Volleyball begins Big Sky title defense in San Diego
Matches 1-3: Northern Colorado (0-0, 0-0 Big
Sky) at the San Diego State Aztec Invitational
When: Friday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. (MT) / Saturday, Aug. 28 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. (MT)
Where: San Diego, Calif. (Peterson Gymnasium)
Live stats: www.goaztecs.com
All-time series: Northern Colorado has never faced Cincinnati or San Diego State; the Bears are 0-7 against Cal State Northridge
NORTHERN COLORADO NOTEWORTHY
- The Bears began their transition to the NCAA Division I level in 2003-04 and were postseason eligible for the first time in 2006.
- Northern Colorado received 51 overall points and one first-place vote in the 2010 Big Sky Conference Preseason Volleyball Coaches’ Poll.
- The Bears graduated a stellar senior class in 2009, including Allison Raguse (three-time All-Big Sky Conference), Kenzie Shreeve (2009 Big Sky Championship MVP), Taylor Smith (two time All-Big Sky Conference) and Breanna VanDerMost (seventh on the Bears’ all-time digs list).
- The cupboard is hardly bare for the ... Bears in 2010, though. Back are setter Marissa Hughes (a All-Big Sky Conference Second Team choice in 2009 as a true freshman), Ashley Lichtenberg (a Big Sky second-best .349 hitting percentage last season) and Kelley Arnold (234 kills in 2009).
- Northern Colorado also returns in 2010 the reigning Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in Lyndsey Benson. She was tabbed by her fellow league coaches in early December last season and is the first Northern Colorado coach to earn the Big Sky’s top honor.
- The Bears finished with a 21-12 record in 2009 and came in third in the Big Sky Conference regular-season standings. Northern Colorado ran roughshod through the conference tournament, though, and claimed the school’s first NCAA Division I team conference championship since beginning the reclassification process in 2003.
- That 21-12 mark was the best NCAA Division I mark in the Bears’ history and their best season overall since finishing 25-9 as an NCAA Division I independent in 2004.
- In late July, Benson’s program was announced as one of 450 teams -- and only one of two Colorado NCAA Division I teams -- across the nation to earn an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the 2009-2010 season.
- The Bears finished 2009 ranked 36th in the country in hitting percentage (.248), 50th in the country in assists per game (12.67) and 52nd in the country in kills per game (13.59).