VALLEY CITY (NewsDakota.com)–A Viking volleyball team that seems to thrive on youth will do so again this season.
Valley City State University volleyball has entered its second week of preseason camp as of Friday. With only five returning players with a lot of experience, it will again be a young group of players leading the charge for the Vikings in 2012.
The returners, however, are offensive players, different from past devensive-returning teams at Valley City State, and the challenge for head coach Susan Kolbow is new.
“The last two years I’ve been very strong in serve-receive. This year, I have three main hitters coming back, but now I have to find those passers again,” said Kolbow of her team.
Leading the way in hitting effort will be Jill Noeske (Sr., Valley City, ND). The Valley City native returned to VCSU last year after a stay at North Dakota State, and finished fourth among Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) players in kills, tallying 372 in 2011.
Aurissa Martens (So, Manitou, MB) and Anna Neufeld (Jr., Steinbach, MB) round out the top offensive players returning. Neufeld was fifth in the A.I.I. in setting, with 9.1 assists per set, while Martens had 195 kills and hit .236 last season.
Kolbow says it may be a bit easier to build a team around solid returning offensive players.
But, with few returning players, it will take some true freshman to fuel the effort for the Vikings this season, and Kolbow has her eye on Stephanie Miller (Fr., Esko, MN) and Rachel Hummel (Fr., West Fargo, ND).
Hummel is a familiar name at VCSU. Her oldest sister, Andrea, transferred to VCSU from the University of Mary to play basketball in the mid-2000′s, and her sister Alyssa will be senior on this year’s Viking womens’ basketball team.
The Vikings were 12-23 last year, and were edged out of the final spot in the A.I.I. Tournament, despite a win over Jamestown College that neither Mayville State nor Dakota State, two teams that were invited to the tournament, could post to their resume. That near-miss is on the mind of this year’s team.
The Vikings open August 18th at Grachien Gym at VCSU by hosting Waldorf College and Jamestown College in a triangular. The Viking-Jimmie match will be broadcast on Dakota Country Radio, with pregame starting at 3:35 p.m.
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