They host Concordia-St. Paul, Minnesota State University

Minnesota Crookston is back in action this weekend for their home opening weekend against perennial powers Concordia-St. Paul and Minnesota State. The early tests isnt anything new this season for the Golden Eagles. Last weekend, the Golden Eagles did battle with two ranked opponents in Michigan Tech and Wheeling University. Although the Golden Eagles lost both of those matches, the quality of opponents set up the Golden Eagles well for their daunted NSIC schedule. In the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, the NSIC has eight programs ranked in the top twenty-five. Minnesota Crookston will see two of them in the upcoming weeks and it starts with 6th-ranked Concordia-St. Paul. The Golden Eagles are 2-6 early on in the young season.

• SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK. Porsha Porath has been the go-to player so far this season for the Golden Eagles. Porath leads the team with 108 kills on 364 total attacks through eight matches. Through eight matches a season ago, Porath had 62 kills and finished with 147. Porath’s strong start earned her back-to-back All-Tournament teams. The Windom, Minn., was named to the Best Western Kelly Inn Huskies Classic All-Tournament team, a week after being named to the Keweenaw Classic All-Tournament team. Porath collected 63 kills over the weekend, including a career-high 23 in a five set win over South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

• SHE NEEDS NO SHOVEL. Defensive specialist Katie Lienemann has been exactly that this season. The junior from Rosemount, Minn., has been outstanding in the back row early on. Lienemann has collected 95 digs on the season and a recieve percentage of .893. To go along with her 95 digs, which leads the team, she has also collected 33 assists, which is third on the team. Lienemann will look to continue her stellar play against two of the top offensive teams in the conference this weekend.

• LIFT OF LYSAKER. Over the summer, Lysaker Gymnasium got a big makeover in terms of brand new bleachers. The old bleachers have been in beautiful Lysaker Gymnasium since 1981, so the look of new bleachers is a welcome sight. Fans will now see new maroon bleachers with seat backs on one side and “M Crookston” and the Golden Eagle logo on the other side of the gym. Friday’s game against Concordia-St. Paul will be the very first Minnesota Crookston athletics event in the gym since the bleachers were done.

• CAN’T TOUCH THIS. Minnesota Crookston has been really good at winning battles at the net. Minnesota Crookston has 67.5 blocks on the season, but what they have done attacking might be even more impressive. The Golden Eagles are first in the conference in allowing opponent blocks. Minnesota Crookston opponent’s only have 28 blocks on the season and have averaged .85 blocks per set.

• ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM. Sophomore outside hitter Porsha Porath showed glimpses last season of being a very good player in the future for head coach Sarah Rauen. This past weekend, Porath proved that those glimpses weren’t just a flash in the pan. The Windom, Minn., native collected 45 kills on 179 attacks on her way to the Keweenaw Classic All-Tournament team. Porath collected double-digit kills in three of the four games, including a season-high 16 against the Wildcats of Northern Michigan. Last season, Porath finished the season with 147 kills through 28 matches and she is well on her way to that mark this season.

• NAT ATTACK. Redshirt freshman Natalie Koke is having a solid first season in the maroon and gold. The Caledonia, Wis., native is giving the teams a different look. Koke has 59 assists on the team, which puts her second behind Sydney Kruisselbrink’s 182. Koke has double-digit assists in three out of her five matches she has played in, including a season and career high 17 in a four-set loss to Lake Superior State last Friday afternoon.

• PUT TO THE TEST. Minnesota Crookston has been to the test early on this season. The Golden Eagles have not only played two ranked opponents through eight matches, one of whom, they have played twice, but they have played in four five-set matches this season. That is one more than they have played last season, where the Golden Eagles were 1-2 in those matches last season. This season, Minnesota Crookston is 2-2 in five set matches. It has been an early test for Sarah Rauen and her team, but it might set up the Golden Eagles well in the NSIC, which might be the best conference in all of division II.

Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles
Head Coach: Sarah Rauen
Record at UMC: 13-51 Season at UMC: Third Season

Concordia-St. Paul at Minnesota Crookston
Date: Fri., Sep. 20
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Live Stats:

MSU Mankato at Minnesota Crookston
Date: Sat., Sep. 21
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Live Stats:
Alumni Day

CONCORDIA-ST. PAUL. The Golden Bears come into Crookston riding high after winning four straight matches. During the four match winning streak, CSP defeated No. 11 Ferris State and No. 15 Southwest Minnesota State at the Colorado Premier Challenge. CSP also played Tampa University, who was the number one team in the nation, but fell in four sets.

 NINEASTY. The Golden Bears are the premier program in all of division II. CSP has a whopping nine titles dating back to their first NCAA title over Western Washington in 2007. The Golden Bears have been so dominant, they have lost only six sets in their nine title game appearances, including two five-set thrillers. One of those five-set thrillers happened in the Ganglehoff Center happened against CSU Bernardino and was the second of the nine titles. Concordia-St. Paul’s 7-straight championships is an NCAA Volleyball record across all three divisions.

STARKEY KNOWS SUCCESS. The Golden Bears have been under the direction of one man for 17 seasons. Starkey’s first season was in 2003 and although CSP didn’t win their first National title in 2007, Starkey led the Golden Bears to four straight 30-win seasons prior to his first National Championship. Starkey is 529-60 in his 17 seasons and is three-time AVCA Coach of the Year.

1-2 PUNCH. This season through eight games, Erin Fallert and Jasmine Mulvihill have formed a dynamic duo attacking. Fallert leads the team with 101 kills, while Mulvihill is second with 98. Mulvihill, a freshman from Lakeville, Minn., has not had to adjust very much to college Volleyball, collecting a season and career high 17 kills against Regis in just her seventh career game. The freshman-junior duo will look to continue their strong start this weekend.

MINNESOTA STATE. The Mavericks have started fast in the 2019 season. Coming off of an 18-11 season and a NSIC quarterfinal loss to Northern State, the Mavericks are looking to return to the NSIC playoffs and are off to a good start at 7-1. The Mavericks’ only setback was at the hands of No. 16 Barry University.

ATTACK. Through eight matches, there is one number that stands out for the Mavericks. The Mavericks have an attack percentage of .280, which is almost 100 points better than their opponents. The only opponent to have an attacking percentage of .300 was Saint Leo, who hit .309. In a match last weekend, MSU held Tiffin to just a .016 attack percentage, while hitting .283 in that match.

AWESOME ALIVIA. A big part of the attack percentage for the Mavericks has been junior outside hitter Alivia Garbe. The Maplewood, Minn., native leads the Mavericks with 112 kills and is second with a .326 hitting percentage.

DANA’S DIARY. Dana Schindler sits in seventh in the conference with 264 assists and 10.15 assists per set. Schindler set a season high of 57 assists back on Sept. 6 against Saint Leo. The sophomore from Carver, Minn., is well on her way to an outstanding second season for MSU Mankato.