NAIA Match of the Week – No. 1
No. 7 Midland (Neb.) (3-2, 0-0 GPAC) vs. No. 15 Viterbo (Wis.) (7-0, 0-0 MCC)
Saturday, August 30 | 1 p.m. CDT | Gordon Lozier Athletic Center | Bellevue, Neb.
Live Stats – Provided by Bellevue (Neb.)
• A pair of top 15 teams collide Saturday when No. 7 Midland (Neb.) squares off against No. 15 Viterbo (Wis.). The match is part of the 2014 Bellevue University (Neb.) Labor Day Classic, which is a two-day event featuring 19 NAIA programs.
• Other Top 25 teams at the event include: No. 5 Northwestern (Iowa), No. 6 Grand View (Iowa), No. 13 Dordt (Iowa), No. 16 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and No. 24 Davenport (Mich.).
• Saturday marks the third meeting between the two sides since 2007, with both teams owning one win. The V-Hawks claimed a 3-1 (28-30, 25-14, 25-20, 25-12) victory in 2012, while Midland swept the 2013 meeting, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-18).
• Midland was picked to finish second in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Preseason Volleyball Poll, trailing defending GPAC regular-season champion Northwestern (Iowa) by seven points. The Warriors host the Red Raiders on Oct. 4, and will travel to Northwestern on Nov. 1.
• The Warriors entered the season coming off their best year in school history. Midland finished the 2013 campaign with a 37-5 overall record that included a 22-match winning streak. The Warriors advanced to the quarterfinals of the NAIA Volleyball National Championship for the first time in school history before falling to top-seeded and eventual national champion Texas at Brownsville.
• Two of Midland’s three victories have come against ranked opponents. The Warriors downed No. 19 The Master’s (Calif.), 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-20, 25-18), on August 21 and No. 22 Vanguard (Calif.), 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-15), on August 22. Both matches were part of the Biola/Red Lion-Anaheim Summer Slam.
• The Warriors return five of its seven All-GPAC selections from a year ago, including second team All-America setter Megan Farley. The senior native of Syracuse, Neb., was third in the NAIA in assists last year with 1,701 – a program single-season record. Farley, who is a four-year starter for the Warriors, enters the week only nine assists shy of tying the school’s career mark.
• Sophomore middle blocker Krystina Koepke, who saw action in seven matches last season, has emerged as a key defensive player for Midland. She enters the week as the NAIA leader with 28 blocks.
• Offensively, the Warriors are led by Ashlee Harms’ 60 kills and .293 attack percentage. Harms was a First Team All-GPAC performer a year ago after tallying 345 kills and 133 total blocks in 42 matches.
• Similarly to Midland, Viterbo entered the year looking to build off a successful 2013 season that saw the V-Hawks finish with a 33-12 record, including a perfect 11-0 record at home.
• The V-Hawks are 3-0 against ranked opponents this season with all three wins coming against teams from the Golden State Athletic Conference – The Master’s, 3-1 (25-13, 25-21, 17-25, 25-18); Vanguard, 3-1 (25-18, 19-25, 25-19, 25-23); and No. 8 Biola (Calif.), 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20, 15-13).
• Viterbo has won the opening set in 4-of-7 matches this season.
• As a team, Viterbo entered the week ranked among the top 10 nationally in assists (299), kills (336) and hitting percentage (.282).
• Two-time NAIA All-American and Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC) Player of the Year Alicia Olson headlines a core of three All-MCC performers back for the 2014 season. Last year, Olson hammered home an NAIA-best 667 kills in 41 matches, including a season-best 33 against Davenport (Mich.) on Oct. 26, 2013. The senior Eau Claire, Wis., native is back at it again this year, tallying a nation-leading 153 kills (5.28 kills per set) through six matches. Olson owns double-digit kills in 37 of her last 38 matches.
• Other notable returners include All-MCC First Teamers Brianna Brinkman and Jennifer Krentz.
• Both Viterbo and Midland have multiple matches before squaring off in the NAIA Match of the Week.
Additional Notes from around NAIA Volleyball
(Through matches played on August 26, 2014)
• Twenty-nine teams remain unbeaten
• Viterbo (Wis.) leads all NAIA schools with seven wins, followed by Eastern Oregon’s six.
• Defending national champion Texas at Brownsville was the unanimous No. 1 pick for the seventh-consecutive poll. The Ocelots, whose preseason No. 1 is the second in program history, are 4-0 on the year after sweeping all four of their matches at the OBU Tournament, hosted by Oklahoma Baptist. Texas at Brownsville is idle until facing No. 17 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) on Sept. 5 in Helena, Mont. For the complete preseason Top 25 release, click here.
• Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) head coach Brenda Williams is three victories shy of career win No. 800. Williams, who is in her 31st year, and the rest of the Tigers return to the court Friday and Saturday at the Asics/Labor Day Classic hosted by Concordia (Calif.) in Irvine, Calif.
• Other Top 25 matchups this week:
o Thursday – No. 24 Davenport (Mich.) at No. 7 Midland (Neb.)
o Thursday – No. 11 Georgetown (Ky.) at No. 21 Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
o Friday – No. 11 Georgetown (Ky.) vs. No. 3 Wayland Baptist (Texas)
o Friday – No. 14 Oklahoma Baptist vs. No. 4 Madonna (Mich.)
o Friday – No. 4 Madonna (Mich.) at No. 21 Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
o Friday – No. 24 Davenport (Mich.) vs. No. 5 Northwestern (Iowa)
o Friday – No. 8 Biola (Calif.) vs. No. 23 Eastern Oregon
o Friday – No. 11 Georgetown (Ky.) vs. No. 17 Rocky Mountain (Mont.)
o Friday – No. 13 Dordt (Iowa) vs. No. 15 Viterbo (Wis.)
o Friday – No. 24 Davenport (Mich.) vs. No. 16 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)
o Saturday – No. 3 Wayland Baptist (Texas) vs. No. 4 Madonna (Mich.)
o Saturday – No. 7 Midland (Neb.) vs. No. 15 Viterbo (Wis.)
o Saturday – No. 11 Georgetown (Ky.) vs. No. 14 Oklahoma Baptist
o Saturday – No. 24 Davenport (Mich.) vs. No. 13 Dordt (Iowa)
o Saturday – No. 17 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) at No. 21 Embry-Riddle (Fla.)
• For a complete list of the NAIA volleyball statistical leaders, click here.