Aug. 22, 2007
Northwest Opens at Nebraska-Kearney Volleyball Classic
MARYVILLE - (match notes) Northwest Missouri State volleyball travels to Kearney, Neb., for the first time in school history to meet four teams at the Nebraska-Kearney Volleyball Classic on Aug. 24-25.
The Bearcats open 2007 against Montevallo (Ala.) in a 2:30 p.m. match on Aug. 24, followed by host Nebraska-Kearney at 7 p.m. The next day will see St. Martin's (Wash.) at 10 a.m. and Northern (S.D.) State at 4:45 p.m.
Northwest has started the past two seasons at a 3-1 pace, following the Missouri Southern Invitational. In season-openers, the Bearcats maintain a 17-14-1 (.547) all-time record. When opening in a neutral location, the record stands 6-4-1 (.591). The Aug. 24 start date is tied for the earliest start to a season in school history (Aug. 24, 2001).
Northwest has won four of its last five non-conference matches since Oct. 13, 2006. The only loss in that span was to eventual national runner-up North Alabama.
Head Coach Anna Tool begins her second season at the helm, after going 14-19 last season. She recorded the most wins by an inaugural coach since 1987 when Peggy Voisin went 17-32. Former Northwest volleyball player Steph Martin will begin her second season as assistant coach.
Junior middle hitter Amy Bohnker finished second with 102 blocks last season, starting 29 matches. She reached double-digit kills twice and recorded a career-high 12 blocks against No. 4 Truman on Sept. 12.
Libero Nicole Wojtowicz will be the lone senior on the 2007 squad. She finished third on the team in 2006 with 395 digs and second with 3.32 digs per game.
Montevallo leads the overall series with Northwest 3-2, having won the last two meetings. Picked to finish sixth in the Gulf South Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, the Lady Falcons will look to Lauren Tortorici for leadership. She was named to the All-GSC Preseason Team and led Montevallo with 437 kills, 3.52 kills per game and 462 digs last season.
Nebraska-Kearney, the defending Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference champions and 2005 national runner-up, hold a 7-2 advantage over the Bearcats. Head Coach Rick Squiers begins his ninth season, having led the Lopers to eight NCAA tournament appearances and five RMAC regular season titles. Junior middle hitter Juli Minicz is the only All-RMAC selection returning after leading Nebraska-Kearney with 125 blocks.
The Aug. 25 date with St. Martin's will be the first between the schools. The Saints ended 2006 on an 11-match losing streak, dropping the final seven matches by 3-0 scores. The team will rely on the strength of five juniors with no seniors listed on the roster.
Northwest trails Northern State in the overall series 1-0 following a Sept. 12, 2003 meeting that the Wolves took 3-2 in Omaha, Neb. Head Coach Lisa Schriver led her squad to its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance last season. The Wolves' leading blockers from last season, Kelsey Aden and Jill Rasmussen, return after both placed in the top-10 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference blocking statistics for 2006.
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