SIOUX FALLS, SD — Augustana volleyball opens its 2022 season in the Dr. Steve “Iceman” Aicinena Invitational in Odessa, Texas, hosted by Texas Permian Basin. The Vikings take on southeast Oklahoma State on Friday at 11 a.m. Later in the day, the Vikings take on Southwestern University (NM) at 3 p.m. Augustana will open the final day of the invite Saturday at 9 a.m. against Eastern New Mexico before facing off. against Texas Permian Basin at 1 p.m. to close the action in Odessa.
Fans can catch the action at GoAugie.com/Live and on the GoAugie app, presented by CellOnly, available in the App Store and Google Play.
The Vikings’ unknown opponents will be the University of the Southwest and the Texas Permian Basin as the schools face off for the first time in school history. Augustana’s familiar opponents will be the Savage Storm of Southeast Oklahoma against whom he holds a 2-0 record, the most previous game being in 2010. The Vikings also hold a 2-0 record against the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds that they last played in 2017.
Southeastern State of Oklahoma
The Savage Storm are returning 6 players from last season in which they went 8-19 in the 2021 campaign. With a 5-11 conference record, they finished seventh in the Great American Conference standings. Southeastern Oklahoma State and Augustana mutually open their 2022 schedules.
The Savage Storm added 12 new freshmen this season. They join 6 comebacks from last season, including Ruthie Forson who earned honorable mention All-GAC. Forson finished sixth in the GAC in assists with 9.19 per set in his debut campaign.
Southwestern University (NM)
The Mustangs went 11-16 in the 2021 campaign. With a 7-5 conference record, the Mustangs finished fourth in the NAIA’s Red River Athletic Conference. A complete list was not available at the time of publication.
Eastern New Mexico
The Greyhounds are returning 13 players from last season in which they went 7-19 in the 2021 campaign. With a 7-10 conference record, the Grizzlies finished 13th in the Lone Star Conference.
Eastern New Mexico added seven new freshmen this season. They join 13 comebacks from last season, including second hitter Mikaela Garvin who was named the 2021 LSC Volleyball Freshman. She had 213 eliminations and 60 total blocks in her first season.
Texas Permian Basin
The Falcons are returning 12 players from last season in which they went 17-11 in the 2021 campaign. With a 10-7 conference record, the Falcons finished seventh in the Lone Star Conference.
UT Permian Basin added seven new freshmen this season who join the returns. Included in the 12 returns is senior middleweight tackle Taurie Magee who earned All-LSC Tournament honors last season. She led the team in blocks with 92 and was second on the team with 247 wins in 2021.
The Vikings are returning 11 players from their 2021 roster and adding five newcomers. Among the 11 returning student-athletes are four starters: senior Erika Bute, Maddy Guetter and Avery Thorsonand junior Pretty Stecher.
Bute returns for his fourth season with the Vikings. During his junior season, Bute averaged 4.68 digs per set, ranking second in the NSIC and led the team with 538 total digs. Guetter, a fir, was sixth in the NSIC in total wins with 415 wins on the year, had 307 digs and 60 total blocks in his junior season. Stecher returns for her second season after her first campaign where she collected 154 eliminations and 116 total blocks. Thorson has been named an NSIC Player to Watch with more on her below.
“We’re coming back to almost all of the starters from last year, and where we got key positions, we know we have underclassmen more than ready to step up,” Jacobs said in the preseason statement. NSIC. “The team ended last year feeling unfinished, so we think we’ll play with a slight chip on our shoulder to prove we’re top contenders. We can’t wait to see what we can do. .”
Who to watch
NSIC named senior setter Avery Thorson as the Vikings 2022 “Player to Watch”.
Thorson, a native of Sioux Falls, will enter his fifth season with the Vikings. In her 2021 season, Thorson received second-team All-NSIC honors after ranking 34th in the nation with 10.44 assists per set and was ranked second in the NSIC in triple doubles. She recorded a season-high 57 assists against St. Cloud St. and Winona St. while leading the team in assists at 1,191.
“When Avery decided to stay an additional season using the COVID waiver, we were thrilled. She has been a leader on and off the court, and an integral part of the growth and success of this team since her first year.” , said Jacobs. “She knows the game inside out, and she runs our offense smoothly with the ability to manipulate defenses into our game plans. We’re thrilled to have her back for another season.”
One last thing
The Vikings host the Augustana Volleyball Classic at the Pentagon in Sanford on September 2-3. For more information on the classic, click here.