The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) has announced its 2019 volleyball preseason coaches’ poll, voting Winona State University (WSU) to finish seventh in the highly competitive league which has produced nine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II National Champions in the past 12 years.
The defending NSIC co-champions of Northern State University have been picked by the coaches atop the 2019 poll. Minnesota Duluth, which shared the NSIC regular season title with NSU last year, and perennial powerhouse Concordia-St. Paul tied for second in the preseason poll. Wayne State, Southwest Minnesota State and Minnesota State round out the six teams ahead of Winona State.
The 2018 campaign was a transition year for Winona State after graduating four seniors from the 2017 squad, including two All-Americans, but the Warriors remained competitive all season long. The Warriors’ young team last season featured a starting lineup with three sophomores, two freshman and just one senior after several veteran players suffered preseason injuries.
WSU finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 13-15 while managing to post a .500 (10-10) or better record in the challenging NSIC for the fifth straight season under head coach Joe Getzin. Among the Warriors’ conference triumphs were three wins against opponents ranked or receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) top-25 poll. WSU closed out the year winning four of its final six matches, but narrowly missed the postseason tournament for the first time since 2013, prior to Getzin’s arrival at WSU.
Alexis Bass is the long senior on the 2019 team that features plenty of young and experienced talent. Junior Bre Maloney will anchor the setter position for the second straight season and be feeding offensive threats like Kate Masberg and Megan Flom, who burst onto the scene in 2018, along with sophomores Cori Meyers and Madison Rizner. In addition to her attacking prowess, Rizner led the team in blocks as a freshman last year. Junior libero Becca Pagel will anchor the defensive back row with help from Sarah Suits and redshirt sophomore transfer Eliza Dahly.
The Warriors open the new season with a pair of tournaments on the road that will cover eight matches. Winona State begins conference play at home on Friday, September 20, versus St. Cloud State. The 2019 campaign officially starts on Friday, September 6, at the Illinois Springfield Capital Classic.