The Golden Eagles will play 20 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) games, and eight non-conference tilts.

CROOKSTON, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball program officially released their 2019 schedule Mon., June 24. The Golden Eagles will play 20 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) games, and eight non-conference tilts. Minnesota Crookston’s NSIC slate includes five games against opponents that finished in the top 10 of the 2018 AVCA Division II Poll as they go up against the best competition in all of NCAA Division II volleyball. The Golden Eagles will play two games against Concordia University-St. Paul, who has won the NCAA Division II title nine times in the past 12 seasons.

    Minnesota Crookston will play 10 matches, with their home opener Fri., Sept. 20 against Concordia-St. Paul at 6 p.m., at the recently renovated Lysaker Gymnasium.

    “We are very excited for the 2019 season, where we will face a variety of opponents who will challenge us each week,” said Head Coach Sarah Rauen. “Our non-conference games will provide us with opportunities to battle teams that we do not see yearly, and will prepare us well for the extremely competitive NSIC. We know each weekend in the NSIC will be a challenge and I can't wait to see how our team takes on each opponent with the experience we gained last season.”

    The Golden Eagles will head to a pair of non-conference tournaments this season in Houghton, Mich., and St. Cloud, Minn. Minnesota Crookston will play eight games the first two weeks against strong competition.

    Minnesota Crookston opens their non-conference slate at the Keweenaw Volleyball Classic by Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Fri., Sept. 6. The Golden Eagles will play four games at SDC Gym on the campus of Michigan Tech University in Houghton, Mich.

    The Golden Eagles commence the season Fri., Sept. 6 at 12 p.m. C.T., against University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Minnesota Crookston will open their season for the second-consecutive year against the Rangers, as they upended Wisconsin-Parkside 3-1 to open the 2018 slate. The Parkside Rangers posted an 8-21 mark on the 2018 campaign. They are in their second season under Head Coach Leigh Barea.

    Minnesota Crookston continues the day Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. C.T., as they take on the host institution Michigan Tech. The Huskies went 23-7 and made the 2018 NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the first round of the regional to Lewis University. The Huskies are in their eighth season under Matt Jennings.

    The Golden Eagles will then face Lake Superior State as they begin the second day of the Keweenaw Volleyball Classic by Country Inn & Suites by Radisson. The match will begin at 12 p.m. Sat., Sept. 7. The Lakers went 5-22 on the 2018 slate. They are in their second season under Head Coach Dave Schmidlin.

    The second day in Houghton, Mich., continues at 4 p.m., with their final match of the tournament as the Golden Eagles face Northern Michigan University. The Wildcats put up a record of 16-11 on the 2018 campaign. Northern Michigan is in their third season under Head Coach Mike Lozier.

    The second weekend of the season, Minnesota Crookston will head in-state to St. Cloud, Minn., for the St. Cloud State Invite at Halenbeck Hall. The Golden Eagles open the tournament against a strong opponent in Wheeling Jesuit University, who won the NCAA Division II crown in 2015. The Cardinals were a No. 1 seed in their region last season. Wheeling Jesuit went an impressive 37-4 on the 2018 season, losing to Lewis in the national quarterfinal in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Cardinals are in their 18th season under Christy Benner. The match with Wheeling Jesuit will begin at 9 a.m. Fri., Sept. 14.

    Day one of the St. Cloud State Invite continues at 1:30 p.m. Sat., Sept. 15, as Minnesota Crookston faces off with Lake Superior State for the second time in 2019.

    The Golden Eagles will open up the second day with another familiar opponent as they take on Michigan Tech at 11 a.m., in St. Cloud, Minn.

    Minnesota Crookston concludes the St. Cloud State Invite at 5 p.m., versus South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. South Dakota Mines went 4-24 during the 2018 slate. The Hardrockers are in their second season under Lauren Torvi.

    The Golden Eagles will begin NSIC play and their home slate Fri., Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. against Concordia-St. Paul. Golden Bears are one of the best programs in NCAA Division II volleyball, winning nine of the last 12 National Championships. Concordia-St. Paul went 24-9 on the 2018 season, making it to the NCAA Central Region Championship in Kearney, Mo. The Golden Bears are in their 17th season being led by Brady Starkey.

    Minnesota Crookston will then host Minnesota State University Sat., Sept. 21 at 3 p.m., at Lysaker Gymnasium. The Mavericks went 18-11 in 2018. Minnesota State is in their fifth season under Lori Rittenhouse-Wollmuth.

    The Golden Eagles will trek to Fayette, Iowa for their first NSIC road test of the 2019 season. Minnesota Crookston will take on Upper Iowa University Fri., Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. The Peacocks posted an 18-11 mark in 2018. Upper Iowa is coached by Aaron Nelson, who is in his ninth season. Nelson is a former assistant coach for the Golden Eagles.

    The road weekend for Minnesota Crookston continues Sat., Sept. 28 at 2 p.m., when the Golden Eagles will face Winona State University at 2 p.m., in Winona, Minn. The Warriors went 13-15 during the 2018 slate. They are in their sixth season under Head Coach Joe Getzin.

    The Golden Eagles will have their second-straight road weekend beginning Fri., Oct. 4 at 6 p.m., as they take on 2018 NCAA Tournament team Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. The Wolves went 26-5 last season and made it to the first round of the NCAA Central Regional. Northern State is in their ninth season under Head Coach Brent Aldridge.

    Minnesota Crookston wraps up their four-game road excursion Sat., Oct. 6 with a match at 4 p.m., versus Minnesota State University Moorhead. The Dragons posted an 11-16 mark on the 2018 season. MSU Moorhead is in their 25th season under Head Coach Tammy Blake.

    The Golden Eagles return home for a two-game home stand beginning Fri., Oct. 11 at 6 p.m., against University of Mary. The Marauders finished 2018 with a 4-24 record. UMary is in their second season under Korie Tetzlaff.

    Minnesota Crookston will then host Minot State University Sat., Oct. 12 at 3 p.m., at Lysaker Gymnasium. The Beavers went 13-17 last season under Head Coach Dana Cordova.

    The Golden Eagles wrap up their home stand Tues., Oct. 15 at 6 p.m., versus St. Cloud State. The Huskies went 15-11 last season. St. Cloud State is in their fifth season being led by Head Coach Chad Braegelmann.

    Minnesota Crookston hits the road again beginning Fri., Oct. 18 at 6 p.m., against University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Cougars went 20-10 during the 2018 slate. They are in their ninth season under Head Coach Joel McCartney.

    The Golden Eagles will take on 2018 NSIC Tournament participant Southwest Minnesota State University Sat., Oct. 19 at 2 p.m., in Marshall, Minn. The Mustangs went 23-9 last season, losing in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional to Concordia-St. Paul. Southwest Minnesota State is in their 16th season under Terry Culhane.

    Minnesota Crookston returns to Lysaker Gymnasium for their second three-game home stand. The Golden Eagles will host Wayne State College Fri., Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. The Wildcats posted a 22-9 mark in 2018. St. Cloud State is in their 15th season under Head Coach Scott Kneifl.

    The Golden Eagles remain at home Sat., Oct. 26 to take on Augustana University at 3 p.m. The Vikings went 10-18 last season. The Vikings are in their third season under Jennifer Jacobs.

    Minnesota Crookston will wrap up their home stand Thurs., Oct. 31 against Bemidji State University, located just 88 miles down U.S. Highway 2. The Beavers went 6-22 in 2018. Bemidji State is in their fourth season being led by Kevin Ulmer.

    The Golden Eagles will then hit the road again as they take on 2018 NCAA Tournament participant University of Minnesota Duluth Sat., Nov. 2 at 4 p.m., in Duluth, Minn. The Bulldogs went 28-6 during the 2018 slate, making it all the way to the NCAA Division II Central Region semifinals. UMD is in their 18th season under Head Coach Jim Boos.

    Minnesota Crookston will remain on the road for a match Tues., Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., against St. Cloud State University, for their second match of the season against the Huskies.

    The Golden Eagles return home Fri., Nov. 8 at 6 p.m., as they take on Upper Iowa for the second time on the 2019 campaign.

    Minnesota Crookston will conclude their 2019 home slate Sat., Nov. 9 at 3 p.m., with their second tilt of the season against Winona State.

    The Golden Eagles will make their final regular-season road excursion starting Fri., Nov. 15. Minnesota Crookston will take Concordia-St. Paul for the second time in 2019 at 6 p.m., in St. Paul, Minn.

    The 2019 regular-season will conclude with a match Sat., Nov. 16 at 2 p.m., versus Minnesota State in Mankato, Minn.

    The Golden Eagles will look to improve on a 4-24 mark in 2018 as they have a great core of talent returning for the 2019 season. The 2019 slate will be the third season under the leadership of Head Coach Sarah Rauen. Minnesota Crookston lost only one starter from the 2018 season as the rest of their leaders return.

    Offensively, the Golden Eagles return Deaira Gresham (Jr., OH, Maplewood, Minn.), who led the team with 2.77 kills per set. Porsha Porath (So., OH, Windom, Minn.) also is back after notching 2.23 kills per set in her first season with the Golden Eagles. Minnesota Crookston also returns Kaitlin Sikkink (R-Sr., MH, St. Charles, Minn.), who notched 1.62 kills per set and 0.59 blocks per set. Sabrina Leuer (R-Sr., OH, Hamel, Minn.) notched 1.80 kills per set last season, while Lauren Wallace (R-So., MH/OH, Bloomington, Minn.) tallied 1.13 kills and 0.36 blocks per set.

    At setter, Sydney Kruisselbrink (Jr., S, Rochester, Minn.) returns after tallying 7.50 assists per set as a sophomore. Natalie Koke (R-Fr., S, Kenosha, Wis.) will also compete for time after redshirting last season.

    Defensively, Ali Schueler (R-Sr., DS/Lib., Howards Grove, Wis.) is back after notching 3.35 digs per set. Also back is Katie Lienemann (Jr., DS/Lib., Rosemount, Minn.), who notched 2.60 digs per set.

    The Golden Eagles also return Meli Rodriguez (Sr., MH, Sarchi, Costa Rica), who tallied 0.48 blocks per set. Alyssa Thomas (R-Jr., DS, Marion, Iowa) notched 1.41 digs per set, while Hannah Stark (So., OH, Esko, Minn.) saw action in 29 sets last season.

    Minnesota Crookston will also have three newcomers in 2019 with freshman Shelby Dunbar (MH, Fertile, Minn.), Bailey Mulcahy (DS, Fertile, Minn.), and Abbie Peterson (MH, Princeton, Minn.).