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NCAA.com | October 10, 2013

DII VB Weekend Preview

No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul

Concordia heads to take on Wayne State (Neb.) and Augustana (S.D.) this weekend for some more NSIC action. Wayne State handed Concordia its only loss of the season in the the season-opening Holiday Inn and Suites Lake Elmo Volleyball Tournament.

Top-ranked Concordia (15-1, 7-0 NSIC) extended their NSIC regular-season winning streak to 21 matches with a sweep of the Bemidji State Beavers (5-10, 1-6 NSIC) last Saturday. Concordia remains undefeated in conference play this season and has now won 13 matches in a row overall.

No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth

Last weekend, Minnesota-Duluth earned a homecoming weekend win with a three-set sweep against Winona State, extending its home winning streak to 20 matches.

This weekend, Minnesota-Duluth will head out on the road for two away matches. First, the Bulldogs will take on Minot State in Minot, N.D., before traveling to Bismarck, N.D., to face Mary.

No. 3 Tampa

The Spartans are coming off a 3-0 week, including two tough conference matchups and emerged victorious. Tampa made quick work of previously-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic in consecutive sets, then endured a win against Saint Leo 3-2. Head coach Chris Catanach’s squad ended the week with a 3-1 victory against Eckerd to improve to 12-1 overall.

The Spartans have been in the top-25 poll for an astounding 235 consecutive polling periods, an active record behind No. 4 Central Missouri.

Continuing conference play, UT will welcome Lynn in a Friday night contest.

No. 4 Central Missouri

The Jennies will travel to Joplin, Mo. for the Missouri Southern Invitational Crossover, where they will face three non-conference teams. Friday, Central Missouri will face Arkansas Tech and Southwestern Oklahoma later that day. Saturday, the Jennies will take on Harding for the last match of the weekend. 

The Jennies were ranked No. 4 for the second week in a row in the American Volleyball Coaches' Association poll. The Jennies are the highest-ranked MIAA team. The Jennies improved to 17-0, 6-0 MIAA, after going 3-0 last week with wins against Missouri S&T, Central Oklahoma and Pittsburg State. 

No. 5 BYU-Hawaii

After completing a lengthy mainland roadtrip, BYU-Hawaii makes one last stop before returning home at Hawaii-Hilo on Saturday.

In the fourth match of the trip, BYU-Hawaii beat No. 22 Fresno Pacific in four sets (25-15, 25-23, 14-25, 25-19).  

Even though the Seasiders (12-1, 7-1) were outhit at a .279 to .259 clip, they were able to beat the Sunbirds (9-6, 4-4). Shih Ting Chen had 18 kills and 11 digs, Noel Pauga had 11 kills and Erh Fang Hsu had nine kills. Ying Chun Chen had 43 assists.

With the win, BYU-Hawaii improved to 4-0 on the road trip.

No. 6 Southwest Minnesota State

Southwest Minnesota State returns to the PE Gym to host the Winona State Warriors and Upper Iowa Peacocks in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action. The Mustangs 3-0 at home this season and haven't lost to the Warriors or Peacocks at home since 2007. The Mustangs hold a 58-29-1 all-time advantage against Winona State and a 16-0 all-time advantage against the Peacocks. Both the Warriors and Peacocks are winless on the road thus far in 2013.

Last weekend, Southwest Minnesota State swept a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opponents to improve its season record to 12-3 overall, 7-0 in the NSIC. SMSU has now swept four consecutive opponents to push its set-winning streak to 12 consecutive.

SMSU hit a season high .364 versus the Marauders and followed the performance with a .246 performance against Minot State. On Friday versus Mary, the Mustangs were led by Abbey Thissen's performance as she had 13 kills on 26 attempts (.423). On Saturday, SMSU extended its winning streak to eight consecutive matches as the Mustangs defeated Minot State in consecutive sets.

No. 7 Western Washington

Winning 11 of its first 12 matches, 10 of them sweeps, nationally-ranked Western Washington is on the road, traveling to Saint Martin's on Thursday and to Western Oregon on Saturday for a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference matches.

The Vikings, riding a four-match winning streak, moved up two spots for the fourth consecutive week to No.7 in this week's coaches' poll. The defending GNAC champions are 4-0 in league play, with Alaska Anchorage at 6-0.

The 11-1 start is WWU's best since 2008 when it began 13-0. The Vikings opened 24-1 in 2003, and 12-1 in both 1996 and 1980.

No. 8 Nebraska-Kearney

The Wildcats are 12-2 heading into a Saturday night match with Minnesota State-Moorhead.

Last Saturday, the 15th-ranked Washburn Ichabods got a big match from junior Marissa Cox and scored the final three points to beat 5th-ranked Nebraska-Kearney (-26, 17-25, -22, 22-25, -12) in Topeka, Kan. 

Washburn is now 15-3 (4-0) while the Lopers fall to 14-2 (4-1).

Last fall, UNK beat the 'Bods three times, including in five sets in Topeka. In that match, the Lopers won the fourth (-25) and fifth (-17) sets to end Washburn's 51-match home win streak.

No. 9 West Texas A&M

Following an unbeaten Lone Star Conference road trip this past weekend, the Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M have moved up to No. 9 in the newest coaches' poll. For their first competition ranked in the top 10, the Buffs will host Texas A&M-Commerce on Friday. 

The Lady Buffs went on the road this past weekend and dropped Lone Star Conference foes Tarleton State and then-No. 7 Angelo State in four sets to improve to 14-3 overall with a perfect 4-0 mark in the league. Saturday's win in San Angelo snapped a 24-match regular-season home win streak by the Belles while also pushing WT's win streak to eight matches.

No. 10 Angelo State 

Angelo State is set to play its first pair of mid-week matches of the season with Lone Star Conference contests at Texas Woman's and Texas A&M-Commerce.

The No. 10 Belles (11-3, 4-1 LSC) will start the week with a match on Tuesday against TWU (11-5, 3-1 LSC) at the Kitty Magee Arena before playing the Lions (11-3, 2-2 LSC) Wednesday at the A&M-Commerce Field House.

TWU and A&M-Commerce are both coming off losses last weekend to Texas A&M-Kingsville, while Angelo State enters the week following a four-set loss to West Texas A&M last Saturday following a sweep of Eastern New Mexico at the Junell Center.

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