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Sets on the Beach serves up victory at Demon Digfest
by LaMar Gafford
Aug 07, 2014 | 231 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State senior Stacey DiFrancesco returns a volley during the Demon Digfest Aug. 2. DiFrancesco was one of many Lady Demon volleyball players who played in the 12-team tournament. Photo by Kevin Shannahan.
Northwestern State senior Stacey DiFrancesco returns a volley during the Demon Digfest Aug. 2. DiFrancesco was one of many Lady Demon volleyball players who played in the 12-team tournament. Photo by Kevin Shannahan.
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With temperatures staying around the 80s all weekend, Point Place Marina had all the right ingredients for beach volleyball.

The fifth summer Demon Digfest was a success as the Northwestern State Lady Demons hosted the semiannual event Aug. 2-3.

12 teams battled to see who would reign supreme in the sand with teammates going against each other in some cases.

In the end, it would be the Sets on the Beach team---featuring senior Keelie Arneson---claiming the title in the two-day event.

“It feels really good to win,” Arneson said. “There was are good, friendly competition all weekend.”

The team of breezed through pool play in Day 1 and earned a bye in Day 2’s bracket play.

It would dispatch Too Tan and Goonz Squad before reaching the championship game.

On the other side of the bracket, #DigThis, a team comprised of senior Stacey DiFrancesco and her family, looked to improve on their second place finish in the spring Demon Digfest.

“It’s like a tradition that we do,” DiFrancesco said of playing with her family. “We’ve been doing this since my freshman year.

The team was placed in the more tightly completive Pool B, but could not get a top seed to get a bye in bracket play.

Even though the DiFrancescos had to play an extra game, it would not be an issue as they would win matches against the Hash Slinging Slashers and the Party Jumpers before beating Awesome Sauce to make the finals.

However, they would fall to Arneson’s team in a closely contested matchup.

While the members of the Lady Demons volleyball team that played in the event will not have to worry about the sand---and in some cases, the rain---during the regular season, the tournament continues to serve as a prep for the season and it allows fans to see a team that is coming off of back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history.

“It’s a really good opportunity to get the Natchitoches community involved and get excited for the season, because we’re going to have a great one,” Lady Demon senior blocker Mackenzie Neely said.

The Lady Demons report to back to preseason camp Aug. 8 to prepare for their Aug. 29 season opener in the North Texas Invitational against the Eagles.

The three-game slate will be the beginning of a slate that includes 15 road games before playing in their home opener against Abilene Christian Oct. 2 in Prather Coliseum.

NSU will attempt to claim their first NCAA tournament bid when the school will host the Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament Nov. 21-23.
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