Students, faculty and staff headed back to class on most Minnesota College Athletic Conference campuses over the week of August 20-26. If they walked by the gym on their respective campuses, chances are they heard a volleyball team hard at work preparing for the 2017 NJCAA Volleyball season.
With some early season scrimmages, tournaments and triangulars on the calendar this week, the MCAC Volleyball campaign is out of the gates and running towards the 2017 NJCAA Division III National Tournament, hosted this year at Rochester Community & Technical College on November 10-11. Between late August and early November however, thousands of bump-set-spikes will occur across MCAC gyms in Minnesota. Below is a snapshot of MCAC Volleyball Week 1 and a preview of Week 2 action.
Ridgewater College, entering 2017 as the #2 ranked team in the NJCAA Division III poll, hosted league foes Riverland Community College and Central Lakes College, as well as Ellsworth CC, Lake Region State (ND) College in their season opening Classic Tournament. The Warriors went 4 - 0 for the two-day event, and did not lose a game in their four matches. Riverland had a tough start to 2017, losing all four of their contests, but RCC will look to rebound Wednesday when they face MCAC foe Anoka-Ramsey C.C.
Speaking of Central Lakes College, they are also featured in the national top 10, coming in at #4 in the preseason poll. CLC defeated Lake Region State and Riverland CC, while falling to Ridgewater in Week 1 action.
Northland Community and Technical College and St. Cloud Technical and Community College went into 'smack-down' mode early and often to begin 2017, as NCTC dispatched Dakota College-Bottineau 3-0 and Lake Region (ND) State College, 3-1 on Wednesday, August 23rd, while SCTCC took care of Gogebic CC 3-0 and tripped up Itasca, 3-1. SCTCC went on defeat Mesabi Range (3-0), Dakota County Tech (3-1) and Dakota College-Bottineau, 3-1. The only blemish on the Cyclones week was a 3-0 loss to Marshalltown Community College. The Northland Pioneers start the 2017 season at 2-0.
While Itasca Community College fell to the Cyclones 3-1, they also beat Gogebic C.C. (3-0) and then went on an early-season road trip, playing Bismark State College, Anoka-Ramsey C.C., M-State Fergus Falls and Rainy River Community College at Minnesota State's Spartan Invite. For complete scores from the M-State Spartan Invite, please go to this link. Minnesota State started the season ranked 7th in the country, while both Itasca CC and Rainy River CC entered the 2017 season receiving votes in the national poll. The Spartans lost to Bismarck State and NDSCS, while beating Anoka Rasmey, Rainy River and Itasca over the weekend.
Mesabi Range College loaded up on some strong early-season competiton as well, traveling to St. Cloud to take on Marshalltown Community College, Dakota County Technical College and Dakota College-Bottineau, as well as MCAC foe St. Cloud Technical College, at the John Haller Volleyball Tournament. Mesabi Range went 2 and 2 over the four contests, earning wins over Dakota County Tech (3-2) Dakota College-Bottineau (3-1) while St. Cloud built on their 2-0 2017 start in going 3-1 at the tournament. SCTCC sits at 5-1 to start 2017.
Rochester Community & Technical College scrimmaged North Iowa Area Community College at home in the Med City, before traveling to the Wisconsin Dells, where they tangled with Madison College, the College of DuPage, Harper College and St. Clair County Community College. The Yellowjackets started the Battle for the Dells with a 0-3 record in early action and had a late match against St. Clair Community College; go to this link for the full Battle for the Dells schedule, list of participants and contact information.
MCAC Northern Division programs which were idle for the opening week of competition were Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, Hibbing Community College and Vermilion Community College. In the Southern Division, Western Technical College was also idle for Week 1 of the season.
Did You Know?:
Four MCAC Volleyball programs will head into 2017 with a new, or new-again, coach at the helm. Anoka-Ramsey (Sarah Herlosky), Vermilion (Krystal Brodeen), Hibbing (Sara Matuscak) while Riverland welcomes back Helen Jahr as head coach and women's athletic director to start the 2017 season. Jahr will begin her 18th season at RCC, but her first since 2010.
Veteran Leadership: At Rainy River Community College, head coach Mel Millerbernd is going into her 29th year at RRCC, while Central Lakes College head coach Jane Peterson begins her 27th season in Brainerd. However, several programs are led by mentors who have been in their roles for 10 years or more, including: Leslie Reed (Itasca, 17 seasons), Ridgewater's Joe Sussenguth (12th season) and Jojo Scott at Mesabi Range (11th Season). Several other MCAC mentors are knocking on the double-digit door, with Helen Smith (SCTCC, 7th season), Marie Johnson (Minnesota West, 8th season) and NCTC's Abdul Chamma also clocking in at 8 years.
Players of the Week: Week 1 Players of the Week in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference will be announced, Tuesday, August 29th. To follow the NJCAA National Player of the Week polls, be sure to watch the NJCAA Twitter feed at: https://twitter.com/njcaa
MCAC 2017 Volleyball Standings: http://www.mcacsports.org/sports/wvball/2017-18/standings
MCAC 2017 Volleyball Statistics: http://www.mcacsports.org/sports/wvball/2017-18/teams?sort=name&r=0&pos=
Want More Info on MCAC Volleyball? Go to: http://www.mcacsports.org/sports/wvball/index