Concordia-St. Paul looks to build on 24-game win streak this weekend
No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul
Concordia-St. Paul (24-1, 16-0 NSIC) will look to build on a 24-match winning streak in their final regular season home weekend as Bemidji State (5-19, 1-15 NSIC) and Minnesota-Crookston (13-11, 8-8 NSIC) come to town. The Golden Bears hold a two game advantage in the conference standings, besting Minnesota-Duluth and Southwest Minnesota State and have a chance to clinch a share of the NSIC crown with a sweep this weekend.
Concordia picked up a pair of big conference wins against MSU Moorhead and No. 23 Northern State at home last weekend. The Dragons jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead with a 25-23 win in the first before Concordia stormed back with three consecutive wins to take the match. On Saturday, the Golden Bears made quick work of the Wolves in a three set win to take their 30th consecutive regular season NSIC match.
No. 2 Tampa
Looking to continue its Sunshine State Conference win streak, No. 2 Tampa will welcome Eckerd and Saint Leo as its weekend foes.
The match against Eckerd will be played Friday night while the SLU contest will take place Saturday. Both contests will be fought on the court of the Bob Martinez Athletic Center on the UT Campus.
The Spartans own a 23-1 overall record with a flawless 10-0 record against SSC opponents and have won 29 consecutive conference matchups dating back to Oct. 2011. The Tampa squad has the reigning SSC players of the week on its roster, as middle blockers Meagan Burke and Jessica Wagner swept the weekly accolade.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth
Minnesota-Duluth will embark on its final road trip of the regular season this weekend with a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference rematches on the docket.
The Bulldogs (24-2, 14-2 NSIC) enter the weekend on a five-match winning streak and will face a pair of teams whom they swept at home earlier this season in Winona State and Upper Iowa. UMD once against boasts the NSIC setter of the week in Ashley Hinsch. Hinsch helped direct the Bulldogs' offense with 80 assists on the weekend, good for a 13.33 per-set average. The Bulldogs hit .386 as a team, defeating Sioux Falls and No. 8 Southwest Minnesota State in consecutive sets. She added one kill, a pair of block assists, one service ace, and six digs.
No. 4 BYU-Hawaii
BYU-Hawaii, currently ranked No. 4 in the nation, heads out for its final road trip of the regular season this week as they take on Azusa Pacific, California Baptist and Point Loma.
The Seasiders (20-1, 15-1) are down to their final four games before the regular season ends.
The Seasiders will take on California Baptist (16-8, 13-3) for the second time this season. The first time the two teams met, BYU-Hawaii won in three consecutive sets. The Seasiders hope to repeat when they take on the Lancers on Friday in Riverside, Calif.
To finish off the road trip the Seasiders will head Point Loma (20-6, 13-3) who are an impressive 11-1 at home. This will also be the second time the two teams go head to head, the first game resulted in a 3-1 win for BYU-Hawaii.
No. 5 Central Missouri
The Jennies will travel to St. Joseph, Mo. on Friday to take on Missouri Western.
Last weekend, the Jennies beat Northwest Missouri State at home Tuesday night in four sets 25-19, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15. The Jens hit .270 through the match, with 58 kills, eight serving aces and eight blocks.
No. 6 West Texas A&M
West Texas A&M will look to clinch its 18th Lone Star Conference championship in program history this weekend as they host No. 17 Angelo State and Tarleton State in league action during senior weekend at the WTAMU Fieldhouse
Lady Buffs continued to roll with a pair of wins this past weekend in Canyon against Eastern New Mexico and Southern Nazarene to run their season with streak to 17 matches while moving to 12-0 in the LSC to remain atop the league standings. WT's Lexi Davis made school history on Friday night as she went 11-of-12 to hit .917 to tie the single match school record with Cristina Pereira (9-20-91). Davis finished the weekend with 23 kills.
No. 7 Nebraska-Kearney
With the regular season winding down, seventh ranked Nebraska-Kearney needs every win it can to make a 15th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
To qualify for the eight-team Central Regional in December, the Lopers (25-3, 10-2) -- ranked seventh in the region -- need to beat teams like NW Missouri State (11-16, 5-9).
Junior outside Abby Graves averaged 3.07 kills and 1.01 digs per set while hitting .206. The 'Cats also lean on 6-1 junior right side Brooke Bartosh of Elkhorn and 5-10 sophomore outside Shelby Duren of Skutt Catholic, each at 2.69 kps, to provide offense.
Duren also averages 2.84 digs per set with Bartosh third on the team in blocks (0.52).
No. 8 Southwest Minnesota State
Southwest Minnesota State returns to the friendly confines of the PE Gym for a three-match homestand that starts on Friday with a matchup with Minot State. SMSU will battle Mary on Saturday afternoon before taking on Augustana (S.D.) to close-out the 2013 home season schedule on Tuesday night.
Head coach Terry Culhane is one win away from passing Jeri Madden's mark of 254 wins and gain sole possession of second place on SMSU's all-time wins list. Jeri Madden (1971-85), SMSU's first head coach in program history, finished her coaching career with an overall record of 254-204. Culhane is 254-69 and has averaged just over 24 wins per season during his 10 years at the helm.
No. 9 Wingate
Wingate returns to action Friday, traveling to Lenoir-Rhyne.
The Bulldogs won their 32nd consecutive SAC match on Saturday afternoon, prevailing 3-1 at Lincoln Memorial in South Atlantic Conference action. Wingate won by scores of 25-17, 21-25, 25-21 and 25-10, guaranteeing at least a share of the regular season SAC title for the eight consecutive season.
The Bulldogs are 21-2 overall and 17-0 in the SAC, while LMU falls to 15-10 overall and 11-6 in the conference.
No. 10 Western Washington
Just one-half match out of first place in the conference standings, Western Washington plays two home matches this week, entertaining Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin's on Saturday in a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference contests at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
WWU, the defending GNAC champion, is 17-3 overall and second in the GNAC at 10-2. Alaska Anchorage is 17-8 overall and atop the league at 11-2.