Jennies softball travels to San Antonio to start season

Written by Muleskinner Staff

The Central Missouri Jennies open up the 2013 campaign with a trip to San Antonio, Texas, where they will compete in the Hilltopper-Rattler Classic co-hosted by St. Mary’s University and St. Edwards University. The Jens will start the season with four non-conference matches, against teams that they have not faced off against in the past decade, as stated in a press release.
The Jens get the season underway with a late-morning matchup against Western New Mexico, before facing Minnesota-Crookston later in the afternoon. On Saturday, Texas Woman’s and Adam’s State await UCM to wrap up the tournament.
The Jennies finished the 2012 season ranked eighth in Division II, and that is where they will begin this season in the AVCA preseason poll. The Jens have been ranked in every AVCA poll since its debut in 1986, a record 342 consecutive weeks.
Central Missouri ended their season after a disappointing loss in the MIAA Volleyball Tournament finals to #2 Nebraska-Kearney and a first round loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA Central Regional. The Jens ended their season with a record of 26-7, 16-2 in conference play.
Central Missouri debuted in the first AVCA Division II Coaches’ Poll of the year earlier this month at No. 8, and maintain their rank from the 2012 final poll.
The Jennies are the third-highest MIAA squad in the poll, behind #3 Nebraska-Kearney. #7 Washburn, however no other MIAA teams were ranked. Last season, the Jens were ranked #5 in the nation in the preseason poll, before going 3-1 at the season-opening Hemmingway’s Island Grill Invitational in Pensacola, Fla.
The Jennies are the only team in Division II to appear in the AVCA Coaches Poll every week since the poll began in 1986, making the top 25 for 342 consecutive weeks.
In the MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll, UCM was ranked second, collecting 108 points and one first-place vote, beating out the Ichabods by one point. Washburn receives three first-place votes, and 107 points, while Nebraska-Kearney took the top spot, earning eight first-place votes.
The Jennies have seven true freshmen joining the squad this year. Bloomington, Ill. natives, Mary and Molly Lawrence, sisters and middle hitters both made All-Big 12 Conference First Team in their high school career. Mary set the Bloomington High School record for the highest single-season hitting percentage in school history, with .3687 average her senior season. Both were also scholar athletes, and lettered in softball and basketball.
Becca Blaise and Kourtney Thompson are also new to the squad, and expected to see some playing time this season. Blaise was a first team all-district and second team all-conference honoree in her final season at Marquette High School in St. Charles, Mo. Blaise, a right side hitter, was also named the team’s Most Valuable Player in her senior season. Thompson, a Blue Springs, Mo. native and defensive specialist, finished her career with a conference and district championship. She earned All-Conference and All-District honors during her junior and  senior seasons, and picked up an All-Region nod following her senior season. The final three newcomer this season are Lauren Overby, Maddie Jones, and Skyler German.
Upcoming games
Friday, September 6 | 11:00 a.m. CT
Bill Greehey Arena  | San Antonio, Texas
Friday, September 6 | 5:00 p.m. CT
Bill Greehey Arena  | San Antonio, Texas
Saturday, September 7 | 11:00 a.m. CT
Bill Greehey Arena  | San Antonio, Texas
#8 CENTRAL MISSOURI (0-0) vs. #23 ADAM’S STATE (0-0)
Saturday, September 7 | 5:00 p.m. CT
Bill Greehey Arena  | San Antonio, Texas