The Chadron State College volleyball team will host four squads this Labor Day weekend as it plows through non-conference play. Six matches will take place Friday and Saturday in the Chicoine Center, followed by another on Monday at 1 p.m.
The CSC volleyball tournament opens up at 5 p.m. Friday with a neutral-site match between the University of Sioux Falls and Montana State University-Billings, who hosted the Eagles just last weekend.
Following the neutral match, CSC will take on Minot State University. MSU returns four starters from a 1-25 campaign in 2021.
Minot comes into Chadron following an 0-4 weekend at a Kearney tournament. The Beavers faced two nationally ranked opponents, a program receiving votes in the coaches’ poll, and one unranked foe.
Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Wyatt hit at a clip of .300 while tallying 1.85 kills per set.
Saturday morning, at 9 a.m., Minot and Sioux Falls are set to tussle. Then CSC will get to attempt a rematch with the Yellowjackets of Billings.
Last Saturday, CSC lost in straight sets, but they dropped all three in the closest possible fashion, losing 26-28, 23-25, 23-25.
Billings swept the competition last weekend at its own place, winning its first match 3-2 before dusting off its other three opponents 3-0.
The Yellowjackets have four players who each average more then two kills per set. Among them, junior transfer Paiten Langston has the highest hitting percentage at .317 on the season.
The final neutral-site match, between Minot and Billings, is penciled in for approximately 1 p.m., and the Eagles get the court back for their last tournament match, against Sioux Falls, in the mid-afternoon.
The Cougars are back from a 17-11 season when they barely missed their conference tournament, one match behind a four-way tie in front of them. They return three starters from that team.
USF is 1-3, so far this season with the same four opponents as Minot in Kearney. Their one win was a sweep of Midwestern State.
They are a young team, comprised of seven freshmen, seven sophomores, no juniors, and only three seniors. One of the freshmen, Courtney Holsteen, leads the team in kills with 45 in 14 sets played.
Despite the losses, the Cougars hit at an impressive .211 clip as a team.
Chadron State gets Sunday off, but the team comes right back to Chicoine on Monday for a 1 p.m. date with former intra-state rival Wayne State.
The Wildcats look like a national contender so far this season, not having lost a set in four matches last week in New York. Prior to the season, they played an exhibition match in Manhattan, Kansas, and took the other set of Wildcats, from Kansas State, to five sets. They moved up to No. 15 this week in the NCAA Division II coaches’ poll.
Sophomore middle hitter Taya Beller’s gaudy 4.5 kills per set and nation-best .628 hitting percentage has lifted the team’s percentage to a superb .363, good for No. 2 in Division II.
The Wildcats return all six starters from a squad that won 22 matches, finished fourth in the formidable Northern Sun, and advanced to the league semifinals.
Chadron State is 1-3 following a tough weekend in Billings, and will look to bounce back on its home court.
Junior Lexi Hurtado led the Eagles in kills, in each of their first three matches. Sophomore Aiyana Fujiyama and freshman Bella Adams provided defense at the net, recording eight and seven total blocks, respectively. Rylee Greiman also continued to shine defensively, grabbing 4.36 digs per set.
The Eagles will not travel further than Spearfish until the end of the month, with 9 of their next 11 matches at home.