Friday, 22 September 2023

NCAA Womens Volleyball

5 storylines for the 2023 DII women’s volleyball season

5 storylines for the 2023 DII women’s volleyball season

The 2023 DII women’s volleyball season ended with West Texas A&M lifting its fourth national championship trophy, but first since 1997. As the new season approaches, all eyes will be on the Buffs to see if they can run it back for a repeat, a feat the program accomplished way back in the 1990-91 seasons.

What else does the season have in store? With the first serve coming around September 1 for everyone, let’s take a look at what to watch early in the season.

RECAP: How West Texas A&M won the 2022 national championship

5 storylines for the 2023 DII women’s volleyball season

Will the Buffs repeat?

I’m no genie or fortune teller, so I won’t predict in August that West Texas A&M is going to repeat as national champs. What we do know is that the DII women’s volleyball defenders of the crown are loaded with experience from last year, and have what is needed to start a dynasty.

Last year, the Buffs looked unstoppable. After a Sept. 10 straight-set-sweep loss at the hands of UT Tyler, West Texas A&M never lost again, closing the season with 26 consecutive victories and an impressive 3-1 victory over top-seeded Concordia-St. Paul in the championship match. Of the 10 players who appeared in all four sets of that match, eight return. That includes AVCA All-American and top points scorer Torey Miller. Kelsey Carpenter, a transfer from UT-San Antonio that had 150 kills and scored 2.21 points per set last year, should help balance the loss of senior Kayla Elliott. Simply put, the pieces are in place and a repeat championship is not a far-fetched idea in Canyon, Texas.

What’s next for Concordia-St. Paul?

The last time the Golden Bears, last year’s national runners-up, lost the championship match was in 2003, their first-ever trip to the match. Do you remember what happened shortly after that championship match loss? That’s right — Concordia went on an unprecedented run, winning seven national championships in a row and nine overall. This team has won 50% of the last 18 national championships, and that is an absurd thought.

The NSIC is arguably the toughest division in all DII women’s volleyball, so no matter how good this roster is, nothing is promised. But this roster is really good. Of their 10 leading point scorers from last year, nine return. That includes 2019 freshman of the year and two-time AVCA All-American Jasmine Mulvihill. Mulvihill isn’t simply one of the best offensive weapons in DII, she commands the attention of…

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