DIII 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 2009

A couple of Bears named coaches of the year

Washington University head coach Rich Luenemann was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year. The Bears (34-4) won their NCAA-record 10th national title this month with a four-set win over Juniata College. It was Luenemann’s third championship and sixth title match appearance in his 11 seasons at the Wash U helm.

Ohio Northern University’s Brian Hofman won the AVCA’s inaugural National Assistant Coach of the Year award. Hofman completed his 17th season at ONU as its middle blocker coach. Hofman’s Polar Bears, including First-Team All-American MB Liz Schnelle, went 30-4 this season before losing in the regional finals to host and eventual Final 4 participant Hope College.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 29, 2009 at 1:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Latest NCAA stat leaders

NCAA statistics are updated through 11/15. Here are the leaders in the Central and Midwest regions.

Aces/Set, player: (None in top 50)
Aces/Set, team: (None in top 50)
Assists/Set, player: 11.51 (1st), Marilee Fisher, Washington freshman
Assist/Set, team: 13.35 (1st), Washington
Blocks/Set, player: 1.25 (8th), Chelsea Lundgren, Northland senior
Blocks/Set, team: 2.48 (6th), Carleton
Digs/Set, player: 6.55 (7th), Stephanie Ryding, North Central (Ill.) senior
Digs/Set, team: 21.8 (1st), St. Thomas
Hitting Percentage, player: .358 (23rd) Elise Schmid, Nebraska Wesleyan senior
Hitting Percentage, team: .246 (17th), Washington
Kills/Set, player: 4.93 (1st), Kim Smisek, St. Olaf junior
Kills/Set, team: 14.51 (1st), Washington
Winning Percentage: .950 (2nd) UW Oshkosh

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 22, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2009 Nationals All-Tournament Team

I’ll fill in the blanks when it’s posted, or when I stumble upon more names, or when someone tells me.

Lauren Budde, Washington sophomore middle hitter (Most Outstanding Player)
Kristen Thomas, sophomore outside hitter
Kelly Pang, Washington freshman libero

My best guesses at others:
Drew Barnhart, Juniata sophomore outside hitter
Megan Sollenberger, Juniata senior libero
Jacie Fiedler, Hope sophomore middle hitter
Christina Cahoon, UW Oshkosh junior libero

No setters, I know.

UPDATE: Thanks to a comment alerting me, here are the other players honored:
Drew Barnhart, Juniata sophomore outside hitter
Steph Strauss, Juniata junior setter
Jacie Fiedler, Hope sophomore middle hitter
Christina Cahoon, UW Oshkosh junior libero

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 22, 2009 at 7:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Championship media coverage

Plus a tardy entry about the AVCA National Player of the Year.

Women’s volleyball wins NCAA record tenth national title” (Wash U’s Student Life, 11/21)
WU Volleyball Wins NCAA-Record 10th National Championship” (Wash U athletics site, 11/21)
Washington-St. Louis Beats Juniata In Four Sets To Take 10th National Title” (NCAA.com, 11/21)
D-III Championship Sidebar: Pang Poised At Libero” (NCAA.com, 11/21)
Women’s volleyball drops heartbreaker to Washington University in championship match” (Juniata athletics site, 11/21)

Doug Ritchay column: Cahoon named player of the year and it’s well deserved” (The Oshkosh Northwestern, 11/22)

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 22, 2009 at 7:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Wash U downs Juniata for national title

Behind a balanced offensive attack under the direction of freshman setter Marilee Fisher, No. 4 Washington beat No. 1 Juniata in four sets to claim the program’s 10th national championship.

Wash U had four players reach double figures in kills, led by Lauren Budde’s 15. Kristen Thomas and Marya Kaminski had 12 kills apiece and Erin Albers added 10. Fisher, the national leader in assists per set, finished with a match-high 48 helpers. Bears freshman All-American libero Kelly Pang led all players with 30 digs.

The difference to me was passing. Wash U was in-system much more often than Juniata. End of story. Fisher had so many options. Juniata often had to scramble and patch points together. The Eagles never found the rhythm and tempo that marks the usual Juniata machine.

Drew Barnhart led the Eagle attack with 13 kills. No other Juniata player reached double figures.

Wash U scored championship point (25-21) on a Juniata service error.

Wash U also won titles in 1989, 1991-96, 2003 and 2007. Wash U’s 10th title extends its D-III record. Former D-III school UC San Diego won seven championships from 1981-97.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 21, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Elite 8 highlight videos

Semi: No. 1 Juniata vs. No. 2 UW Oshkosh
Semi: No. 4 Wash U vs. No. 6 Hope
Quarter: No. 4 Wash U vs. No. 13 Colorado

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Local semifinal coverage

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 21, 2009 at 8:35 am

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Juniata D stellar in sweep of Oshkosh

Kills are hard to come by in many UW Oshkosh matches, but this time it was Juniata’s masterful defense that was the star of the show in a 3-0 win in tonight’s second semifinal match. It’s the first time Oshkosh was swept since Juniata accomplished the feat in last year’s quarterfinals.

One of No. 2 Oshkosh’s strengths is its digging, often frustrating teams by keeping the floor clean. No. 1 Juniata showed it can dig with the best, beating the Titans at their own game. The Eagles appeared to make any Titan besides Jacque Ray beat them. No other Titan did go off thanks to an amazing Eagle defense led by All-American libero Megan Sollenberger. Oshkosh hit a paltry .083.

The Juniata net defense was also better than advertised. Everyone knows the Eagles can outhit most teams with an array of hitters and setter Steph Strauss directing the attack. But, like last year’s match between these two, for whatever reason the Juniata net defense looked better than the season stats would indicate. Not a ton of blocks for the Eagles, but plenty of touches for the back row to clean up.

After Oshkosh couldn’t close out Juniata in Set 1, the Eagles gained momentum and control of the match. Juniata also came from behind in Set 3.

No. 1 Juniata will make its eighth finals appearance when it faces No. 4 Washington, making its 14th final, tomorrow at 6 CST. Wash U has a D-III record nine national titles. Juniata heads into tomorrow with two championships.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 20, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Albers leads Wash U to title match

Wash U middle Erin Albers had a team-high 25 kills on 50 swings to lead Washington in a thrilling 3-2 (15-12 fifth set) win over Hope in the first semifinal match of the evening. Wash U will be making its 14th trip to the finals.

The Bears withstood an offensive onslaught from Hope in a battle of terminations (only 114 digs and 13 blocks vs. 135 kills on the night). Flying Dutch setter Andrea Helminiak guided an offense that recorded 71 kills and hit .312. The Bears collected 64 kills and hit .252. Hope’s Jacie Fiedler had a match-high 28 kills on .490 hitting. Helminiak recorded a match-high 62 assists. Lauren Budde chipped in with 19 kills and Kristen Thomas added 14 for the Bears.

To me it came down to Wash U freshman setter Marilee Fisher playing better in the fifth set than she had in the previous three. Of the Bears’ 15 points in Set 5, 10 were via kills. Fisher had assists on nine of them. Fisher found Albers, and she made things happen. The other difference was the Wash U block, which was far superior to Hope’s. But honestly, I thought Hope, making its first trip to the Elite 8, outplayed Wash U on the whole. Fifth sets are weird that way. Man, what a match!

Neither Wash U nor Hope had lost a five-setter this season until tonight.

Wash U awaits the winner of No. 1 Juniata vs. No. 2 UW Oshkosh in the nightcap, which will see a late start due (6:30 CST) to the awesomeness and duration of the first semifinal.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 20, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Local quarterfinal coverage

Titans volleyball wins quarterfinal; Juniata next” (The Oshkosh Northwestern, 11/20)
Hope volleyball advances to D-III Final Four” (The Holland Sentinel, 11/20)
Albers and Budde Lead Bears Past No. 13 Colorado College, 3-1” (Wash U Athletics, 11/19)
Barnhart’s 20 kills leads Juniata WVB past Trinity, 3-0” (Juniata athletics site, 11/19)

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 20, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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