(Neb.)- CSC Volleyball Team Hosting Classic This Weekend
CHADRON -- The Chadron State College volleyball team will be doing something this weekend that hasn't happened in more than a quarter century. The Eagles will open their season at home and also hos a multi-team event.
Coming up is the Best Western West Hills Inn Classic in the Chicoine Center. The Eagles and the four visiting teams will each play two matches on both Friday and Saturday. The guests will be South Dakota School of Mines, Montana State-Billings, Fort Hays State and the University of Sioux Falls.
Chadron State will play at 2 and 7 p.m. both days.
The last time the Eagles launched the season on their home court was 1993, when they defeated Black Hills State in the Armstrong Building and a few days later bested New Mexico Highlands and Eastern Montana College (now Montana State-Billings) in a triangular.
Each year since then, the Chadron State volleyball teams have launched the season on the road, usually by playing in a tournament or classic. And, as far as can be determined, they have not matched up against more than one team at a time at home since '93.
Chadron State has a new coach this year, Jennifer Stadler, who had spent the past eight years as the head coach at Sheridan College in Wyoming. The coach believes her new team will be competitive. She inherited 12 players and they have been joined by seven freshmen.
Six of the returnees were starters a year ago, when the Eagles had an 8-19 record under Riann Mullis, who resigned as the coach in April to become the athletic director at Neosho County Community College in Kansas.
The previous starters are seniors Ashton Burditt at libero, Timmi Keisel at middle hitter and Shelby Schouten at right side hitter, junior Karli Noble at defensive specialist and sophomores Chandler Hageman at middle hitter and Aracely Hernandez at outside hitter.
Stadler said senior Kelly Murphy, who did not play last year after transferring from Texas Southern, and freshmen Rylee Greiman and Kassidy Nelson have been challenging for the starting nods at outside hitter.
The coach also said sophomore Kincaid Strain and freshman Tori Strickbine are waging a close battle to replace four-year starter Madison Webb as the team's top setter.
Among the Eagles' guests for the classic, Sioux Falls was the most successful last year. The Cougars had a 20-10 overall record and were 14-6 in the Northern Sun Conference, often considered the toughest Division II conference in the nation. Both of the Cougars' win totals a year ago were the best in Coach Joel McCartny's eight-year tenure as the head coach. His wife, Andrea, is the team's associate head coach.
Sioux Falls may not be quite as potent this season. Both of the team's all-conference hitters from a year ago graduated. Bria Barfnecht, who had 374 kills and a .393 hitting percentage, and Lexi Scott, who had 316 kills and a .388 percentage.
Averey Yaksich, a 6-foot junior, is returning after having 298 kills and a .192 hitting figure. Setter Krista Georger, who had 1,057 assists, also returns.
Montana State-Billings was 13-17 for the season and 7-13 in the Great Northwest Conference last fall. The Yellowjackets have 10 newcomers, but are returning their kill leaders. Maddie Vigil had 278 and Bayli Monck added 228.
Coached by Billings native Casey Williams, the Montana team had an unique experience late this summer, spending a week in Italy, where they played two matches and did lots of sight-seeing.
Fort Hays State was 8-22 for the season and 2-16 in their last year under first-year coach Jessica Woods-Atkins. The Tigers have just one senior on this year's roster. Isabelle Reynolds, a 5-11 sophomore, led the team in hitting a year ago with 255 kills and a .193 hitting percentage. Two freshmen, Morgan Christiansen and Delaney Humm, have joined the Tigers after leading Lincoln Pius X to Class A runner-up honors at the Nebraska State Tournament last fall.
South Dakota Mines is rebuilding under new coach Lauren Torvi, who came from Minnesota-Morris, where her 2017 team had a 26-8 record. Last year, the Lady Hardrockers were 4-24 overall and 1-17 in the RMAC. Last year's leading hitter, 6-foot-1 Dana Thomson, is among the returnees. She had 398 kills her freshman season.
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