BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Volleyball teams combined to post a 35-9 (.795) record during the opening week of the 2018 season. Six of the 12 MIAC teams are currently undefeated, with four more registering a winning percentage of .750 or better.
Gustavus Adolphus College is ranked No. 9 in the nation in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25, released on Tuesday, September 4. The 3-1 Gusties received 1100 points in the Week 1 balloting.
Three more MIAC teams - St. Thomas, Bethel and Augsburg - received votes in the Week 1 Poll.
The next AVCA Poll is due to be released on September 11.
Saint Benedict sophomore middle blocker Madison Weiss currently leads all of NCAA Division III with a 1.93 blocks per set average. Weiss totaled a career-high 12 block assists in a double-double effort (13 kills) against Texas-Tyler over the weekend. Her teammate and sister, Hunter Weiss, ranks fifth in the country with a block per set mark of 1.71 on the year.
Macalester sophomore defensive specialist Abrielle Dillon posted 39 digs against Wis.-River Falls on Friday, the second-most in a five-set match by any Division III player this season.
AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg junior outside hitter Sydnie Zachary proved her versatility as a six-rotation player over the weekend, helping to lead Augsburg to a 4-0 record (12-2 sets) at the season-opening Roger Williams (R.I.) Invitational. Her 13-kill, 16-dig double-double in Augsburg's first match, a 3-1 win over Trine (Ind.) on Friday, was the first double-double of her career. Zachary was one of four Auggie hitters to claim 30-plus points on the weekend.
Bethel senior outside hitter Tina Hoppe was named MIAC Hitter of the Week after helping Bethel go 3-1 at Northwestern's Kathryn Pals Invitational, which included a 3-2 win over No. 15-ranked Northwestern-St. Paul. Hoppe recorded 20 kills, 10 digs, and a .308 hitting percentage against the Eagles and finished the weekend averaging 2.81 kills per set, 2.50 digs per set, and 3.0 points per set, earning All-Tournament Team honors for her efforts.
Carleton senior middle blocker Elyse Wanzenried helped the Knights win a pair of five-set matches en route to a 3-0 mark at the St. Olaf-Carleton Invitational. She is the lone MIAC player to average 2.0 kills and 2.0 digs per set while also collecting 10-plus blocks and hit at least .200 over the weekend. Wanzenried totaled a career-best 14 kills while hitting a blistering .500 against Martin Luther and wrapped up the tournament with her second double-double of the weekend, totaling 13 kills and 11 digs in a five-set thriller with Wis.-River Falls.
Concordia first-year outside hitter Anna Brakke was selected to the Northwestern Invite All-Tournament Team. She had 25 kills and hit .159 for the four matches in addition to logging 23 digs and 26.5 points.
Two-time MIAC Player of the Year Nora Holtan guided Gustavus to a 3-1 weekend at the Trinity National Invitational. The senior setter averaged 9.79 assists, 1.93 digs, and 1.5 kills per set. She was also efficient on the attack, hitting at a .288 rate. Holtan registered a double-double in a shutout victory against Cabrini and was two kills shy of a triple-double.
Hamline sophomore outside hitter Madi Hurrle had a big opening weekend for the 4-0 Pipers. Averaging a MIAC-leading 3.29 kills per set, Hurrle totaled double-digit kills in three of her four matches.
Macalester senior Nicole Bennington registered 12 kills in a pair of matches last weekend and leads the Scots with 94 total attacks on the season.
Saint Benedict junior defensive specialist Haley Lavalle paced CSB's defense all weekend to help her team start the year 3-1. She currently leads all MIAC competitors with 87 digs and 6.21 digs per set. Lavalle notched 30 digs in a five-set loss to Texas-Tyler on Friday and recorded 25 digs in a three-set win against Whitter on Saturday.
In her collegiate debut against Martin Luther on Friday, St. Catherine first-year outside hitter Lauren Isaacson logged a .417 hitting percentage and 5.00 digs per set. Both figures rank among the top-five season averages in the MIAC.
MIAC Setter/Libero of the Week Lillian Braun racked up a whopping 175 assists to go along with 32 digs, nine kills, four aces and a trio of blocks in Saint Mary's 4-0 run through the Ground Round Sugar Loaf Classic last weekend. The Cardinals' junior setter registered a career-high 63 assists in Saint Mary's 3-2 win over Luther, representing not just a personal best, but also the second-highest single-match showing in program history, just two shy of record-holder Brittany Cherwinka, who is, ironically, Luther's current head coach.
St. Olaf defensive specialist Haley Langeslag tallied 52 digs and five aces as the Oles went 4-0 at the season-opening St. Olaf-Carleton Invitational over the weekend. The junior had double-digit digs in three of the four victories, including 20 in a three-set sweep of Bethany Lutheran on Saturday.
Thanh Pham earned his 400th victory as head coach at St. Thomas with a pair of victories at the Colorado College Tournament on Friday. The Tommies went 3-1 at the Tournament, with seniors Grace Bordson and Julia Spacek earning All-Tournament Team honors for their efforts.