It's a big week of matches for the Buena Vista volleyball team with its first two home contests of the season, starting tonight with the home opener against Grinnell College inside of Siebens Fieldhouse. Thursday, the Beavers open up Iowa Conference play by hosting Nebraska Wesleyan in a JV/V showdown.
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About Grinnell: The Pioneers dropped their first two matches of the year to UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse, respectively, but have since gone on to win five straight entering tonight's non-conference tilt. Three of those five were sweeps.
Offensively, the team is registering just over 11.0 kills/set with an attack percentage of .198. It's also been tough on the defensive side, averaging 1.3 blocks/set and right at 15.0 digs/set. The team has been tough in the middle sets of its matches in the early part of the year, winning the second and third sets each five times in seven matches.
Olivia Jensen and Emma Willhardt have been the leaders at the net, offensively, turning in 2.92 and 2.74 kills/set, respectively. Jensen, who has 136 total attempts, is registering a kill in over half of those (73) while committing just 12 errors. Willhardt has been equally as effective with a .329 attack percentage over a team-high 143 attempts. Jensen is also one of four players with at least 10 service aces. Margaret Giles has dished out 226 assists and is also third in digs. Defensively, Deanna Taylor is averaging better than 4.0 digs/set while Willhardt as 14 total blocks to lead the way.
Nebraska Wesleyan: The Prairie Wolves are off to a strong 6-2 start to the year entering the week and will next take the court for Thursday's IIAC opener here in Storm Lake. The team hosted the Prairie Wolf Tournament this past weekend where it fell in three sets to UW-Platteville before rolling off three straight wins to finish things off. Included in that stretch was a thrilling 3-2 victory over Simpson College in what was a non-conference match between league foes. As a team, the Prairie Wolves are averaging 11.4 kills/set and have been led thus far by Kiera Harder's 2.79 kills/set. NWU was picked to finish fourth in the IIAC this season after going 15-14, 5-3 IIAC in its debut in the league a year ago. Harder is among three starters that return from last season's team which placed third.
About Buena Vista: The Beavers look to extend their three-match win streak when it enters Tuesday night's home opener after going a perfect 3-0 at the Prairie Wolf Invite at Nebraska Wesleyan this past weekend - dropping just one set.
A pair of senior returning starters have helped lead the way offensively in the early going. Jade Schaap, who went past 1,500 career kills in Saturday's opening match against UW-Platteville, is currently second in the Iowa Conference, averaging 4.08 kills/set. She's third on the team in service aces and tied for second in total blocks. Grein, meanwhile, is averaging 3.00 kills/set which is seventh in the IIAC. Her 0.56 service aces/set leads the team and is fourth in the league. Jamie Navinskey is second in aces (11) and in digs (87) while also ranking third in kills (36). Summer Goss is in her first season as the team's starting setter and is leading the way early on with 8.88 assists/set.
Defensively, Kylie Roe has become one of the team's defensive specialists and is currently second in the IIAC, averaging 4.95 digs/set. She is also among the leaders in ace serves with eight. Serena Sandvig leads the team and is fifth in the conference in blocks/set (0.92)
BVU enters Tuesday's home opener with a 13-5 overall home record over the last three years.
Looking Ahead: The Beavers will conclude its busy week by taking part in the Wartburg College Tournament Friday & Saturday in Waverly. Five teams will be taking part in the two-day event, and BVU will play three matches total, starting with a Friday night meeting with Waldorf at 7:30pm.