3, La Verne 1
Set 1: The Emory receive, passing and blocking were not good. La Verne hitters Brianna Gonzales, Crista Jones and Anna Calmer bombed away at one- or none-up nets. EU had no rhythm, and ULV took advantage whenever Eagles AA MH Dani Huffman sat out a rotation. When Huffman sat, EU’s block was no match for the ULV OH’s. La Verne’s offense was also a half-step quicker than Emory’s thanks to Leo S Yesenia Lopez outplaying Eagle S Natalie Schonefeld. Then again Schonefeld didn’t get nearly as many passes with which to operate.

Set 2: Schonefeld played much better by mixing it up, and the Eagles’ wide-open offense slowed the Leo block. EU’s Ali Wright and Amelia McCall got into a good flow and Huffman got into the act after being nearly invisible in Set 1. Still, La Verne’s D is so impressive. Even though Emory picked up the pace, the Leos contested every point. With Huffman on the bench, Wright came up with a huge solo block to put EU up 21-18. That kind of play was missing for EU in Set 1. But the key was Schonefeld’s much improved play. What a difference a set makes, although I was impressed with how close ULV kept it despite playing average (by Leo standards) volleyball. However, the Leo D was so good. A note I made during this set: “Can Emory seriously win the title without Alysse Meyer’s usual hitting performance?”

Set 3: Oof … combine poor La Verne passing and setting with Emory sizzling on O, and the Eagles getting a few blocks, and you get a convincing EU start. That start for Emory was enough to regain momentum and trade side outs to victory. Errors and passing hiccups hampered the ULV cause. It was a matter of Emory putting away free balls/overpasses, converting easy digs to transition O and graciously accepting points on errors. Schonefeld was on fire when given options. Very smart decisions. ULV couldn’t get it together. Another set note: “Wouldn’t surprise me if EU hit .500 that set. Start polishing the walnut and bronze. EU on too much of a roll to stop. Gonzales needs 15 swings in Set 4 for the Leos to have a shot.”

Set 4: Maggie Baird’s early kill/block sequence seemed to get EU back on track after falling behind 5-2. Down 22-21, EU scrapped together an amazing point that started with a Schonefeld desperation dig into a free ball, and ended with a McCall block. Then EU won a joust to get to championship point. After an easy dig off a La Verne roll shot, Schonefeld took the perfect pass and fed Baird for a booming cross-court kill from the right side. Set over. Match over. Season over. Emory wins, 25-22.
Good effort from a talented (obviously) La Verne team that came back from the dead and looked poised to send it to the fifth. Gonzales and Jones were simply awesome all tournament. But the less-heralded outsides from EU – Wright, Baird and McCall – became stars tonight. And Schonefeld clearly outplayed Lopez after the first set. Congrats to Emory University, the well-deserved 2008 national champion, on its first title in school history.
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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 22, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Last ’08 Prediction

Time for only one more sure-to-be-wrong prediction:
Emory 3, La Verne 1

I think the key will be EU freshman S Natalie Schonefeld’s decisions. She has a lot of right arms from which to choose. To win twice with AA OH Alysse Meyer hitting under .150 shows how deep the offense is. If Schonefeld can get Meyer going, Emory will be hoisting its first national championship trophy tomorrow. Even if Meyer doesn’t get going, the younger outsides (along with AA MH Dani Huffman, of course) have proven they can put it down.

ULV AA’s Brianna Gonzales and Crista Jones are great, but I think they’ll need two others at 10+ kills to have a chance of beating EU.

Disagree? Any other predictions?

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 22, 2008 at 1:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

National Quarters

Like many past years, this year’s quarterfinal favorites were not threatened. Just like many expected, we’ll have the the nation’s Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 8 teams in the semifinals. Here’s my take.

I will not be able to watch either semifinal tomorrow, but I’ll be back with a recap of the final. In the meantime, here are my sure-to-be-wrong semifinal picks:
Juniata over La Verne in 3
Emory over Ohio Northern in 4
Disagree?

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 20, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

AVCA Announces All-Americans

SEE BELOW FOR THE NATIONALS GUIDE. I’VE ADDED A-A SELECTIONS TO THE CAPSULES.

UPDATE: Juniata senior OH Amber Thomas was named the 2008 AVCA National Player of the Year at Wednesday’s awards banquet in Bloomington, Ill. Thomas also won the award in 2007. The storied Huntingdon, Pa., program has now claimed four of the last five AVCA National Players of the Year. Thomas and No. 1 ranked Juniata, the only school to appear in all 28 D-III National Tournaments, begin their quest for a third national championship in five years. The Eagles open the national quarterfinal matches against No. 7 Wisconsin Oshkosh at 1 p.m.

Fans in Bloomington, Ill., will see their fair share of All-Americans. Eight of the 14 first-teamers led their teams to the national quarterfinals. A breakdown of total A-A players from teams at Nationals: FOUR – Juniata. THREE – Emory. TWO – La Verne, Wisconsin Oshkosh, Ohio Northern, Williams. ONE – St. Benedict. ZERO – New Paltz. Wash U led the nation with five A-A players.

See the entire list here. Seeing as this is usually a Midwest/Central Region blog, here is the entire First Team and all MW/C selections. Let me know if I missed someone.

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Written by Ricky Nelson

November 18, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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