WIAC Volleyball Preview: UW-Whitewater Chosen To Win Crown

WIAC Volleyball Preview: UW-Whitewater Chosen To Win Crown

From WIACSports.com

MADISON, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is the preseason choice of the league’s sports information directors to win the 2011 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) women’s volleyball crown.

UW-Whitewater, ranked No. 24 nationally in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) NCAA Division III preseason poll, secured three first-place votes in the conference projections and owns a WIAC-high 13 regular-season titles with the most recent in 2007. The Warhawks have made 19 consecutive NCAA Division III Championship appearances and won 28-plus games in each of head coach Stacy Boudreau’s six seasons. Boudreau has the 11th-highest winning percentage (.774 / 270-79 record) of any active coach in the NCAA Division III.

Senior Alyssa Bauer led the WIAC with 651 digs in 2010, while classmate Sofia Sanchez was fourth with 3.16 kills per contest.

UW-Oshkosh captured four first-place tallies in the league survey and is slotted for second in the nine-team race. The Titans split last year’s crown with UW-Eau Claire and have won or shared the WIAC title five times in the past six years. Junior Morgan Liebetrau led the team with 1,040 assists in 2010, while junior Larissa Krumplitsch played in 129 of UW-Oshkosh’s 147 games. Head coach Brian Schafer is second on the NCAA Division III winning percentage (.832 / 213-43 record) list for active coaches.

UW-Platteville, ranked No. 9 by the AVCA, picked up the remaining two first-place votes in the WIAC poll and is expected to place fourth in conference ledger. Senior Ali Sikic enters the season third all-time in program history with 4,158 assists. Sikic and senior Briana Kaiser both earned All-America laurels a year ago to mark the first time since 2004 that UW-Platteville had two players pick up All-America accolades. In 2010, the Pioneers set a school single-match attendance record with 1,243 for the contest against Viterbo University (Wis.) on Oct. 6.

UW-Eau Claire, ranked No. 20 by the AVCA, begins its 42nd season of women’s volleyball with six straight home matches and will then play 16 straight away from McPhee Center. The Blugolds have finished no lower than third place in the WIAC standings since 2005 and earned a share of the league crown three of the last five seasons. Senior Liz Amici topped the conference with 1.22 blocks per game during the 2010 campaign.

UW-River Falls returns 86 percent of total sets played and 83 percent of total kills from a year ago. Junior Erin Green led the conference with 3.61 kills per game and 4.61 points per game, while ranking second with 1.06 blocks per game. Junior Courtney Preiner set a Falcon record with 631 digs in 2010 and topped the WIAC with 5.21 digs per contest. Head coach Patti Ford has directed the program to 15 20-plus win seasons.

UW-La Crosse will play its first eight matches away from Mitchell Hall in 2011. Sophomore Kayla Ashland, senior Katie Gunderson and junior Amanda Hardy return after finishing with at least 100 kills in 2010. Ashland also led the squad with 0.47 blocks per contest. Head coach Sheila Perkins enters her 24th season overall and 18th with the Eagles needing 13 victories to reach 500 in her career and 15 wins to attain 400 at UW-La Crosse.

UW-Stevens Point’s 2011 roster has 12 new incoming players and no seniors. Junior Morgan Bartkowiak led the 2010 team with a .242 hitting percentage, 2.44 kills per game and 0.93 blocks per game. The Pointers have made back-to-back WIAC tournament appearances for the first time since 2006-07.

UW-Stout returns 10 players from last year’s team and seven individuals that played in more than 50 games. Junior Kate Mikutowski returns after missing nearly half of the 2010 season with an injury. She was the team’s leading hitter in 2009. Also back from injury is sophomore Chelsea Culver.

UW-Superior welcomes back all of its starters from the 2010 squad. Senior Sarah Gruber was ninth in the WIAC with 5.62 assists per game and second with 0.62 service aces per contest last season. Head coach Lynne Deadrick is the program’s all-time wins leader and will have the opportunity to coach her daughter, Keely, who is a freshman.

2011 Preseason Predictions--Voted on by WIAC Sports Information Directors

  2010 Record
1. UW-Whitewater (3) 28-9 overall, 6-2 WIAC
2. UW-Oshkosh (4) 24-14, 7-1
3. UW-Eau Claire 25-10, 7-1
4. UW-Platteville (2) 33-4, 6-2
5. UW-River Falls 20-13, 3-5
6. UW-La Crosse 11-18, 3-5
7. UW-Stevens Point 21-13, 3-5
8. UW-Stout 6-24, 1-7
9. UW-Superior 9-27, 0-8
(  )-First-place votes  


Team Nuggets

UW-Eau Claire
Head Coach: Kim Wudi; 5th season at UWEC; 102-41
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/3
Returning All-WIAC: Liz Amici (Sr., MB, 2010-First); Emily Zupon (Sr., OH, 2009-Honorable)

UW-La Crosse
Head Coach: Sheila Perkins; 24th season (18th at UWL); 487-304 (overall) / 385-193 (at UWL)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/3
Returning All-WIAC: Kayla Ashland (So., MH, 2010-Honorable)

Head Coach: Brian Schaefer; 8th season at UWO; 213-43
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/7
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/5
Returning All-WIAC: None

Head Coach: Deb Schulman; 24th season at UWP; 556-296
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/3
Returning All-WIAC: Briana Kaiser (Sr., MH, 2009-Honorable, 2010-First); Stephanie Kirchner (So., MH, 2010-Honorable); Ali Sikic (Sr., Setter, 2009-Honorable, 2010-First)

UW-River Falls
Head Coach: Patti Ford; 20th season at UWRF; 457-247
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 6/1
Returning All-WIAC: Danielle Gibbemeyer (Jr., OH, 2010-Honorable); Erin Green (Jr., MH, 2010-First)

UW-Stevens Point
Head Coach: Stacey White; 11th season at UWSP; 157-183
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 4/10
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/3
Returning All-WIAC: Morgan Bartkowiak (Jr., MH, 2010-Honorable)

Head Coach: Jill Jolliff; 19th season at UWS; 328-267
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 7/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/3
Returning All-WIAC: Kate Mikutowski (Jr., OH, 2009-Honorable)

Head Coach: Lynne Deadrick; 9th season at UWS; 111-158
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 8/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/0
Returning All-WIAC: None

Head Coach: Stacy Boudreau; 10th season (7th at UWW); 270-79 (overall) / 200-42 (at UWW)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 11/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/4
Returning All-WIAC: Alyssa Bauer (Sr., Libero, 2008-All-Def., 2009-All-Def., 2010-All-Def.); Sofia Sanchez (Sr., OH, 2010-First)