Morningside was one of the most improved teams in the nation during the 2016 volleyball season.
Morningside College was one of the most improved teams in the nation during the 2016 volleyball season. The Mustangs posted a record of 20-15 to end a streak of three consecutive losing seasons, including an 8-20 record last season, and finished sixth in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) standings with an 8-8 league record. Morningside made its first appearance in the NAIA Volleyball National Championship tournament since 2012 and scored its biggest victory of the season with a 3-2 upset of seventh-ranked Park University in national tourney pool play to defeat a Pirate team that eventually reached the national tournament semifinals.
The Mustangs have a 217-129 record for a .627 winning percentage over the last 10 seasons and have made five NAIA National Tournament appearances over the last nine years.
Mustangs Break Two School Record
Morningside was the fifth best blocking team in the nation with an average of 2.55 blocks per game and broke two school records in the blocking department during the 2016 campaign. The Mustangs had 587 block assists to break their former single-season record of 538 block assists in 1993. Morningside set a new school record for block assists in a four-set match with 35 block assists in a 3-1 victory against Mount Marty College on Sept. 21 to break its former record of 30 block assists against Doane College in 2011.
Freshman Of Impact
Brittni Olson, a 6-1 freshman middle blocker from Sioux City, led the Mustangs with 23 solo blocks and 146 block assists for an average of 1.23 blocks per set for the 13th highest rate in the nation. Olson’s 146 block assists was the third highest single-season total in Morningside history and her average of 1.23 blocks per set was the sixth highest average in the Mustangs’ annals.
Aside from her blocking exploits, Olson was the Mustangs’ most effective offensive performer at the net with a team-high 350 kills and .323 hitting percentage for the 15th highest hitting rate in Morningside history. She ranked second on the team with an average of 2.55 kills per set and had the Mustangs’ top individual total of the season with 21 kills against Central Methodist University on Oct. 7.
Buyert Key Contributor To Attack
Jenn Buyert, a 6-3 junior outside hitter from Sioux Center, Iowa, led the Mustangs’ attack with an average of 2.62 kills per set. She finished one off the team lead with 349 kills and topped the Mustangs with 21 double figure kill performances, including a season’s high 19 terminations in regular season matches against Northwestern College and Dakota Wesleyan University and against Corban University in NAIA National Championship pool play.
Buyert collected 10 solo blocks and 90 block assists for an average of 0.75 blocks per set and moved into eighth place in the Morningside record book with 230 career block assists.
Dig And Ace Serve Leader
Nikki Oberfoell, a 5-6 junior defensive specialist from Brighton, Colo., led the Mustangs with 535 digs and 23 ace serves for averages of 3.91 digs and 0.17 ace serves per set. Oberfoell produced a double figure dig performance in 29 of the Mustangs’ 35 matches and had the team’s top individual total of the season with 35 digs in the Mustangs’ Sept.10 contest against College of Saint Mary for the 10th highest single-match dig total in Morningside history.
Oberfoell’s 535 digs was the seventh highest single-season total in Morningside history and her average of 3.91 digs per set was the 13th highest average in the Mustangs’ annals.
Kuck Ranks Among Mustang Career Dig Leaders
Katie Kuck, a 5-5 senior defensive specialist from Council Bluffs, Iowa, had 361 digs for an average of 2.67 digs per set to close out her career as one of the Mustangs’ all-time dig leaders. Kuck amassed 1198 digs during her career for the 10th highest total in Morningside history.
Defensive Force At the Net
Ashley Vande Stouwe, a 6-1 junior middle blocker from Rock Rapids, Iowa, had 12 solo blocks and 137 block assists to rank 26th in the nation with an average of 1.12 blocks per set. Her 137 block assists was the fifth highest single-season total in Morningside history and her average of 1.12 blocks per set was the ninth highest in the Mustang annals. Vande Stouwe ranks 11th in Morningside history with 210 career block assists.
Aside from her defensive prowess at the net, Vande Stouwe was also one of the Mustangs’ most effective attackers. She averaged 1.98 kills per set and ranked second on the team with a .314 hitting percentage.
Callie Alberico, a 5-9 freshman setter from Fort Calhoun, Neb., led the Mustangs with 669 assists for an average of 6.03 assists per set. Her 669 assists put her in 15th place on Morningside’s all-time career assist list.
Gabby Roe, a 5-11 freshman setter from Sioux City, had 14 ace serves in 50 sets to lead the Mustangs with an average of 0.28 ace serves per set.