THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Fri, Aug 24 Wis.-Green Bay 1:30 p.m.
Sat, Aug 25 Auburn 10:00 a.m.
Sat, Aug 25 Central Michigan 4:30 p.m.
The Drake volleyball team will start the 2012 season at the Wisconsin-Green Bay tournament and face the host in their first match Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. Two matches against Auburn and Central Michigan on Saturday, Aug. 25 will close out the tournament for Drake.
Drake is 6-2 all-time against Green Bay beating the Phoenix, 3-0 in their last matchup in 2008. Green Bay finished 11-18 in 2011 and returns five starters.
Drake is 0-1 all-time against Auburn University as the Bulldogs fell 3-1 to the Tigers at the 2000 Colorado State tournament. Auburn finished 11-19 in 2011 and returns five starters.
Drake is 0-3 all-time against Central Michigan. The Chippewas return five starters from last season's team that qualified for the NCAA tournament.
THE BULLDOGS IN 2012
Second-year head coach Tony Sunga will have a young but talented team in 2012. Drake welcomes seven newcomers to the program and they join six returning players for a total of 13. The Bulldogs will face a strong schedule this season with seven opponents that qualified for the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Senior Bentley Mancini (Burnsville, Minn.) will lead the Bulldogs attack this season. The Minnesota native enters her senior season with significant experience from the previous two seasons with 15 starts and 236 kills in 2011.
Fellow senior Jadranka Tramosljanin (Ruma, Serbia) will once again provide help between the front and back rows. Amanda Platte (Mount Vernon, Iowa) came on late in 2011 and this season the sophomore will have an increased role for the blue and white.
Erin Roggenburg (Ankeny, Iowa) and freshmen Katie Dulek (Lenexa, Kan.) and Cassie Effken (Lincoln, Neb.) have stood out early and each will see significant playing time this weekend. All three played for highly successful high school programs. Roggenburg helped Ankeny win back-to-back state titles, Dulek was a four-time high school state champion in Kansas and Effken helped her Nebraska high school win the state title her senior season. Freshmen Katie Allen (Mokena, Ill.) and Shelby Daum (Battle Creek, Neb.) will provide depth at the position.and graduated from a year ago and their presence in the middle will be missed, but a young and talented group of five is ready to fill their void. Sophomore
Sophomore Halli Meyer (Bettendorf, Iowa) steps into the setter role after the graduation of . Meyer saw time in 14 matches her freshman season and was elected to the team's leadership council for 2012. Freshman Rebecca Brown (Bentonville, Ark.) will backup Meyer. She also comes from a successful high school program that captured two Arkansas state titles.
Tramoslijanin and junior Sarah Madden (Van Meter, Iowa) both enter their second season at Drake and will anchor the back row. Scarlett Howerter (Lincoln, Neb.) teamed with Effken her senior season of high school in Nebraska and will provide depth in the back row.
The Bulldogs start the season with three non-conference tournaments, traveling to two states for nine total matches. Drake goes north to the Wisconsin-Green Bay tournament this weekend to face Wisconsin-Green Bay, Auburn and Central Michigan. Central Michigan qualified for the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Next will be a trip to Las Cruces, New Mexico with matches against New Mexico State, Northwestern and Cincinnati. The Bearcats advanced to the second round of the tournament in 2011.
The final tournament will take the Bulldogs back to Wisconsin for the InnTowner Invitational hosted by the University of Wisconsin. After an opening match against the Badgers, the Bulldogs will close the tournament with matches against Wisconsin Milwaukee and North Dakota State, which both earned NCAA tournament berths last season. Drake's final two non-conference matches will be at Nebraska Omaha on Sept. 21 and a second match against North Dakota State, Oct. 15, in Fargo, N.D.
The Missouri Valley Conference will be strong once again, coming off a historic season that saw three teams qualify for the NCAA tournament. Two of those qualifiers, Wichita State and Missouri State will travel to the Knapp Center to open conference play on September 14 and 15, respectively. Northern Iowa was the other qualifier and Drake will host the Panthers on Saturday, Oct. 6.
DRAKE PICKED TENTH
Drake was picked to finish tenth in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll conducted by league coaches. Northern Iowa captured all 10 first-place votes to top the voting with 100 points.
2012 LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
This season the Bulldogs will have a leadership council with Bentley Mancini as the designated senior class member, Sarah Madden as the designated junior class member and Halli Meyer as the sophomore class member.
TIME IS NOW
The Bulldogs will have a young team in 2012 with ten freshmen and sophomores on the roster.