Aug. 11, 2010
Five New Faces Expected at First Practice
MARYVILLE, Mo.—When first-year Northwest Missouri State head volleyball coach Jessica Rinehart opens her first fall practice Monday morning, she will do so with four newcomers, a fifth that Northwest fans will recall from two years ago and five seniors who were part of a senior-less squad in 2009. During the next three months, these Bearcats will strive to achieve the program’s first winning season since 2000.
Outside hitter Rachel Nisi returns for her senior year following a one-year absence. Nisi started all but nine matches for the Bearcats during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. She finished second on the team in kills and service aces and third in digs while starting all 34 games as a freshman. She added more than 200 kills to her tally as a sophomore.
The four newcomers to the volleyball program include junior Paige McKenzie, a 5-foot-8-inch setter from Madison, Wis., who spent the last two seasons helping Des Moines Area Community College combine for an 85-18 record and two national tournament appearances. The Bears placed eighth at nationals in 2008 and fifth in 2009.
“Paige will bring a lot of experience to the setter position,” said Rinehart. “She has great set placement, is quick on the court and knows how to run an offense.”
Sophomore Tori Beckman, a 5-foot-8-inch defensive specialist from Kansas City, Mo., joins the Northwest program after serving as the starting libero at Division I Buffalo in New York. Beckman finished third in the Mid-American Conference and 56th in the nation with 4.73 digs per set. She was named to the MAC’s All-Freshman Team and set a pair of school records including highest digs per set and total digs in a single season with 553.
“Tori had a fantastic first year at Buffalo,” said Rinehart. “She started every game in a highly competitive Division I conference. She is consistent, reads well and will be competing for a defensive spot on the court right away.”
Whitney Mason, a six-foot middle blocker from Lincoln Southwest High School in Nebraska, is one of two true freshmen who will join the program. Mason was a second-team, all-state selection for the Silver Hawks, who have competed at the state volleyball tournament in each of the last four seasons. Mason holds Southwest’s all-time solo blocks record with 187 and totaled 684 career kills during her prep career.
“We were impressed with Whitney this past spring when we watched her play with her club team,” said Rinehart. “She is a competitor and does great things with the ball when it’s crunch time.”
Leah Bostwick, a defensive specialist from Maryville High School and daughter of Northwest assistant football coach Scott Bostwick, led the Spoofhound volleyball program to its first-ever state-tournament appearance in 2009 where the team placed fourth. Bostwick was also a standout soccer player at Maryville and was a three-time, all-conference honoree.
“We’re excited to have one of ‘Maryville’s own’,” said Rinehart. “Leah has everything we are looking for in a player – she works hard, is a great athlete and will help push her teammates to new levels.”
Northwest will make its 2010 debut in Omaha where the Bearcats are slated to play four matches in two days starting with Adams State Sept. 3. The team opens at home Sept. 17 against MIAA-foe Fort Hays State.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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