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Lady Demons to host volleyball scrimmage in Prather
Aug 16, 2014 | 198 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State senior Stacey DiFrancesco looks return a serve in the Lady Demons’ first practice Aug. 9. Photo by Kevin Shannahan.
Northwestern State senior Stacey DiFrancesco looks return a serve in the Lady Demons’ first practice Aug. 9. Photo by Kevin Shannahan.
Nearing one full week of “two-a-day” preseason practices, the Northwestern State volleyball team will host its inter-squad scrimmage at 1 p.m. on Saturday inside Prather Coliseum.

“This will be a good opportunity to essentially grade out our defensive execution in live play,” fifth-year head coach Hugh Hernesman said. “On top of that, we get to put some players in different roles and see how our different groups mesh together. There are a lot of options so this will help to sort through some of them.”

Fans are encouraged to come cheer on the Lady Demons with the scrimmage to be styled the same as a regular season match – with some unique tweaks.

“We’ll be playing 25-point sets but it won’t be a “true” two teams,” Hernesman said. “We’ll be mixing and matching as we go, so there could be one set where two players are head-to-head and the next set playing alongside one another.”

Following Saturday, NSU will have eight more "two-a-day" practices leading up to the first day of class on Aug. 25.

Northwestern State welcomes back 12 letterwinners including all seven starters from one year ago.

Among the returnees are seniors Stacey DiFrancesco, Mackenzie Neely, Keelie Arneson, Emily Johnson and Vanessa Coleman, a group Hernesman credits with turning around the program.

Since Hernesman arrived on campus in 2010, only two schools in all of Division I volleyball have improved their RPI more than the Lady Demons.

Along with co-head coach and wife Stephanie, the duo have led NSU to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program’s 32-year history.

In 2013, Hernesman’s squad also captured the most overall wins (21), conference wins (15), highest conference finish (2) and highest RPI (98) in NSU history.

Northwestern State kicks off its season Aug. 29 at North Texas at 7 p.m. that will be followed by Saturday matches against preseason No. 15 Missouri (1 p.m.) and Mississippi Valley State (4:30 p.m.) as part of the North Texas Invitational.

The Lady Demons’ home opener will be Oct. 2 against Abilene Christian.
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