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 2012

Calvin’s Warners, Salisbury’s Stansbury named AVCA national coaches of the year

Calvin head coach Amber Warners was named AVCA national coach of the year. Salisbury’s Melissa Stansbury was named AVCA national assistant coach of the year.

The entire AVCA COY release

“Say what now,” you say? True, it’s been tradition that the coach of the national champion is named national coach of the year. Last year Wittenberg’s Paco Labrador deservedly earned the honor after the Tigers’ title. The AVCA even disregarded its own rule that the national COY comes from the eight regional COY winners. Labrador was not a regional COY last season. I applauded (in written form) the AVCA last year when Labrador was named the COY honoree despite not being a regional COY.

I know that national champion St. Thomas had an agreement – Tommies head coach Thanh Pham mentioned it a presser at nationals – that players would not be put forward for individual awards. But we all know how that turned out. Several Tommies were named to conference, regional and All-America teams. The explanation that makes most sense is that Pham expressly stated that he did want the AVCA national COY award after the commitment his players made this season. It’s pure conjecture at this point, but it may be the case.

All of that aside, on to the actual award winners. Warners led Calvin to a No. 1 ranking in the AVCA poll heading into the NCAA tournament and the No. 1 seed in the ultra-deep Great Lakes Region. I’m sure we all remember that St. Thomas defeated Calvin in five sets in the national championship match. This is the second AVCA national COY award (2010) for Warners in her 11 seasons as Calvin head coach.

Stansbury helped lead Salisbury to its first finals appearance. Stansbury is a former Salisbury player and specializes in recruiting, scouting and working with the Sea Gull middles, according to the AVCA release.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Revisiting preseason predictions: 30-for-42 is not good

This was my second season of predicting all 42 Pool A conference champions. I count it as a success if my predicted champion wins the regular season and/or the tournament. I didn’t have much success.

Last year I correctly predicted 31 of the 42 Pool A conferences. Not horrible, not great. This year I got 30 of 42 conferences correct. That’s a C-minus where I come from. In related news, I only got one of the eight regional winners this season after getting a paltry three regional winners correct in 2011. I’ll try to reverse the trend next season.

Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
2010 regular season champ: Pitt-Bradford
2010 tournament champ: Pitt-Bradford
2011 predicted champion: Penn State Altoona
2011 regular season champ: Penn State Altoona
2011 tournament champ: Penn State Altoona
2012 predicted champion: Medaille
2012 regular season champ: Penn State Behrend
2012 tournament champ: Medaille

American Southwest Conference
2010 regular season champ: Texas Lutheran, Hardin-Simmons (West); Texas-Dallas (East)
2010 tournament champ: Hardin-Simmons
2011 predicted champion: Hardin-Simmons (West), Texas-Dallas (East)
2011 regular season champ: McMurry (West), Texas-Dallas (East)
2011 tournament champ: Hardin-Simmons
2012 predicted champion: Hardin-Simmons (West), Texas Dallas (East)
2012 regular season champ: Hardin-Simmons (West), Texas Dallas (East)
2012 tournament champ: Hardin-Simmons

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

ACVA 2012 final poll

The national semifinalists make up the top four teams in the final AVCA poll of the 2012 season. National champion St. Thomas was the unanimous No. 1 team followed by Calvin, Christopher Newport and Elmhurst. Wittenberg rounded out the top five.

Those were my top five teams as well, if in a slightly different order.

Other Central and Midwest teams in the final poll: No. 8 Washington-St. Louis; No. 14 Chicago; No. 15 Wartburg; No. 16 Wisconsin-Whitewater; No. 18 Saint Benedict; No. 22 Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Receiving votes: Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Big movers: St. Thomas rose seven spots after its national title. Cortland fell six spots to No. 23 after its loss in the regional semifinals. Clarkson, fresh off its national quarterfinal appearance, entered the top 25 for the first time in program history. Clarkson took the spot vacated by former No. 25 La Verne.

Some teams I think were ranked much too low (by four spots or more) in the end: Saint Benedict; maybe Randolph-Macon.

Teams that didn’t receive votes on more than one ballot but should have: Northwestern; Stevenson; Benedictine; Thomas More; maybe Springfield and Middlebury.

It’s actually laughable that Northwestern was not on more than one ballot. However, I’m happy that Richard Stockton finally received votes on more than one ballot.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ricky Nelson’s 2012 final top 10

The AVCA final poll comes out Tuesday.

My rank, (my Week 10 rank, AVCA Week 10 rank), season finish
1 (6, 8). St. Thomas 40-1 National champion
2 (1, 1). Calvin 33-3 National finalist
3 (7, 5). Christopher Newport 40-3 National semifinalist
4 (2, 2). Wittenberg 27-5 Lost regional final
5 (9, 9). Elmhurst 33-8 National semifinalist
6 (4, 4). Emory 33-6 Lost regional final
7 (5, 3). Washington-St. Louis 31-4 Lost regional final
8 (NR, 12). Puget Sound 22-6 National quarterfinalist
9 (3, 6). Hope 29-5 Lost regional semifinal
10 (NR, 14). Salisbury 37-4 National quarterfinalist
Dropped out: No. 8 (No. 7 AVCA) Cal Lutheran; No. 10 (No. 13 AVCA) Mount Union.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

11/17: St. Thomas storms back from 2-set deficit, wins 1st national championship

Now that was an entertaining championship match. Always pretty? No way. Entertaining? Absolutely.

In front of a record-breaking, decidedly pro-Calvin crowd of 3,517 and down two sets in their first title match in program history, the Tommies picked themselves off the deck, held the vaunted Calvin offense below a .100 attack percentage in each of the last three sets and became the first Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team to win the NCAA Division III women’s volleyball national title.

Improbable for sure, but this St. Thomas team simply won matches. The Toms needed five sets to get out of the MIAC semifinals. They needed five to win the MIAC championship. No. 8 seed Cornell took St. Thomas to five in the opening round of regionals. No matter. The Tommies really thrived – or at least were comfortable – on the edge during the postseason.

Top-ranked Calvin was by far the highest profile program to fall victim to the St. Thomas late-match surge this season, but it shouldn’t have come as a surprise at this point. It was a highwire act throughout, but it’s just how this year’s Tommies played in November – the foundation crumbles and looks to be headed toward demolition until … well … until it isn’t. Not only are the Toms talented physically, but it takes a group of mental giants to pull off the wins they did down the stretch.

Talent. Heart. Determination. Attitude. And Talent again. St. Thomas (40-1), 2012 NCAA Division III women’s volleyball national champion.

National final
#8 St. Thomas 3, #1 Calvin 2 Set 5 ended 15-9; UST’s Kelly Foley had 14 kills, 7 blocks; UST’s Jill Greenfield had 14 kills, 17 digs; UST’s Sara Atkinson went 12-2-22.

All-Tournament Team:
Jill Greenfield, St. Thomas sophomore outside (Most Outstanding Player)
Kaiti Wachter, St. Thomas senior libero
Sara Atkinson, St. Thomas sophomore right-side
Megan Rietema, Calvin junior setter
Lizzie Camp, Calvin senior outside
Emily Crowe, Calvin sophomore middle
Abby Hogge, Christopher Newport senior libero

Comments? Reactions?

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2012 NCAA D-III women’s volleyball championship poll

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

11/16: #1 Calvin, #8 St. Thomas to play for title

The semifinal matchups that many predicted came to fruition. And intriguing matchups they are.

Work will get in the way of me doing detailed posts during the final tournament like I have in the past, so I have to handle the posts like I did during regionals. However, I will be able to see most of the matches in their entirety. Feel free to leave comments.

National semifinals
#8 St. Thomas 3, #9 Elmhurst 0 UST’s Jill Greenfield went 11-0-25 with 11 digs.
#1 Calvin 3, #5 Christopher Newport 1 CC’s Lizzie Kamp had 15 kills, 13 digs.

-Ricky Nelson

Written by Ricky Nelson

November 16, 2012 at 4:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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