DUNBAR, Wis. - Northland International University women's volleyball team enters the last three weeks of its season with a stretch of home matches.
"We have been on the road for 90 percent of the season to this point," NIU Coach Dave Herron said. "While we have spent a lot of time getting to know each other it has yet to transfer onto the court. It has been hard to make tactical adjustments with the technical abilities we don't have. The effort is there but we have been inconsistent on execution."
NIU (5-15 record) is at the edge of setting a new school team mark for losses. The Pioneers are very young with seven of 10 players that are true freshmen, and two of the seven with any quality high school experience.
"The challenges have been great and the team works hard in practice but they are having difficulty with consistency in production," Herron said.
Beth Braker, one of two seniors, leads the team in attacking percentage at 14.31 and averaging 2.1 kills per set. Valerie Stauff is right behind with a 12.2 percent attacking average and a 2.0 kill per set mark.
Abi Conover and Catherine Dyer top the team on defense averaging 4.8 and 4.6 digs, respectively, per set.
Olivia Smith is the setter and averages 8.4 assists per set. Liz Humburg also contributes 2.1 kills and 3.4 digs per set. Chelsea Behn, another senior, contributes at the middle hitter and right side hitter positions.
"We have to deal with the obvious. We can't deny it, dismiss it or down the people we are involved in it with," Herron said. "We will continue to work and make the effort to improve. Players must take ownership of their production and coaches will place players where it is felt they can contribute."
NIU hosts UW-Marinette on Tuesday. They also play other home matches this month before before heading to the MWR tourney at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Mich.