Jennifer Greeny has coached Lewis-Clark State College to four straight Frontier Conference volleyball championships, but her current team just might be her best.
LCSC (21-1, 11-0) has won 13 consecutive matches and is ranked No. 9 in the NAIA poll. The Warriors’ lone loss was to Oklahoma Baptist, currently No. 20, at an early September tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“I really think this is the best team we’ve had in my four years here,” said Greeny, the former Jennifer Stinson who starred at Davenport High and Washington State University. “We’re just better athletically and more balanced than we’ve been.”
The Warriors have seven players from the region, including Spokane’s Brianne Brown, Kaylee Rector, Alyssa Wold and Nicole Graybeal, Nine Mile Falls’ Kelli Tikker, Pullman’s Katie Hinrichs and Lewiston’s Kim Fong. Fong and Hinrichs join Joy Dunn (1996-99) as members of four-time Frontier Conference champions.
Tikker, a transfer from Gonzaga, has a team-high 232 kills. Graybeal, who played at Community Colleges of Spokane, has 188 kills and a team-leading 21 solo blocks. Hinrichs is third in the conference with 344 digs. Fong’s 589 assists rank fourth in the conference. Wold has 135 assists, Rector 78 digs and Brown 13 kills.
The Warriors will host the Frontier Conference tournament Nov. 12-13, but they still have plenty of motivation for their last four regular-season matches. The rankings determine the 11 automatic spots in the NAIA tournament. Thirty-six teams make the postseason and after play-in games, 24 gather for the tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.
“We have some great upperclassmen leadership, especially Katie and Kelli,” Greeny said. “We have a balanced attack. Really on any given night somebody can have a great night or more than one person.”
Ganzer steps up
Washington State’s Meagan Ganzer said she’s merely step No. 3 in the process of earning a kill. The junior has three 30-kill matches this season, including the rare feat of 30 in a three-set victory.
“I had great passing and great setting,” she said. “They’re step 1 and step 2. I’m step 3.”
She’s been stepping up all season. Ganzer has double-digit kills in all 19 Cougars matches. Her 5.12 kills per set ranks third in the Pac-10, fifth nationally.
“Last year was all about hitting as hard as she could,” coach Andrew Palileo said. “This year it’s a little more versatility with the tip shot, the roll shot. There are some matches she’s getting huge kills, going against 2-3 blockers.”
Opponents tailor blocking schemes to try to slow Ganzer, but she’s still sixth in kills per set (4.0) in Pac-10 matches. The Cougars, winless in the first half of the Pac-10 season, open the second half at No. 8 USC and No. 11 UCLA this weekend.
“There’s not much personal victory when you don’t have much team victory,” Ganzer said.
Freshman outside hitter Mady Dahlstrom (Mead High) had 13 kills to help Chapman past Southwestern (Ariz.) College last Friday for its seventh straight win. Dahlstrom leads Chapman with 302 kills and is second in digs with 292. … Natalie Stewart (Coeur d’Alene High) has 420 assists, 173 digs and 18 aces for Carroll College, which is in third in the Frontier Conference.