The Hernesmans have rapidly improved the competitiveness of the program in the past three years. They increased the team’s win total from three to 13 during their first season in 2010 and two years later, with a roster consisting of 12 freshmen and sophomores, finished the 2012 season with a 20-13 record, the first winning season in volleyball at NSU since 1987and the first 20-win season since 1975.
Under their guidance, the Lady Demons have made two consecutive Southland Conference Tournament appearances and last fall earned a program-best third place SLC finish.
The 2012 squad was the most successful volleyball team in NSU history after posting the most overall (20) and SLC (12) wins in the program’s Division I history.
On top of their success against conference opponents, the Hernesmans have also compiled a 19-5 record against Louisiana teams and went undefeated against them in 2012.
For their achievements in 2012 the Hernesmans were named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s All-Louisiana Coaches of the Year.
Attracting top-flight recruits to NSU has been pivotal to the program’s success.
Their 2011 recruiting class was regarding as the strongest in the conference and the athletes have proven themselves as two of them earned first-team all-conference honors this past season. Stacey DiFrancesco and Keelie Arneson were the first NSU volleyball players to earn first-team all-conference honors in NSU’s 25 years of Southland competition.
DiFrancesco, a sophomore outside hitter who was the 2011 SLC Freshman of the Year, led the team in kills and aces and also recorded 14 double-doubles. Her 385 kills ranked fifth in the NSU single-season kills ledger.
In just two seasons she has already moved into the school career kills and attempts standings. The Woodlands, Texas native has totaled 809 kills (seventh all-time) and 2,634 attempts (sixth).
Arneson, the Lady Demons’ starting libero, finished second in the conference in digs at 5.00 per set. The sophomore broke the single-season digs record for the second consecutive season, collecting an impressive 618 to surpass her own record of 539.
The Tomball, Texas native has also broken into NSU’s career ledger after recording 1,157 career-digs (third) in two seasons.
In addition to their focus on athletics, the Hernesmans have also stressed the importance of academic success, which led to the Lady Demons amassing a cumulative grade point average of 3.47 in the fall semester.
Prior to taking over at NSU, Hernesman was the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Ball State where he helped coach the 2008 and 2009 teams to the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
He began his coaching career at Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1995 and helped guide the Warhawks to nine consecutive NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, including four Final Four appearances and the 2002 National Championship.
Stephanie Hernesman is also no stranger to success as she was a volunteer assistant coach at Ball State when the 2008 and 2009 teams made it to the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
From 2004-2007 she was an assistant coach at Hardin-Simmons where she and Hugh helped turn the team into conference champions in just three seasons.