August 23, 2007

Northern Colorado Volleyball Travels To Baden Cougar Challenge To Open Season

Aug. 23, 2007

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Bears Open Season On Road

The Northern Colorado volleyball team, under third-year head coach Lyndsey Benson, will open the 2007 season at the Baden Cougar Challenge Tournament hosted by Washington State from Aug. 24 and 25 at Bohler Gym ... Portland, South Dakota State and Washington State are the other teams in the tournament with each school scheduled to take on the Bears and each other.

Good Starters

The Northern Colorado volleyball team has a record of 24-7 in its first match of the season since the inception of the program with records in 1976 ... overall the Bears are 43-15 on the first day of the season ... last year the Bears fell twice with a close loss to San Francisco (3-2) and a sweep by No. 18 Arizona (3-0) at the Arizona Invitational.

About the Portland Pilots

Located in Portland, Oregon, the Pilots went 9-18 last season with a 2-12 record in West Coast Conference play ... team returns 10 letterwinners and six starters ... senior outside hitter Nicole Thometz averaged 3.19 kills per game last season ... senior setter Kara Pein totaled 10.42 assists per game in 2006.

About the South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Located in Brookings, South Dakota , the Jackrabbits posted a 22-12 record in 2006 as an NCAA Division I Independent ... the team is now a member of the Summit League ... squad returns six letterwinners and three starters ... senior outside hitter Kristina Martin averaged a team-best 3.78 kills per game last season ... senior libero Samantha Pearson tallied 4.91 digs per game.

About the Washington State Cougars

Located in Pullman, Washington, the Cougars went 15-17 last season with a 3-15 mark in the Pac-10 Conference ... team returns eight letterwinners and five starters ... junior outside hitter Brittany Johnson had a kills per game average of 3.78 ... senior outside hitter Adetokunbo Faleti averaged 3.51 kills per game ... sophomore Kelly Hyder was fourth in the Pac-10 at 5.33 digs per game.

Bears Coaching Staff

Lyndsey Benson returns for her third year at Northern Colorado (27-32) ... Benson has added a pair of new coaches to her staff in Jenny Glenn (Truman State `02) and Tom Hunter (San Diego State `99) ... Paul Richardson returns for his second year as a volunteer coach ... Lenay Goble, a former Bears player that had her career cut short by injuries, has joined the coaching as a student-assistant this season

Familiar Names And Faces

Northern Colorado returns seven of 14 players from last year's roster. The veterans include seniors Dulcie Stone and Abby Mayne, junior Lauren Carter and sophomores Allison Raguse, Kenzie Shreeve, Taylor Smith and Breanna VanDerMost.

Welcome, Newcomers

Five freshman are on the 2007 UNC Roster ... new to the team this year are Jaclyn Bruns (5-6, DS), Lindsey McDaniel (5-10, S) Kandace Walton (5-11, MB/RS), Ashley Lichtenberg (6-2, OH) and Julie Stephenson (5-11, OH).

Northern Colorado Eighth in Preseason Poll

In the Big Sky Conference Preseason Poll, Northern Colorado was picked eighth ...the Bears collected 19 points in the poll ... Sacramento State earned the top spot with 64 points and all eight first-place votes.

Early Beginnings

Northern Colorado's matches against Portland and South Dakota State on Friday, August 24 will be tied for the earliest start date in program history ... the Bears also opened on August 24 back in 2001 when the team took on Incarnate Wood (W, 3-0) and then No. 10 Nebraska-Kearney (L, 1-3) ... the home opener of August 31 against Saint Francis (PA) in the first game of the UNC Hampton Inn & Suites Classic is the earliest home match ever for the Bears ... the previous earliest home games was September 1 ... the Bears played against Colorado Mines (W, 3-0) in 1998 and CU-Colorado Springs (W, 3-0) in 1992.

The Return

Kenzie Shreeve will return to the Bears this season after missing her sophomore season with an injury ... Shreeve had a strong exhibition performance in the alumni match on August 18 in leading the team in kills ... as a freshman in 2005, Shreeve played in 17 games while totaling 20 kills, six service aces and seven digs.

She Knows People

Senior libero Abby Mayne is well connected in the Northern Colorado community as her father, Dick Mayne, is the band director for the Bears Marching Band (The Pride of the Rockies).

The Designated Leaders

The Bears have named seniors Abby Mayne and Dulcie Stone as the team captain for the 2007 season ... this is the first time either has captained the Northern Colorado volleyball team.

Bringing Them Back and Digging Them Up

The Bears will be bringing back 70 percent of their digs back from last year's squad (1238 total digs returning) ... of the 70 percent, 98 percent (1213 digs) come from four returning players (Abby Mayne-429, Dulcie Stone-355, Breanna VanDerMost-236, Lauren Carter-193).

Moving Up In The World

Senior Abby Mayne comes into the season ranked ninth in school history with 1282 digs ... she is only 76 digs from moving into eighth place all-time and passing Terri McNair (1992-95)

First Time Opponents

There are four teams on 2007 Northern Colorado volleyball schedule that are first timers ... the four new teams are Portland (Aug. 24), Saint Francis (PA) (Aug. 31), Florida Gulf Coast (Sept. 1) and Iowa (Sept. 1).

A Noteworthy Achievement

The 2007 season is the 40th for the women's volleyball program at Northern Colorado ... the program began in 1967 under Rosemary Fri ... Fri (1967-75) coached the Bears until 1975 when Linda Delk took over ... Delk (1976-2001) stayed as the head coach until 2001 when Ron Alexander (2002-04) started his three-year stint. ... after Alexander, Lyndsey Benson was named the program's fourth-ever head coach on August 8, 2005.

Seeing the World

The Northern Colorado volleyball will have the chance to see the world in the spring as the team travels to China in May 2008 ... the tour is planned from May 12-23 and friends and family of the program are invited to join the team ... sponsorship opportunities for those who are not able to travel with the team, but will still like to help fund the trip for the Bears are also available ... please contact assistant coach Jenny Glenn at 970.351.2180 if you are interested in assisting the team ... for those interested in traveling with the team, please fill out the form on the Northern Colorado website ( and return the form to TranSports Athletic Team Tours or call Dale at 877-754-8726 for more information ... the cost of the trip is just $3,190 based on double occupancy ... the cost is per passenger and is subject to change based on availability, supplier costing and variance in passenger numbers ... included in that cost is round-trip air from United States, English speaking local guides, hotel accommodations, private coach, three meals a day, all tours and entrance fees as stated and the services of TranSports staff throughout.

Keeping Busy During the Summer

The Bears coaching staff hosted what is believed to be the largest volleyball team camp in the nation over the summer from July 26-28 at Butler-Hancock ... there were 122 teams from 73 schools and seven different states represented (Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana and Kansas) at the camp and most of the local high schools (Greeley West, Greeley Central, Northridge, Frontier Academy, Eaton, Platte Valley and Windsor) were also in attendance.

Volleyball Earns Academic Honor

At the end of the summer, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the University of Northern Colorado volleyball team had earned a GamePlanTM/AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2006-2007 season ... the award, initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school teams that display excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale during the school year. Nominating head coaches must be AVCA members ...the Bears were one of 55 Division I teams honored for their academics.

Up Next

The Bears will return home next weekend to host the UNC Hampton Inn and Suites Classic from Aug. 31- Sept, 1 ... the Bears will begin the tournament with a match against St. Francis on Aug. 31 at 11:30 a.m.

Complete Tournament Schedule:

Friday, August 31

Northern Colorado vs. Saint Francis 11:30 a.m.

Iowa vs. UC Riverside 2:00 p.m.

Florida Gulf Coast vs. Saint Francis 4:30 p.m.

Northern Colorado vs. UC Riverside 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 1

UC Riverside vs. Florida Gulf Coast 9:00 a.m.

Saint Francis vs. Iowa 11:30 a.m.

Northern Colorado vs. Florida Gulf Coast 2:00 p.m.

Saint Francis vs. UC Riverside 4:30 p.m.

Northern Colorado vs. Iowa 7:00 p.m.