Bitter-sweet was how last season ended for the Bison volleyball team. After they beat Oral Roberts University in their first Summit League Tournament win since 2011, the young squad was defeated by Denver University and it left an unsettling feeling in Kari Thompson’s student-athletes.
However, the lone senior and leader of the Bison team, Jenni Fassbender, and junior libero Emily Milligan are ready to take the Bison to the next step. For them, that means winning a Summit League Championship after a 15-17 roller coaster season last year.
This is Fassbender’s last chance at a title.
She’s played in 87 out of 91 matches since her freshman year. Last season she was named honorable mention All-Summit League selection. The year before, she was an All-Summit League performer and her name is plastered all over the NDSU record books.
“She’s really been our leader since day one,” Milligan, who ranked third in the Summit League in digs and fourth in digs per set last season, said. “This was her last￼￼ summer, that was her last spring workout, that was her last spring season. She really emphasizes giving 110 percent every time, obviously, to win. But just for her also because we all love her so much and this is her last chance to win the Summit League.”[/text_output]
[image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3795″ alt=”Jennie Fassbender North Dakota State University Bison volleyball”]
[image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3796″ alt=”Emily Milligan North Dakota State University Bison volleyball”]
[text_output]But Fassbender and Milligan are going to have a lot of help in trying to achieve that title.
With the twin towers at the middle blocker position, juniors Emily Minnick and Emily Miron are a nightmare for Bison opponents.
As a sophomore, Minnick ranked second on the team with a .293 hitting percentage and 0.72 blocks per set. Her teammate Miron, who was named All- Summit League, ranked first on the team and fourth in the league with an attack percentage of .312 last season.
Junior server Monica Claxton, junior outside hitter Hadley Steffen and sophomore sever/outside hitter Brianna Rasmusson also come back after a season of playing a significant number of sets.
The Bison also added a junior outside hitter transfer from Lithuania who played the last two years with NCAA Division II school Columbus State University, earning All-Peach Belt Conference second team honors last season.
Head coach Thompson and Fassbender will take the team into battle on August 28, where the Bison will face Missouri at the Tiger Invitational in Columbia, Mo.
Thompson is excited to see what Fassbender can bring in her final year wearing the green and gold uniform, as well as the rest of the team.
“Jenni has a lot of respect from her teammates so I think that’s motivating the entire team, because I know that Jenni is looking to have her best year ever as an individual and as a team,” fifth-year Bison volleyball head coach said. “Having that leadership is something huge. I think that’s going to be something different that we haven’t had necessarily just because it’s one. You usually have that one senior that’s different, but yet she’s pretty powerful at that position and I think it’s going to be a good thing for our team.”[/text_output]