Sept. 2, 2009

By Amy Farnum

SETTING PRETTY:  Last year, setter Maggie McNamara quarterbacked Concordia University-St. Paul to a Division II national championship, and this season the senior from Zumbrota, Minn., has the Golden Bears off to a flawless start.

McNamara averaged 13.23 assists per set as she sparked the CSP to a 4-0 record at the West Florida Comfort Inn-vitational last weekend, which included victories over then-No. 15 West Florida and then-No. 12 Central Missouri.  The 2008 AVCA Division II National Player of the Year kept pace with her nation-leading from last season, earning Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Setter of the Week for the 17th time of her career, and topping it off with Sports Imports/AVCA Division II National Player of the Week for the second time.

Competition will remain stiff for the Golden Bears this weekend as they travel to the 12-team Colorado Premier Challenge on Sept. 4-5, hosted by No. 23 Metro State and Regis University.  CSP begins the tournament against Western Oregon and Metro State on Friday. 

Metro State is appearing in the Top 25 for the first time since Sept. 5, 2005, after cruising through the St. Mary’s MedClinic Invitational with a 4-0 mark.  The tournament also includes nationally-ranked opponents No. 3 West Texas A&M, No. 8 Southwest Minnesota State, No. 9 Tampa, No. 12 Central Missouri, No. 15 West Florida, No. 19 Lewis (Ill.) and No. 25 Augustana (S.D.).

STAR OF THE SHOW: Third-ranked West Texas A&M will be one of the teams to beat at the Colorado Premier Challenge after starting off 2009 with a 5-0 mark at the BritKare Lady Buff Classic last weekend.

The Lady Buffs got solid play from several players, namely senior Laura Prinsen, who averaged 3.38 kills per game and a .370 hitting percentage to earn the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.  The native of Spring, Texas, highlighted the weekend with 16 kills and a .609 hitting percentage against Western New Mexico, and was also selected as one of the Lone Star Conference’s Offensive Players of the Week for her performance.

The Lady Buffs will get their first shot at nationally-ranked opponents as they take on No. 19 Lewis and No. 12 Central Missouri on Sept. 4.

THANKS FOR THE INVITE:  After posting a perfect record at the Wildcat Open hosted by Northern Michigan last weekend, UC San Diego vaulted six spots to No. 7 in the latest AVCA Division II Top 25.  It is the Tritons’ highest ranking since holding the No. 4 spot in the 2007 preseason.

This weekend, the Tritons will put out the welcome mat for the eight-team Triton Invitational, putting its string of 18 consecutive victories at the event on the line. 

Sophomore libero Roxanne Brunsting shined during last weekend’s opening tournament, posting 66 digs and 18 aces, including a career-best 23 digs and seven aces in a 3-2 upset of then-No. 7 Minnesota Duluth.  The native of Chula Vista, Calif., was named Molten California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Week for her outstanding play.

The Tritons will play four matches, starting on Sept. 4 with Saginaw Valley State, which received votes in this week’s AVCA poll.

NOTABLE:  Florida Southern head coach Jill Stephens notched her 200th career victory as the Moccasins swept Millersville (Pa.) in their final match at the St. Mary’s Invitational in San Antonio, Texas, on Aug. 29.  Stephens is in her ninth season as FSC’s head coach, and boasts a career mark of 200-85 … Emporia State is off to a stellar start, not dropping a set in its first four matches behind the leadership of senior outside hitter Arica Shepard.  She knocked down 55 kills (4.58 per set) and posted 3.42 digs per set, while hitting .355 at the UNO Tournament.  Shepard tallied three double-doubles in the tournament, and was chosen as Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Hitter of the Week for her efforts.  No. 4 ESU now heads to Texas for the Midwestern State Invitational on Sept. 4-5.