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  1. 2017 schedule

    I agree with everything you say, but I fear it won't matter. The NCAA only seeds the top 16 for volleyball. Then they try to keep all the other teams within 400 miles so they don't have to fly the teams, if at all possible. So until the NCAA starts seeding all the teams (as they do in basketball) or we make the top 16, UND is almost guaranteed to go to Minnesota. However, not getting them in the first round would be nice. :-)
  2. 2017 schedule

    I wish it wasn't true, but the Big Sky, and the Summit, are AQ conferences. Regardless of how well we do, both in pre-season and conference, there will always be enough weak conference teams to kill our RPI. It's pretty rare that an at-large bid goes to a team with an RPI greater than the low 40's. The lowest RPI I remember seeing for a Big Sky or Summit team has been in the neighborhood of the 70's or 80's. Years ago South Dakota State had a pretty good run with the coach who went to Washington State, *maybe* they had a pretty good RPI, but I still doubt it would have been enough for an at-large bit. And until we win a few matches in the tournament I wouldn't expect the program to get any breaks. I suspect it's the same for basketball as well.
  3. 2016 Volleyball season

    I'm hoping for a UND victory, but reality can be a b*tch sometimes. :-) Can they win? Of course, and if they don't believe they can they shouldn't make the trip. Am I betting on it? Not so much. :-( Having said that, Prior is going to win. He WANTS to win this, and will have them as prepared as possible to do so. He's not going for a "let's try not to embarrass ourselves to much" trip, he's going to win. I like that. :-) But again, to be honest, if it doesn't work out so well the takeaway won't be a "oh my gosh, how did we lose that match?" type response, it will be a "ok, so now you've seen what it's like at that level - let's get to work" type response. Either way, it can definitely be a long-term positive.
  4. Big Sky Tourney 2016

    I think it's safe to say that all of the above (No Champions club passes, no free student passes, hockey and probably to a lesser degree HS state volleyball) contributed to the poor attendance. Which is frustrating, because I know the athletic department is working VERY hard to make sure that everything in the tournament is first class. Let's hope for better attendance tonight.
  5. 2016 Volleyball season

    Anyone remember when UND played in the mini-gym upstairs in the Hyslop. We've come a long ways... I seem to recall the first game over 1000 was against NJIT, back when UND was in the Great West, I think Steve B called them the New Jersey Institute of Trucking, or something like that. Very cool that Prior referenced Hardee, he did a lot of good for the program. Regardless of his unfortunate exit, he left the program WAY, WAY better than when he arrived. Coaches talk about "bettering the ball," he definitely bettered the program.
  6. 2016 Volleyball season

    If they keep playing the way they have been they're in great shape for a trip to the NCAA's. They'll have to win, it'll take an RPI in the 40's for an at-large bid and UND is currently 137, although it's guaranteed to go up, NAU was 97 and NAU was 118. If UND wins they are likely to get the Gophers in the first round, but having played them earlier in the season might be enough to avoid a first round match up. The NCAA is big on avoiding flights in the first two rounds, if at all possible . And I see that U of M is already anticipating hosing the first two rounds. Which means a bus trip to the cities.
  7. 2016 Volleyball season

    I've seen the various scenarios and ISU wasn't listed as a possibility. UND basically has to win out. At the very least they need to win Thursday - if that happens AND UNC loses Thursday (against SUU?) I don't believe Saturday's match matters - UND hosts. Other possibilities (I hope I got this right): SAC hosts if they win both and UND loses Thursday and Saturday. NAU hosts if they win both and UND wins Saturday, with a few other unlikely scenarios. UNC hosts if they win both and UND wins Thursday.
  8. Volleyball Recruiting

    You're probably thinking of Pioske (left 2 years ago) and Place (left after last year). I don't really know much about either player other than they both look to be playing within an hour of home. Maybe there is something to that, or maybe not. I'm hoping they are both happier where they are. I wouldn't worry about it, it happens. They might have been on the court this year (especially Place), or not, but we've seem to have reloaded just fine. When lots of upper class players who have seen lots of playing time leave then we have a problem.
  9. Volleyball Recruiting

    I can't speak to him being a hard ass (although I do suspect he's not a push-over :-), but it's the way it works in athletics. Everywhere. In every sport. Lots of players come into a program and not all stick around until graduation. It's a D1 program, every player on the team was recruited, and probably by lots of other schools. When you think about the size of the roster and the number of players on the floor, almost half won't find much playing time. Some are OK with that and will stick it out, some will want to find a school where they can play or if they're not going to play they'll find a school closer to home. Nebraska is a prime example, they seem to VERY recruit well every year yet a few leave each year (such as Kira Larson from Fargo North) because they don't see much playing time. When lots of players seeing seeing lots of playing time are consistently leaving a program then it's something to talk about. And that happens, and more than you might think. And it's usually follow by a coach looking for a new job. BTW, Kira landed on her feet. I believe she's likely to be an All American at Missouri this year. :-)
  10. 2016 Volleyball season

    So far it's been completely about the passing/defense. The stats you would want to see (but you and I never will) are the internal passing stats. I guarantee they're no where were they were last year. Hart and Clarke were GOOD. When you pass well good things happen, and often. Right now UND has a lot of new faces. I suspect they'll figure it out, and the last two days are a good sign. When you can't pass you are predictable, and the defense almost always wins when the offense is predictable. You may see good, hittable sets off of so-so passes, but if the defense has too much time to get set and read the hitter the offense is in trouble. Regarding moving Dooley and others around, that's actually a good idea if the passing isn't pretty. Middles don't get set when the passing is off. This creates opportunities. Right now it looks like Prior has 3 middles he wants in the game, even when the passing comes around. We know what to expect from Dooley and Moser, and Vail is starting to show glimpses of why she's on the floor. With 3 middles in the rotation someone has to move left or right. 3 middles offenses aren't common, but isn't not the first time I've seen it done. It also can give a bigger block at the pins. And I think Dooley is surviving on pure athleticism right now, once she figures out the position (and lets the ball cross her body) she could be VERY scary hitting at the pin.
  11. Volleyball Recruiting

    Nebraska had an interesting schedule. Basically it was 10 or so days - two consecutive weekends, I suspect (hope) surrounding their Spring Break. They basically had a trip to Hawaii, played four days, flew to California, played 3 days and ended the season. I'm not sure that Nebraska used those three scholarships. Right now players with a beach scholarship cannot play on the indoor team. Indoor players can play beach. So it looks like they are taking steps to ensure that it doesn't turn out to be 3 more unofficial indoor scholarships. I'm sure some schools are figuring out how to work the system to gain scholarships, maybe it could be a nice place to put a indoor red-shirt for a year, but it seems like it shouldn't directly effect the indoor team roster too much. And in Nebraska's case, a very quick glance only showed only one beach player that wasn't on the indoor team, and she graduated from high school at Christmas and is a first semester freshman this spring. So I suppose this would be a good opportunity to give a scholarship away to one of next years players this spring and summer. Don't get the wrong impression, the beach rides would be nice, if the U had the money. And I love the beach game. Any time spent touching the ball will help, and the beach is all about ball control. However, even if they could find the money, I'm not sure the climate would be right on campus to add a sport. It's a nice idea, but I don't think they can justify the expense (what would it cost to truck 225 tons of good sand into a new facility?).
  12. Place, Harnett, Spacek GONE? Pryor next?

    I wouldn't go into panic mode quite yet. They had 8 freshman on the team last season. Does anyone really expect all of them to stick around all 4 years? That would have left just 4 scholarships left for the next three years (assuming they were all on scholarship). They're kids; some are looking for the right school, or more playing time, or to be closer to the boyfriend/family, or whatever else is important to them. And since they presumably came here to play volleyball, it that's not an option why would they stick around, especially after only one year at UND? Place saw a lot of playing time, based upon the past year I'd say she's the biggest lost. While the others *might* have turned out to be great players for the program, based upon last years playing time, and the new players coming into the program, I wouldn't worry too much about the transfers. I think it'll be a net gain for the program.
  13. 2015 Volleyball Season

    Sprengler rarely saw the court, and probably not at all once the preseason tourneys were done. I seem to recall Harnett had some quality floor time early, but rarely saw the floor in last month or two of the season. I liked her fire, but she's undersized for D1, even in the BigSky. With Fraase playing next year, and two more recruits coming in at 6'1" or taller it seems likely that future playing time (or lack of) may have had an influence on her decision. I don't know why, but keeping Canadian players in the US is an issue everywhere, for both the men and women. If anyone has any insight on that I'd love to hear it. Or maybe there are non-volleyball reasons for her leaving. They really are, or need to be, STUDENT-athletes. If she's not getting what she needs here I wish her the best wherever she ends up. Losing Place hurts. Every team needs a big stick on the outside, the player that puts it away when everyone in the gym knows she's going to get set. She wasn't there yet, but had a pretty good start. There looks to be quality players to fill the slot, but that year of experience, especially for a freshman with three years left, will be hard to replace.
  14. Volleyball Recruiting

    I LOVE beach volleyball (the official title, even if you don't have a beach). However, I really don't see UND adding it anytime soon. They would have to have an indoor facility for year around practice, and likely an outdoor facility for matches. It's also likely another coach, probably part-time sand and part-time indoors, would need to be hired. And the courts are expensive. We're not talking about Bringewatt Park. Expensive sand, and lots of it. Nets, standards, barriers, fencing, sand volleyballs; there is a lot to it and I believe the specific requirements are mandated by the NCAA. Add in travel; no one currently playing beach is close, and we don't drive anywhere now (other than NDSU every other year). At higher levels the skills are pretty different as well. There's no offense to speak of in 2's, the serving team decides the hitter and the setter. Beach is AWESOME for all-around basic skills, but won't help a lot addressing specific needs of the indoor players. Just for starters, hitting timing is different, hitters get really good at shooting the ball (rolling, knuckling the ball) and not always attacking, blocking timing is different, goals of the block are different, what's considered a good pass is different, setters don't worry about deception, match-ups and who's hot - the serving team picks the passer/hitter and the other player is the setter. Just for starers... Again, I'd LOVE to see beach volleyball at UND, but I don't think it's the magic bullet that will make all the difference. FCOA was mentioned. It's an interesting idea, kind of like nuclear proliferation. You have it so we need it or vice-versa. It becomes a wash for the financial haves and a wash for the financial have-nots. The haves just want to create a little more space between them and the have-nots in a way that they can't seem to do with non-financial means.
  15. 2015 Volleyball Season

    You're absolutely right, UND wants to keep the sets low, both in the middle and to the outside. The less time the blockers have to move the better. But that comes with a risk, the higher the set the more chance the hitter can adjust. The lower the set the more the hitter just has to deal with what they are given. Outside sets have a margin for error regarding preferred height, with the middles the set has got to be right, and having two very different middles makes the setters life interesting. Keep in mind the sets may be great but the block may ends up in the right (wrong?) place. If the block is to the hitters right and the set dies a little inside (right where the blocker is) tipping is much preferred to getting blocked.The tempo might be right on some sets but the location is off. And again, I don't know if this is a setter issue, attacker issue or a little of both. I strongly suspect this is a "with a lot of practice it will get better" issue.