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BHSU volleyball team set for national championship run, opens with first round victory

The Black Hills State University volleyball team has earned a spot in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championship Tournament. This year’s team has had an exceptional season winning the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC) and reaching the national championship tournament for the first time. On December 2-6 the tournament moves to Sioux City, Iowa, where the champion will be decided.

On Saturday, Nov. 22, BHSU defeated William Penn (Iowa) 3-2 (17-25, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11). On Dec. 2, the team begins play in Sioux City, Iowa, as one of the 24 remaining teams vying for the NAIA National Championship. In pool play the 24 teams are divided into six pools of four teams for round robin pool. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the single elimination bracket.

The Yellow Jackets are in pool A and begin play at 3:45 p.m. CST Dec. 2 against 30-0 top-ranked Fresno Pacific (Calif.). On Dec. 3, the Lady Jackets take on Morningside College (Iowa) at 6 p.m. and on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 3:45 p.m. CST the face Pointe Loma Nazarene (Calif.). The single elimination begins with the first-round contest and the quarterfinals matchups, on Dec. 5.

Jhett Albers, who has been head coach of the BHSU volleyball team since 1999, has the squad in excellent form heading into the national tournament. The team is comprised of both talented underclassmen and seasoned upperclassmen. At the Libero position is Annie Grim, senior human services major from Gregory. Kayla Haines, junior biology major from Mitchell; Kristen Engle, junior physical education major from Newcastle, Wyo.; and Kalin Engle, sophomore physical education major from Newcastle, Wyo., occupy the middle hitter positions. Ashley Wilkinson, freshman from Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Kayla Drieling, freshman biology major from Ft. Calhoun, Neb.; play the right hitter position. Lindsey Schloredt, junior psychology major from Sundance, Wyo.; Gina Geffre, freshman biology major from Pierre; and Stephanie Stull, freshman Spanish major from Colorado Springs, Colo.; play defensive specialist positions. At the outside hitter position is Maggie O'Neill, sophomore business major from Martin; Carina Sweet, junior accounting major from Rawlins, Wyo.; and Brianna Gradishar, freshman elementary major from Aurora, Colo. At the setter position is Mandy Brumfield, junior business major from Dickinson, N.D., and Katie Malin, freshman business major from Sheridan, Wyo.

Tickets for the 2008 NAIA Volleyball tournament are on sale now. Week passes are $35 for adults and $25 for students. Individual day passes are $10 for adults and $5 for students. The games can also be seen live at www.watchnaia.com.

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