DU Volleyball gets first crack at North Dakota as Summit League foe

Photo: DenverPioneers.com. Becca Latham leads a balanced Pioneer attack

It is finally happening. DU (14-1, 3-0 Summit) and North Dakota (12-8, 4-1 Summit) are headed for a ‘first time’ collision course in Summit League play – and this one should be interesting. Denver women’s volleyball plays new Summit League member North Dakota this weekend on the road Sunday, following a Friday road match against South Dakota 10-6, 4-0 Summit).

Denver, winners of four consecutive Summit League titles and NCAA appearances, has only lost 3 games in their last 9 matches – so they are on a tear. Denver was selected as the preseason Summit League favorite followed by the Fighting Hawks. North Dakota is the defending volleyball champion of last season’s Big Sky Conference.

If you have not followed DU volleyball, the engine that drives the current Pioneers squad is head coach Tom Hogan who received a contract extension earlier this year. Associate head coach Katelin Batten and Jesse Tupac play strong roles running practices and providing in-game input to Hogan. Hogan’s ‘calm under pressure’ style is reflected by DU’s team on the court who feed off his temperament and competitive nature.

Denver outside hitter Becca Latham would be considered DU’s best player. Latham was invited to the Olympic Trials this summer and was selected to the US Collegiate National Team China Tour. DU’s other corner is led by Serbian Seattle University transfer Katerina Marinkovic. Marinkovic is off to a fast start, second behind Latham with 161 kills. In the hostile environment of Grand Forks, it will take a scrappy effort and sophomore middle blocker Tina Boe is a player that elevates her game under pressure. She plays well above her 6’0″ height and is second on the team in blocks.

North Dakota is led by outside hitters Kayla Williams and Ashley Brueggemen along with middle hitter Jordan Vail. A freshman libero, Taliyah Flores,  leads the Fighting Haws in digs with 351.

Denver volleyball has only played North Dakota twice in 1983 and 1988 and Denver has never won a set (0-5). But Denver is clearly on a stronger trajectory now. And, of course, both teams want to draw first blood in their initial Summit League meeting between the two schools.

12 thoughts on “DU Volleyball gets first crack at North Dakota as Summit League foe”

  1. Hard to believe that DU volleyball is 14-1 but flying under the radar. They have had one of DU’s most consistent teams over the past four years. It will be a challenge, especially Sunday.

  2. Hard to believe that DU volleyball is 14-1 but flying under the radar. They have had one of DU’s most consistent teams over the past four years. It will be a challenge, especially Sunday.

  3. Denver is playing USD today, not SDSU. Not sure why you would focus on the UND game, considering the Yotes are a stronger contender this year. Today is the main event.

  4. South Dakota has a very good program but Denver has a longer rivalry with North Dakota in hockey. This is the first time they will meet outside the NCHC as league members of the same conference. No disrespect intended for SD.

  5. I get the rivalry thing. I’m glad UND’s membership means something to Denver fans. The Summit needs stability, and Denver is a valuable member.

    You guys have an amazing volleyball team this year, and will be hard to knock off by anyone. Our home gym on Homecoming (D-Days) weekend might be our best shot. There is a free stream available for tonight, and I think UND offers that as well.

    Also, confusing us with the Cramp-rabbits will never not be disrespectful, especially in a sport they are so horrible in. Rivalry thing. Good luck tonight!

  6. I get it….anyone confuses DU with Colorado College and those are fighting words. Should be an exciting weekend of VB. One of the most exciting college sports.

  7. Denver is playing USD today, not SDSU. Not sure why you would focus on the UND game, considering the Yotes are a stronger contender this year. Today is the main event.

  8. South Dakota has a very good program but Denver has a longer rivalry with North Dakota in hockey. This is the first time they will meet outside the NCHC as league members of the same conference. No disrespect intended for SD.

  9. I get the rivalry thing. I’m glad UND’s membership means something to Denver fans. The Summit needs stability, and Denver is a valuable member.

    You guys have an amazing volleyball team this year, and will be hard to knock off by anyone. Our home gym on Homecoming (D-Days) weekend might be our best shot. There is a free stream available for tonight, and I think UND offers that as well.

    Also, confusing us with the Cramp-rabbits will never not be disrespectful, especially in a sport they are so horrible in. Rivalry thing. Good luck tonight!

  10. I get it….anyone confuses DU with Colorado College and those are fighting words. Should be an exciting weekend of VB. One of the most exciting college sports.

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