Coming off of a down year where the Minnesota State Mavs volleyball team went 6-22, they enter their 2023 season ranked no. 10 of 15 teams in the NSIC Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
With nine home matches on their schedule this season, the Mavs are playing 17 games on the road this season, including two tournaments in different states.
Junior outside hitter Elizabeth Dille was named the Mavs’ Player to Watch this season. Dille played in 18 of the Mavs’ 28 matches last season and appeared in 56 sets where she recorded 98 kills, 90 digs, 11 service aces and nine blocks. Last season’s leading scorer, senior Sophie Tietz will also be returning this season. The right-side hitter scored 290 of the team’s points in 2023.
Also returning is Mavs’ head coach Corey Phelps. In his two full seasons as head coach, Phelps has a 20-36 record. Phelps previously spent 2019 as an assistant coach and served a year and a half as the interim head coach before his promotion in June of 2021.
Phelps also brought in five new players during the early signing period in December. Skylar Walters, Avery Rosenberg, Caitlin McCormack, Kendall White, and Elise Jensen will bring depth to the Mavs this season as the newest members of the team.
Their first eight games will be in the Otter Volleyball Invitational and Tiger Classic tournaments. The Otter Volleyball Invitational will be held in Seaside, California from Aug. 31-Sept. 2, where the Mavs will play four total games against Northwest Nazarene, Westmont College, CSU Monterey Bay and Dominican. A week later, the Mavs will head over to Kansas for the Tiger Classic, again playing four games, this time against Cameron University, Southern Nazarene, New Mexico Highlands and Fort Hays State.
When it comes to NSIC opponents, the Mavs are a streaky team. There are two teams in particular where the stats are severely in one team’s favor, historically. They currently are on a 20-match win streak against the University of Mary, dating back to 2006. This season, they will face UMary twice, Sept. 29 and Nov. 4. On the other end of the spectrum, Concordia St. Paul has had MSU’s number recently. In their past 16 matchups, going back to 2014, CSP has stacked up those 16 wins to make their record against the Mavs 34-4 all-time.
The season creeps closer every day, and with some players and games to watch out for, this Mavs team has nowhere to go but up. Their season will begin Thursday, Aug. 31, at the Otter Volleyball Invitational at 6 p.m.
Header Photo: The Mavs have grown a lot since the days of wearing masks during games, but only time will tell how their growth will translate. (File Photo)
Write to Hayden Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org