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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release


Kelsey Larson, Laira Akin and Sara Falcone will play important roles for the Bearcats

Sept. 3, 2010

Bearcat Volleyball Begins Season at UNO Showcase

The Northwest Missouri State volleyball team opens its 2010 campaign and the Jessica Rinehart Era this weekend at the Nebraska-Omaha Volleyball Showcase. The Bearcats will play a pair of games on both Friday and Saturday of the tournament.

The Bearcats will open with Adams State at 10 a.m. on Friday against Adams State. The Grizzlies went 14-14 last season. Northwest will end the day against Midwestern State at 2:30 in the afternoon.

On Saturday the Bearcats will face Newman at 11:45 a.m., and will finish the tournament playing their first ranked opponent of the season when they face ninth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth at 4:15 p.m.

Northwest defeated Newman last season in straight sets 25-22, 25-16 and 25-22. Middle hitter Sara Falcone led the Bearcats with 13 kills in the match and had a hitting percentage of .500 and recorded three block assists.

Falcone was named to the all-MIAA third team last season after leading the Bearcats in kills (352), hitting percentage (.299) and total blocks (117). Falcone was also second on the squad with 28 aces. Falcone is one of six seniors on this year's team, something Northwest has lacked in recent years. The Bearcats had no seniors on last year's squad and had just one in each of the two seasons before that.

Amber Guthrie, Iesha Haskins, Rachel Nisi, Amber Ryan and Paige Spangenberg comprise the rest of Northwest's senior class.

Spangenberg and sophomore setter Laira Akin were both honorable mention all-MIAA performers last season. Spangenberg recorded 701 digs last season breaking her own single-season program record and also broke the program's career digs record on November 13 of last year and now has 1948 digs for her career. Akin led the team with 1260 assists, a clip of 9.62 per set which was seventh-best in the league last season. Akin also led the team with 30 aces and was fourth recording 67 total blocks.

The Bearcats are looking for their first winning season since 2000 when they went 17-15 overall. The schedule however, will not be easy for Northwest, as again the MIAA is one of the toughest volleyball conferences in the country, featuring five teams in the AVCA preseason top-25 poll. Northwest did finish last season on a high-note upsetting 19th-ranked Truman 3-1 and sweeping Missouri Southern in the season finale.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468