The Minnesota State University volleyball team will travel to Tampa, Fla. to open its regular season schedule. This will be the first time since 2007 that the Mavericks will begin the season in the state of Florida.
On the first day of action, MSU will face Franklin Pierce at 10:00 a.m., before taking on Pitt-Johnstown at 4:45 p.m. On the final day of competition, the Mavericks will square off against Henderson State at 12:15 p.m., and close the weekend with Tampa at 7:00 p.m.
Leading the team this season will be second year head coach Lori Rittenhouse-Wollmuth. Minnesota state finished the 2015 campaign with a 16-13 overall record and 10-10 NSIC conference record, which slotted the Mavericks in eighth place.
Returning Roster: The Mavericks return 11 players from their 2015 season, including five seniors: libero Haley Fogarty, libero Rissi McNallan, middle blocker Krista Hassing outside hitter Lexi Platz , and outside hitter Lexi Platz.
New Faces: Minnesota State will have six new faces on the roster for the 2016 campaign as the Mavericks will have five freshman and one sophomore transfer. The five freshman include: Olivia Wolbert (Milaca, Minn.), Morgan Olson (Annandale, Minn.), Megan Krentz (Henderson, Minn.), Joie Veldman (Spirit Lake, Iowa), and Ashton Lee (Coal Valley, Ill.). SophmorePayton Schultz (Fairbault, Minn.) has also joined the Mavericks.
Preseason Outlook: For the third consecutive season the Mavericks are picked to finish eighth out of 16 teams in the 2016 NSIC Volleyball Preseason coaches poll. Concordia-St. Paul was picked to finish in the top spot for the second season in a row. Hassing was named as Minnesota State’s player to watch going into the 2016 campaign.
Scouting Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce is located in Rindge, N.H., and is coming off a 18-11 overall record and a 12-2 conference record in 2015. The Ravens are members of the Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) and placed second overall in the conference last season. Franklin Pierce advanced to the NCAA East Regional Quarterfinal before falling to Dowling, 3-0. The Ravens are coached by Stephanie Dragan, who enters eighth season at the helm with a record of 97-97.
Scouting Pitt-Johnstown: Pitt-Johnstown is located in Johnstown , Pa., and are coming off a 29-7 overall record and 19-3 conference record. The Mountain Cats are members of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), and won the eastern division in 2015. Pitt-Johnstown advanced to the NCAA Atlantic Region Tournament quarterfinals before falling to No. 7 West Chester University, 3-1. Joanna Haupt is entering her fourth season as head coach and carries 74-31 overall record.
Scouting Henderson State: Henderson State is located in Arkadelphia, Ark., And are coming off a 4-25 overall record and 2-14 conference record. The Reddies are members of the Great American Conference (GAC) and finished in last place during the 2015 season. Kristee Porter is entering her second season at the helm and holds a 4-25 overall record.
Scouting Tampa: Tampa is located in Tampa, Fla. and are coming off an 27-6 overall season and 15-1 conference record in 2015. The Spartans are members of the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) and won their 11th consecutive conference championship during the 2015 season. UT advanced to the NCAA South Regional before falling to No. 21 Fla. Southern, 3-2.