Nov. 29, 1999
NKU (32-1) SEEKS 1ST NATIONAL TITLE
Norse face North Alabama (35-6) this Thursday in Elite 8
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University volleyball team will meet the University of North Alabama (35-6) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Mich.
NKU, now 32-1 with 25 consecutive victories entering the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, is ranked No. 2 nationally. The Norse are looking for their first-ever national championship.
If NKU defeats North Alabama, the Norse would play in the national semifinals on Friday, Dec. 3, at 8:30 p.m. against the winner of the North Dakota State/Brigham Young University-Hawaii match.
The national championship match is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 4.
JEREMIAH NEARS RECORD: NKU senior outside hitter Jenny Jeremiah, who earned Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year honors this season, is about to set another school record.
Jeremiah, who earlier this season became NKUs all-time career leader in digs, needs just three kills to become the Norses all-time leader in that category. Jeremiah currently has 1,588 career kills and trails NKU all-time leader Jenny Huber (1,590 career kills from 1984-87) by just two in that category.
JEREMIAH, BUROKER EARN ALL-REGION HONORS: Jeremiah and teammate Jessica Buroker both were named to the AVCA Great Lakes All-Region Team last week. Jeremiah, a senior outside hitter and a graduate of Seton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, leads NKU in both kills (496) and digs (664).
Buroker, a junior middle hitter and a native of Bluffton, Ohio, led the GLVC in hitting percentage (.406), and she ranks No. 3 on the team with 390 kills. Buroker also has 14 solo blocks and 99 assisted blocks.
BIERMANN EARNS COACHING AWARD: NKU head coach Mary Biermann has been named the 1999 American Volleyball Coaches Association Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year.
Biermann has guided NKU to a 32-1 record this season and to its second consecutive berth in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. The Norse have won 25 consecutive matches entering the Elite Eight, and NKU owns 34 straight wins at home in Regents Hall.
Biermann also earned Great Lakes Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors earlier this season and led the Norse to their third straight GLVC championship.
NKUS ROAD TO THE ELITE 8: NKU defeated Ferris State, 13-15, 15-3, 15-9, 15-11, in the first round of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional, and the Norse knocked off Northwood (Mich.), 17-15, 15-7, 8-15, 21-19, in the championship match.
Three NKU players - Jeremiah, Buroker and junior setter Bobbi Casey - earned All-Tournament Team honors during the Great Lakes Regional.
SUPER SOPH: NKU sophomore outside hitter Bethany Gastright continued her outstanding play during the Great Lakes Regional, including a 21-kill, 17-dig performance in the win over Northwood. In addition, Gastright and Buroker ended the match by blocking a Northwood attack attempt for the winning point.
Gastright, who earned second team All-GLVC honors, is No. 2 on the team in kills (438) and she also has a .305 hitting percentage.
CASEY SETS THE PACE: Junior setter Bobbi Casey, who earned first team All-GLVC honors this season, picked up 76 assists, 15 digs and six kills in the win over Northwood. For the year, Casey has a GLVC-leading 13.4 assists per game average, and she also leads the GLVC in service aces (.61).
BARHORST SHINES: Sophomore middle hitter Denise Barhorst was another key in the win over Northwood with 15 kills, a .300 hitting percentage and five assisted blocks. For the season, Barhorst has 232 kills, a team-leading 24 solo blocks and 83 assisted blocks.
GRINSTEAD SETS CAREER HIGH: Sophomore right-side hitter Greta Grinstead played an important role in the win over Northwood with a career-high 23 digs, two service aces and four assisted blocks. Grinstead had a key ace in the fourth game, and she saved two potential game-tying points off Northwood attacks with digs late in the fourth game.
ABOUT NORTH ALABAMA: The Lions, members of the Gulf South Conference, enter the Elite Eight with a 35-6 record after winning the South Central Regional with a victory over Rockhurst (Mo.) in the finals.
North Alabama is led by senior outside hitter Ronda Price, who has 597 kills, 65 service aces and 517 digs. Senior outside hitter Deja Trojan is No. 2 on the team with 519 kills and 453 digs. Freshman setter Nicole Kuslik has 1,181 assists and 50 service aces.
NKU and North Alabama have met just once in volleyball (Nov. 3, 1990), and the Norse defeated the Lions, 15-9, 16-18, 15-12, 15-7, in a match played at St. Louis, Mo.