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NCAA.com | September 27, 2013

DII Preview: No. 1 to face No. 2 on Friday

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth

Minnesota-Duluth travels to St. Paul for a match-up with conference rival and No. 2 team in the nation, the Concordia-St. Paul on Friday evening.

The Bulldogs (12-0, 3-0 NSIC) ride into the Twin Cities on a 12-match winning streak to begin their 2013 campaign and have revenge on their mind: the Golden Bears (11-1, 3-0 NSIC) just so happen to be the last team to defeat UMD, knocking off last year's squad in the second match of the NCAA Central Regional en route to a sixth-consecutive national championship. Historically, the Bulldogs are 21-17 all-time against Concordia-St. Paul, undefeated in their first ten matches before the Golden Bears turned the tide more in their favor. Still, UMD has defeated Concordia once in each of the past two seasons.

You don't have to dig far in the record books to find the last time No. 1 played No. 2 because Concordia-St. Paul knocked off then-No. 1 Southwest Minnesota State in the regular season finale of 2012 on Nov. 10, handing the Mustangs both of their losses in the NSIC last season.

No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul

Second-ranked Concordia-St. Paul volleyball team (11-1, 3-0 NSIC) hosts the top-ranked team in the country, Minnesota-Duluth (12-0, 3-0 NSIC), at Gangelhoff Center.

The two teams bring perfect 3-0 NSIC records into the competition. Overall, UMD is 12-0 and has received 44 out of 48 first-place votes in the newest AVCA Division II volleyball top-25 coaches' poll. The Golden Bears have received two of the 48 first-place votes and are ranked second for the second consecutive week. Concordia's only loss is to eighth-ranked Wayne State (9-2).

No. 3 Tampa

Tampa hosts Florida Tech in its home opener on Friday.

The match between the Spartans (7-1) and the Panthers (9-1) marks the beginning of Sunshine State Conference play.

Tampa enters the match off a 3-1 loss to No. 4 and six-time defending national champion Concordia-St. Paul on Sept. 14 during the final game of the Colorado Premiere tournament.  The Spartans are led by returning senior Holly Reschke and sophomore Jessica Wagner and transfer sophomore Berkley Whaley.  In the match, Reschke registered 24 kills with Whaley trailing her teammate by three with 21.  Wagner rounded out the game with 12 blocks. 

No. 4 BYU-Hawaii

BYU-Hawaii will leave the Cannon Activties Center after a perfect 7-0 start for its first road matches of the year, a trip to Hawaii-Pacific and Chaminade on Thursday and Saturday.

The Seasiders are off to a hot start in the Pacific West Conference after two wins last week. Junior outside hitter Stella Chen earned another honor from the PacWest as she notched final-five spot for her week’s performance, averaging 4.00 kills per set.  

Hawaii Pacific (8-2, 1-1) is coming off a 2-0 weekend and Chaminade (3-4, 0-2) dropped both matches last week, including a 3-0 defeat at the hands of BYU-Hawaii on Friday.

No. 5 Central Missouri 

Friday, the Jennies will take on another conference team, Missouri Western.

Wednesday night, the Central Missouri Jennies (13-0, 3-0 MIAA) came back to win against the Truman Bulldogs in five sets 12-25, 10-25, 25-17, 25-22, 20-18.

Truman (6-5, 1-1 GLVC) held Central Missouri to only 12 points in the first set, leading the Jennies for the entire set. The Jennies came close to catching Truman at 6-5, but Truman went on to win 16 points while allowing the Jennies to win only one point from a kill by Maddie Jones.

No. 6 Nebraska-Kearney

Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team plays another non-MIAA match this week when they travel to South Dakota Mines on Friday.

Earlier this month, UNK (12-1) swept SD M & T (-15, -15, -18) in the New Victorian Inn & Suites Fall Classic at the Health & Sports Center. Seniors Ashley Leitner (12 kills & .282 attack pct.) and Ellie Pesavento (12 kills & .600 attack pct.) paced the offense with junior Liz McGowan having 20 digs as a libero.

No. 7 Angelo State

Angelo State returns to the road this weekend with matches at Incarnate Word and Texas A&M-Kingsville after securing two Lone Star Conference wins last weekend.

The Belles (8-2, 2-0 LSC) start the weekend with a non-conference match against UIW (4-4, 0-2 Southland) at the McDermott Convocation Center before returning to LSC play on Saturday against the Javelinas (7-6, 1-1 LSC) at Hampton Inn Court.

ASU is ranked seventh in the nation through three weeks of the season, the highest-ranking in program history. The Belles are 2-2 on the road this season with wins against then No. 3 Nebraska-Kearney and Metro State at the Colorado Premier Challenge in Denver. ASU's losses came against No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul and No. 9 Southwest Minnesota State in gold bracket matches at the tournament.

No. 8 Wayne State (Neb.)

Wayne State will begin the weekend by playing Minot State on Friday and Mary on homecoming Saturday. The Wildcats are ranked No. 8 in the nation and are 9-1 on the season (1-1 NSIC), the Beavers are 5-6 overall (1-1 NSIC) and the Marauders are 3-6 on the year (0-2 NSIC).

No. 9 Southwest Minnesota State

Southwest Minnesota State continues Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action at home with matches versus Northern State and Minnesota State Moorhead on Friday and Saturday. This past week the Mustangs went 3-0 in their first NSIC matches of the season and opened up their 11-match home schedule with a 3-1 win against No. 8 Wayne State.

No. 10 UC San Diego

In a busy week of CCAA action, UCSD plays at Cal State Stanislaus Friday and at league-leading Chico State Saturday. 

On Wednesday night, Danielle Dahle had a match-high 19 kills, but it wasn't enough as the 10th-ranked UC San Diego women's volleyball team was defeated in four sets by No. 20 Cal State San Bernardino.

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