The Minnesota State volleyball team is coming off a two sweep weekend, and will look to extend it in one of their toughest weekends of the season where they will take on Augustana and No. 5 Wayne State.
The NSIC is filled with top of the nation volleyball teams, and they will face another in Wayne State this weekend, but first up is Augustana.
Augustana has the lead in the series dating back to 1992, winning 31 of the 47 meetings between the two squads. The Mavericks have won two of the last three meetings, but were swept last time heading out to Sioux Falls.
While the Mavericks (10-7, 5-4 NSIC) sit middle of the pack at ninth in the NSIC, Augustana (12-5, 7-2 NSIC) is tied for fourth with just two conference play losses.
Augustana’s defense is what shines through for the Vikings and gets them wins. Augustana is second in the NSIC in blocks, averaging 2.40/set, just behind Concordia-St. Paul who is at 2.43.
The Vikings are also fourth in the conference in digs, having a total of 966, averaging 15.33/set.
The Mavericks will really have to step up their offense if they want to come out of this matchup with a win.
With that being said, head coach Corey Phelps isn’t too worried.
“It’s going to be a great weekend, and despite their records, I like our chances,” Phelps said. “I think that we match up well against Augustana,” Phelps said.
“We played them in the spring (in an exhibition match) and played great at their place,” Phelps went on to say about their recent performance.
Wayne State on the other hand, will be a tad tougher.
Wayne is ranked at No. 5 in the Division II Coaches Poll with a 15-2 (8-1 NSIC), and deservedly so. Wayne State’s two losses came against No. 14 St. Cloud State, and No. 2 MSU Denver in a five game set.
Wayne State College is comfortably second in the NSIC standings, and have a chance to move up to the top spot when they take on No. 7 Concordia-St. Paul the night before traveling to Mankato. The Golden Bears sit atop the NSIC standings with a 15-3 (9-0 NSIC) record.
“We haven’t seen Wayne in two years, they’re always tough,” Phelps said.
Wayne is riding an eight game win streak without dropping a set in that span.
When asked about what the focus is on this week in practice, Phelps was very quick to say, “Offense, all offense. Our defense and ball control is solid, we’re one of the best blocking teams and defending teams in the conference, our serving is great, we need to make sure our offense is firing on all cylinders, because if we don’t have that, we’re going to struggle against both those teams.”
Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad/The Reporter