The Waldorf Unversity Volleyball team found out recently that they were the underdogs in the North Star Athletic Association, according to the coaches.
The NSAA releases polls before each sports season, where other coaches pick who they think will finish where in the conference. Waldorf received the least amount of votes. The coaches also aren’t permitted from places themselves.
Viterbo, located in Wisconsin, was selected as the team to beat for the seventh consecutive season. The V-Hawks received seven first-place votes and 63 total points. Last year, after they were predicted as the top team, Viterbo was uprooted by Bellevue University in Nebraska. The Bruins won their first-ever league regular-season title with a 12-2 record. Though they lost the regular-season title, the V-Hawks were able to snag the tournament title for a sixth straight season.
Both the V-Hawks and Bruins advanced to the NAIA National Volleyball Tournament, and both won their opening-round games to advance to the final site, where they were eliminated.
The conference decided to play half of their conference games in the fall and half in the spring before the national tournament. This decision was made due to a COVID-19 change by the NAIA. The governing body thought to move the national tournament, allowing for more time for COVID-19 research.
The Warriors finished 2-12 in the NSAA and 4-15 overall and ended their season with a conference tournament loss to the Bruins. Waldorf received a total of 14, which was four points behind seventh-place finisher Presentation College.
The Warriors were young a year ago, and they rostered just one senior, and the rest were freshman and sophomores. A possibility for Waldorf low rank could be the fact that they will again be young. Three juniors will be the oldest on the team, followed by a host of sophomores and seven new freshmen for fifth-year head coach Bri Ebenhoe. The roster also includes former Forest City prep Emma Hovenga who is in her second year with the team. Waldorf will open the season at the Briar Cliff tournament against the 10th ranked team in the country, Northwestern College (Iowa), on August 27th. The Warriors will open at home on September 7th against Faith Baptist Bible College.
The full coaches poll is below.
|2021 NSAA Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Poll|
|Rank||The schools (First-Place Votes in parenthesis)||Points|
|1||Viterbo (Wis.) (7)||63|
|2||Bellevue (Neb.) (1)||57|
|3||Dakota State (S.D.)||45|
|4||Mayville State (N.D.)||42|
|5||Dickinson State (N.D.)||26|
|6||Valley City State (N.D.)||23|