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Lady Demons tune up for upcoming season, picked to finish second
by LaMar Gafford
Aug 23, 2014 | 56 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State senior Mackenzie Neely attempts to get a shot over fellow seniors Vanessa Coleman and Stacey DiFrancesco during the Lady Demons’ scrimmage Aug. 16. Photo by Kevin Shannahan.
Northwestern State senior Mackenzie Neely attempts to get a shot over fellow seniors Vanessa Coleman and Stacey DiFrancesco during the Lady Demons’ scrimmage Aug. 16. Photo by Kevin Shannahan.
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For the Northwestern State Lady Demons volleyball team, the road to the Southland Conference Volleyball Championships, begins in Prather Coliseum---which ironically is the venue for this year’s event.

The Lady Demons took one major step in preparing for the upcoming season by staging an intrasquad scrimmage to get in rhythm.

Team White defeated Team Purple, 3-2 (25-22, 17-25, 25-19, 25-15, 18-20), to receive bragging rights among the team.

“I think everybody did well,” senior middle blocker Mackenzie Neely said. “We’ve been working really hard this whole week just getting everybody ready and the freshmen into what we do in the gym and learning our system. So, it’s good to finally get out there and play and get competitive with everybody.”

Both teams were neck-and-neck with each other with a closely competitive first set that saw White win 25-22.

Purple evened the score in set two, winning 25-17, but White clinched the match with victories in the following two sets.

Although the match was clinched, both teams played on for a fifth set that White dominated early 7-0.

However, Purple stormed back to tie the set at 14-14 and took the set 20-18.

“I was impressed,” NSU co-head coach Hugh Hernesman said. “I thought we saw two really good teams in it of themselves. I think when you combine those two teams into one, you’re going to see how strong this team can be.”

The experienced squad has five seniors that are still stinging from being three points away from defeating the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears and winning the Southland tournament title last season.

In the Southland preseason coaches and sports information directors’ polls, the Sugar Bears and the Lady Demons were ranked in the top two spots, with NSU claiming the No. 2 spot in each poll.

Yet, the final result last year has the team determined to win this season.

“Going into the season, we want to win the win,” senior libero Keelie Arneson said. “We have a really good chance and I know everybody wants it. We’re really excited to play UCA and Stephen F. Austin. It’s going to be a good season.”

NSU will open up the season Aug. 29-30 in the North Texas Invitational. The team will open Aug. 29 against the host team and end the tournament against Missouri and Mississippi Valley State on the following day.
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