IIAC Preview Selects Spartans 7th

Aug 17, 2012 | Iowa Conference

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Wartburg College, which finished second in the league race last season with no seniors on its roster, is the unanimous pick of the coaches to win the 2012 Iowa Conference volleyball title. The Knights received all seven available first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own teams) for 56 points. 

Defending champion Coe College, which swept through the league schedule after being picked sixth in last year’s poll, received Wartburg’s first-place vote, was the number two pick on five ballots and took third on another to rank second in this year’s poll with 49 points.
Perennial IIAC contender Central College ranks third with 42 points just ahead of Loras College. The Duhawks, with a pair of second-place votes, are fourth with 37 points. The complete 2012 IIAC Volleyball Coaches’ Poll follows.

New Coaches:  Lori Slight is the new coach at Buena Vista, replacing Heather Noll. Slight spent the last five years in the prep ranks at Creston (2010-2011) and Sioux City Bishop Heelan (2007-2009). She also has seven years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level, spending four years at Des Moines Area Community College (1999-2002) followed by three at NCAA Division II Northwest Missouri State (2003-05). Slight was also an assistant at Buena Vista for two seasons (1996-97).

2012 Schedule:  The 2012 schedule opens Friday, August 31 with all eight schools in tournament action. Buena Vista opens at the Northwestern (Minn.) Invitational, Central is at the Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational, Coe and Loras are at the Augustana (Ill.) Invitational, Dubuque is at the Beloit (Wis.) Buc Blast, Luther and Simpson are at the Saint Mary’s (Minn.) Sugar Loaf Classic, and Wartburg opens at the Wittenberg (Ohio) National Invitational. The 2012 Iowa Conference schedule opens Tuesday, September 11, with Central hosting Wartburg. The rest of the Conference gets underway the following day with three matches – Luther hosting Coe, Simpson at Buena Vista and Dubuque venturing across town to face rival Loras.
Conference Tournament:  The top six teams following the regular season round-robin schedule qualify for the 2012 Iowa Conference Tournament with an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament on the line.  The IIAC Tournament is October 31, November 1 and 3, which each match hosted by the higher seed.

University of Dubuque Spartans 16-18 overall, 3-5 IIAC (tie-sixth)

Head Coach: April Elsbernd (4th season) Record at School (yrs): 31-61 (3) Career Record (yrs): 31-61 (3)

IIAC Titles (last): 2 (1995) IIAC Tourney Titles (last): 2 (1995)

Starters returning/lost – 4 / 3 Letterwinners returning/lost – 8 / 4 All-IIAC players returning – 0 All-IIAC hon. mention returning – 0

Dubuque returns four starters and eight letter winners from last season’s 16-18 team that tied for sixth in the Conference with a 3-5 league mark. The Spartans will be led by senior outside hitter Susie Danielewski. Danielewski appeared in 90 sets last season, posting 70 digs, 22 service aces, 73 digs and 39 total blocks. She ranked third on the team in blocks and fifth in aces.

Sophomore setter Meggie Schmidt appeared in all 128 sets last season, ranking second on the team in assists (450), digs (330) and service aces (24). In league play, she averaged 2.97 digs per set to rank 10th in the IIAC. Fellow sophomore Amy Tranel appeared in 46 sets at middle blocker, posting 68 kills, 25 digs and 21 blocks.

Dubuque head coach April Elsbernd says, "After losing significant starters from last year's squad, [Dubuque volleyball] looks to rebuild and continue establishing the program in 2012 with a promising group of freshman. Wartburg will be the heavy favorite to win conference, but the rest of the field may be wide open. Many teams will challenge for the top few spots, which should provide a lot of competitive and exciting matches throughout the season.”

School (1st place votes)
2011 Record
Wartburg (7)
24-11, 7-1 IIAC
Coe (1)
31-4, 8-0 IIAC
24-11, 4-4 IIAC
10-23, 4-4 IIAC
17-14, 2-6 IIAC
14-18, 3-5 IIAC
16-18, 3-5 IIAC
Buena Vista
9-23, 0-8 IIAC