(NSAA) Bismarck – For the first time in eight years, Bellevue (Neb.) is the head coaches’ preseason favorite to win the North Star Athletic Association women’s volleyball title. The 2022 NSAA volleyball coaches’ preseason poll was announced Monday by the conference office.
The Bruins collected five first-place votes and 61 points to claim the top spot in the conference poll. Bellevue went 26-8 overall record and 11-3 record in the league. BU advanced to the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Tournament quarterfinals round before falling to Jamestown (ND).
Viterbo (Wis.), who had been selected as the preseason favorite to win the North Star title in the previous seven seasons, finished second in the preseason poll. The V-Hawks collected the remaining three first-place votes and 59 points.
VU swept the NSAA regular-season and tournament titles in 2021 and qualified for the national tournament. Viterbo went 1-1 in the national tournament’s pool play and did not advance to the bracket play, completing their astonishing season with an overall record of 39-2 and a perfect 14-0 league record.
Dakota State (SD) was picked to finish third in the conference preseason poll with 47 points. The Trojans went 21-9 overall record last season and fell short in the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Tournament’s Opening Round.
Three NSAA teams were listed in the final NAIA Women’s Volleyball Coaches’ Top 25 national poll last season, led by Viterbo at No. 7 followed by Bellevue at No. 9 and Dakota State in the receiving votes section.
Valley City State (ND) edged Mayville State (ND) by one point to finish fourth (36-35). Presentation (SD) was sixth with 19 points, followed by Waldorf (Iowa) seventh with 17 points, and Dickinson State (ND) eighth with 14 points.
All NSAA members will be playing a 14-match schedule (7 matches at home and 7 matches on the road).
The conference season officially kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 14 with traveling partners playing each other. Bellevue visits Dakota State, Dickinson State travels to Valley City State, Waldorf hosts Viterbo, and Presentation welcomes Mayville State.
The top six teams will qualify for the North Star conference postseason tournament on Nov. 11-12. The postseason tournament is scheduled to take place at the Civic Arena in Watertown, SD
The NSAA postseason tournament’s champion will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Tournament, which is scheduled for Nov. 19 at campus sites.
The national tournament’s opening round winners will move on to the final site at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. There will be a new format for the final site of the national tournament, where the teams will have a ‘rest’ day. The pool play begins on Nov. 30 and continues through Dec. 2 (each team in each pool will play two matches). The single elimination bracket play opens on Dec. 3, with semifinals set for Dec. 5 and the championship match on Dec. 6.