OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Weekend tournaments will continue to dominate the early season volleyball schedule, as the MIAA's 10 schools are spread between seven different events.
Two league squads will be at Missouri Western (2-3, 0-0 MIAA) for the Ramada Inn Invitational starting Friday (Aug. 31). The host Griffons will have fellow MIAA members Emporia State (4-0, 0-0 MIAA) and Fort Hays State (2-2, 0-0 MIAA) joined by Indianapolis (Ind.), Ouachita Baptist (Okla.), South Dakota, Cameron (Okla.) and Newman (Kan.).
Missouri Southern (3-2, 0-0 MIAA) and Southwest Baptist (2-2, 0-0 MIAA) are headed to Denton, Texas, for the Texas Woman's Tournament starting Friday. The Lions and Lady Bearcats will face the host Pioneers, Texas-Permian Basin, Harding (Ark.) and Central Oklahoma over the weekend.
No. 12 Central Missouri (4-0, 0-0 MIAA) makes its annual trip to the Colorado Premier Challenge in Denver, which is co-hosted by Metropolitan (Colo.) State and Regis (Colo.). The Jennies have Augustana (S.D.) and No. 13 Chico (Calif.) State in pool play before heading into bracket play on Saturday (Sept. 1).
The Jennies then open conference action Tuesday (Sept. 4) at ESU.
No. 7 Truman (3-1, 0-0 MIAA) continues its tough early-season schedule with a trip to the Findlay (Ohio) Tournament. The Bulldogs, which upset No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth but lost to the host and No. 6-ranked Golden Bears at the Concordia-St. Paul Tournament last weekend, will face two more ranked foes on Friday.
First Truman takes on ninth-ranked and defending South Central Regional champion North Alabama, then the Bulldogs meet No. 10 Hillsdale (Mich.). The weekend concludes with matches against Northwood (Mich.) and the host Oilers on Saturday.
No. 16 Washburn (5-0, 0-0 MIAA) makes the short trip to Kansas City for the Rockhurst (Mo.) Fall Classic. The Lady Blues face Nebraska-Kearney and Minnesota State-Mankato on Friday, then play Missouri-St. Louis and Colorado-Colorado Springs the following day.
Pittsburg State (4-0, 0-0 MIAA), which has yet to drop a game this season, hosts Newman (Kan.) Wednesday (Aug. 29) before hitting the road to the Florida Southern Tournament. The Gorillas, who handed No. 14 West Texas A&M just its 11th home loss in 20 years last weekend, has two more Top 25 teams on their slate.
PSU plays future MIAA member and No. 18 Nebraska-Omaha on Friday, then the host and fifth-ranked Lady Moccasins the following day. Lees-McRae (N.C.) and St. Leo (Fla.) round out the Gorillas' slate.
Northwest Missouri State (2-2, 0-0 MIAA) will be in the St. Edward's (Texas) Classic. The Bearcats face Arkansas-Monticello and Nova Southeastern (Fla.) on day one before concluding with Southeastern Oklahoma State and the host Hilltoppers on Saturday.
NEW COACHES GO .500 IN FIRST WEEKEND: Two teams are sporting new head coaches this season, with each splitting four matches in their opening weekend, both at the Missouri Southern Invitational.
Missouri Western is playing for its third coach in three seasons as Tiffany Mastin takes over in 2007. MWSU lost to Drury (Mo.) in Mastin's first match guiding the Griffons, 3-1. Her squad bounced back with four-game wins over Missouri-St. Louis and Angelo (Texas) State before ending with a 3-0 loss to Central Oklahoma.
Mastin had coached the previous two seasons at NCAA Division II independent Oakland City (Ind.).
Kelly Richardson of Southwest Baptist lost in her debut as a collegiate head coach, suffering a 3-1 setback against UCO. The Lady Bearcats would come back and take a 3-2 win over Angelo State and a 3-1 decision from Drury to give the SBU volleyball program its first above-.500 record since 1999.
A 3-0 sweep at the hands of UMSL brought Southwest Baptist back to .500.
COWHICK CRACKS CAREER TOP 10 IN DIGS: With nine digs in a 3-0 sweep of Newman at Lee Arena Tuesday night (Aug. 28),Washburn senior L Erica Cowhick cracked the MIAA's career digs list.
She enters the weekend with 1,721 digs, passing reigning Ken B. Jones Award winner Sarah Shearman of Truman for 10th place. Shearman ended her career with 1,714 digs.
Cowhick, who was the first MIAA player to crack 900 digs in a season in 2006, is now 20 behind ninth-place Misti Baser of Southwest Baptist (1,741 -- 2003-06).
QUICK SETS: Pittsburg State sophomore OH Pamela Cartagena was named Tournament MVP at the West Texas A&M Classic, while junior RH Sammie Williams and junior L Ashlee Maple joined her on the All-Tournament Team... UCM sophomore S Caitlin Pankratz was chosen Tournament MVP at the St. Mary's (Texas) Invitational -- senior teammates Audrey Jensen and Amber Yoder were also named to the All-Tournament Team... MIAA players earning All-Tournament honors at the MSSU Invitational include junior Megan Koster and sophomore Amy Byfield of Emporia State, sophomore Kinsey Palmer of Southwest Baptist, senior Alyssa Berg of Missouri Western and senior Sarah Hoffmeister of the host Lions... Fort Hays State senior OH Kellyn Thaught had a busy Saturday (Aug. 25) for the Tigers at the Christian Brothers (Tenn.) Tournament -- she had 67 attack attempts in a 3-2 win over Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) and followed up with 64 swings in a 3-1 loss to Harding (Ark.), which are the top two single-match efforts in the league so far in 2007... Senior MH Jillian Ohrman of Central Missouri hit .824 (14 kills, no errors, 17 attempts) in a 3-0 win over Cameron (Okla.)... UCM senior S Ashley Jandri had 13 aces over two matches Saturday at the St. Mary's Invitational -- 7 vs. Arkansas-Monticello and 6 vs. Cameron.
MIAA Volleyball Players of the Week
For the week of play ending Aug. 26
Pamela Cartagena, OH, Pittsburg State University &
Melissa Keck, RH, Truman State University
Cartagena, a 5-foot-7 sophomore from Bayamon, P.R., hit .417 (37 kills, 7 errors, 72 attempts) and averaged 4.94 points per game as the Gorillas opened a season with four sweeps at the West Texas A&M Classic last weekend.
In a sweep of the 14th-ranked host school, she hit. 433 (16-3-30) and added two block assists for a total of 17 points to go with an assist and 17 digs. It was just the Lady Buffs' 11th home loss in the past 20 seasons.
The day before against Mesa (Colo.) State, Cartagena hit .375 (14-3-29) with an ace and a block assist for 15.5 points. She added 15 digs.
In just two games of a 3-0 win over Eastern New Mexico, she hit .462 (7-1-13) with two assists and 11 digs.
Cartagena is a graduate of Thompson (Ala.) High School.
Keck, a 6-0 junior from Belleville, Ill., Averaged 4.33 points and hit .505 (49-3-91) as the No. 7 Bulldogs went 3-1 at the Concordia-St. Paul Tournament last weekend, including 1-1 vs. ranked foes.
She hit .655 (20-1-29) with three block assists for 21.5 points in a 3-1 win over Northern Michigan. Keck also added a dig and two assists.
In a 3-0 loss to the 6th-ranked host team, Keck hit . 545 (13-1-22) with two digs and an assist.
The next day in a 3-2 upset of No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth, Keck hit .375 (16-1-40) with 3 block assists for 17.5 points. She added five assists and four digs for the cause.
Keck is a graduate of Belleville Township West High School.
Others Nominated: Alyssa Berg, MH/RH, MWSU; Amy Bohnker, MH, NWMSU; Brianne Boner, MH, ESU; Sarah Hoffmeister, OH, MSSU; Brittni Jessen, OH, SBU; Tessa Jones, RH, WU; Leanna Roberts, MH, FHSU; Amber Yoder, OH, UCM.
Audrey Jensen, L
University of Central Missouri
Jensen, a 5-foot-9 senior from Independence, Mo., averaged 5.23 digs and 09.54 service aces as the Jennies went 4-0 at the St. Mary's (Texas) Invitational.
She had 16 digs and four service aces in a 3-0 sweep of Arkansas-Monticello Saturday (Aug. 25), and logged 18 digs, one assist and an ace in three games vs. Cameron (Okla.).
On day one Friday (Aug. 24), Jensen had 23 digs and a service ace in a 3-1 win over the host Lady Rattlers. She opened the tournament with 11 digs, three assists and an ace in a sweep of Indiana (Pa.).
Jensen, who logged a reception percentage of 93.2 (5 errors in 74 attempts) for the weekend, is a graduate of William Chrisman High School.
Others Nominated: Whitney Boehler, L, TSU; Erica Cowhick, L, WU; Whitney Hoffman, S, FHSU; Ting Liu, S, ESU; Ashley Maple, L, PSU; Paige Spangenberg, L, NWMSU; Shari Tompkins, L, MWSU.