By: Aubrie Laufenberg
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The regular season for The Summit League volleyball teams opens this weekend with eight of the nine members taking the court Friday. Denver sits at the top of the league going into the weekend with only one loss, while Purdue Fort Wayne (9-5) and North Dakota (8-7) round out the top three.
Around The League
- Oral Roberts has brought its last three opponents to five sets and looks to break a five-match losing streak in its home Summit League opener. The Golden Eagles begin league play against four-time defending champion Denver Friday.
- Denver will make its first road trip since opening weekend down to Tulsa, Okla., for a rematch of the 2017 Summit League Championship match against Oral Roberts. The Pioneers have improved to 11-1 heading into Summit League action and lead the league in hitting percentage (.280), total service aces (91) and service aces per set (1.98). Nationally, DU ranks seventh in service aces per set and 16th in hitting percentage.
- North Dakota takes the floor for its first Summit League match in Macomb, Ill., Friday against Western Illinois. The Fighting Hawks currently lead the league in total blocks (108) and are second in digs per set (16.87).
- Western Illinois looks to break a 12-match losing streak in its Summit League home opener. The lone match the Leathernecks won was their first match of the season when they swept Fairleigh Dickinson at the Leatherneck Invitational.
- North Dakota State looks to redeem itself after suffering three-straight losses going into league play. The Bison start the regular season in home territory against South Dakota.
- South Dakota will be on the road for its third consecutive weekend as the team journeys to Fargo, N.D., Friday and Tulsa, Okla., Sunday. The Coyotes lead the league in digs per set (17.26) and have junior Anne Rasmussen, who leads the conference in digs per set (4.97).
- •South Dakota State opens League action Friday in Brookings, S.D., with Omaha making a trip up I-29. The Jackrabbits will make their first road trip of The Summit League season to match up against Denver Sunday.
- After the trip to Brookings, Omaha will continue north on I-29 to Fargo, N.D., to meet the Bison on Sunday. The Mavericks currently sit fourth in the league for kills per set (13.21) and hitting percentage (.204).
- Purdue Fort Wayne will open league action Sunday with a homecourt advantage over North Dakota. The Mastodons are leading the league in kills per set (13.85) and assists per set (13.04).
2018 Players of the Week
Offense: Madison Jaqua, Sr., S, Purdue Fort Wayne
Defense: Olivia Novotny, Sr., L/DS, Denver
Offensive: Sydney Case, Fr., S, Omaha
Defensive: Anne Rasmussen, Jr. L/DS, South Dakota
Offensive: Becca Latham, Sr., OH, Denver
Defensive: Payton Richardson, Sr., MB, South Dakota State
Offensive: Nicole Rightnowar, Sr., OH, Purdue Fort Wayne
Defensive: Taliyah Flores, Fr., L, North Dakota
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, and nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website