A Look Back at 2012
Coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011, the CSS volleyball team would fall a match short of that mark in 2012, losing in the UMAC Tournament Championship at Northwestern College. The Saints finished with a 17-13 record and were second in the conference with an 11-3 mark. On the season's opening day, head coach Dana Moore reached a milestone, recording her 300th coaching victory at CSS when the team defeated St. Lawrence University in New York.
CSS was led by senior Anna Zyvoloski (Sauk Rapids, Minn./St. Cloud Cathedral HS (Minn.-Duluth)), who was named the UMAC Player of the Year for the second straight season and earned second team American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American status. That is the highest NCAA honor ever bestowed in program history.
In only three years in a CSS uniform, Zyvoloski finished fourth all-time with 1,445 career kills and 1,668.5 points. She finished with the most kills (4.18) and points (4.82) per set in program history. Including her 322 kills in her one season at Minnesota-Duluth, Zyvoloski finished with 1,767 kills in her collegiate career. Who Returns The Saints will return just four players that played at least 80 sets last season.
Leading the returnees will be sophomore outside hitter Kortney Morrin (Grantsburg, Wis./Grantsburg HS (Northern State)), who was an honorable mention All-UMAC selection in her first season in a CSS uniform last year. Morrin finished second on the team with 186 kills and was third in points (195.5).
CSS will also return junior setter Erika Birkeland (Prior Lake, Minn./Prior Lake HS). Birkeland finished third in the league with 901 assists. Senior Kayla Horbacz (Isanti, Minn./Cambridge-Isanti HS) will also be back after accumulating 100 kills for the first time in her career last season. Sophomore Danielle Benusa (Shakopee, Minn./Shakopee HS) and junior Tannyr Heyl (Blaine, Minn./Blaine HS (Saint Benedict)) will look to maintain the back row for the Saints, while Coach Moore will look to get more out of sophomores Jen Hortness (Little Falls, Minn./Little Falls HS) and Gloria Ohaju (Duluth, Minn./Duluth Central HS) up front.
As of now, the 2013 recruiting class for Coach Moore features six incoming freshmen and one transfer. The incoming freshmen are Alex Barsody of Onamia, Nicole Wiebe of Ashland, Nikki Kienzle of Hermantown, Emily Jansen from Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Rachel Harmston from Cook and Noelle Elvehjem from Mora. Barsody, who is the younger sister of former Saint Amy Thompson, was named the 2012 Great River Conference MVP and is a two-time team MVP as a defensive specialist.
Kienzle is the younger sister of recently graduated Jenny Kienzle (Hermantown, Minn./Hermantown HS). Nikki was the middle blocker for the conference champion Hermantown Hawks in the fall. Elvehjem was named the conference's offensive player of the year in 2012 and was a two-time all-conference selection. Elvehjem was part of the Mora squad that made the state tournament last fall.
The one transfer in this class is Grantsburg native Emily Cole, who has played the last two years across the bridge at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Cole, a setter, had 166 assists her freshman season at UWS and was more defensive last season with 252 digs.
The volleyball team will be the first sport to kickoff competition in the fall when it takes part in the St. Olaf Tournament on Friday, August 30th vs. Macalester College. CSS will also face Carleton College in that tournament. The next day, the Saints will head over to Winona to face UW-La Crosse and Saint Mary's. The following week, the Saints will make the trek to the Great Northwest when they take part in the Whitworth Tournament in Spokane, Wash.
There, CSS will face Concordia University (Texas), Saint Benedict, Whitworth and Whitman (Wash.). CSS will face St. Ben's again the following weekend in St. Joseph, before starting conference play against defending UMAC champion Northwestern on Friday, September 20th. Important conference home matches to keep an eye on include the September 29th contest vs. Minnesota Morris, the October 5th matchup vs. Martin Luther and the October 25th showdown with Northwestern. The Saints begin preseason camp on Saturday, August 17th.