MCAC Volleyball: Northern Division '19 Preview

Central Lakes picked to win the MCAC North in coaches poll.
Central Lakes picked to win the MCAC North in coaches poll.

Winona, MN-

The 2019 volleyball season is shaping up to be a competitive and entertaining fall in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference. 

Ten of the 14 MCAC Volleyball teams gathered this past weekend in St. Cloud for an early season tournament to evaluate line-ups, learn about their teams and get a look at other squads around the Conference.  The group included three teams listed in the 2019 NJCAA Volleyball Division III Top Ten pre-season poll; #3 Central Lakes, #4 Rochester Community & Technical College and #9 M State-Fergus Falls.  Additionally, several teams had new mentors on the sidelines, including Minnesota West (Brittney McNab), Hibbing Community College (Kasey Palmer), Ridgewater College (Erica Smith) and Northland Community & Technical College (Abdul Chamma). Three programs not attending the Showcase will also feature new head coaches this season: Vermilion Community College (Nicki Kosik) Riverland Community College (Ashley Lau) and Anoka-Ramsey (Brandon Bader).

Prior to the Crossover, Conference coaches submited their previews of their teams and their opinions on how the 2019 Divisional races may play out.  In the coaches poll, teams were not able to list their own teams and ranked only the programs in their Division.  The MCAC Northern Division Coaches Poll results are as follows: 

MCAC Northern Division Coaches Poll

1) Central Lakes College

2) Mesabi Range College

T 3) Hibbing Community College 

T 3) Northland Community & Technical College 

4) Itasca Community College 

5) Rainy River Community College 

6) Vermilion Community College 

7) Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College 


Read on the 2019 MCAC Volleyball preview, with program descriptions as provided by head coaches.  

MCAC Northern Division Volleyball: 

Central Lakes College:







Brainerd, MN


 CLC Volleyball helped lead the first "Girls Empowerment Day" on campus as a part of their pre-season preparations. 

Head Coach, Years at HC: Jane Peterson,  29th season 661-271 Overall

Assistant Coaches: Ken Miller, Assistant Coach

2018 Season Record: 27-6 Overall, 12-0 MCAC Northern Division, 4th place at NJCAA Division III National Championships

Key Returning Athletes: Hailey Tilharik, L, Onamia MN; Maggi Fellerman, MH, Aitkin MN; Sydney Berg, OH, Little Falls, MN; Kylie Porter, S, Pierz MN; Sydney Forbord, MH, Onamia MN

Key Incoming Athletes: Haley Schleper, MH, St cloud; Jade Porter, OH, Pierz; Nicole Kortan, OH, Sauk Centre;

Coach Peterson on Raider Volleyball in '19: "Our expectations are to have a great team culture, learn and grow every day, have a growth mindset, compete freely. We have a well rounded group with experience at all positions."

Notable for Central Lakes Volleyball this Season: "Unusual that we have two transfers who have a good chance to contribute. Morgan Balder (Hibbing CC); Lexi Vox (Ridgewater)." - Jane Peterson

More on Central Lakes College Volleyball:

Campus & Local Media Resources:

Brainerd Dispatch

Mesabi Range College


Virginia, MN

          Head Coach Sara Matuszak enters her second year on the Norse sideline in '19


Head Coach: Sara Matuszak, 2nd Season, 14-10 Overall

Assistant Coaches & Staff: Jesse Bennett, Assistant Coach / Statistican

2018 Season Recap: 14-10 Overall; 7-5, 3rd in MCAC Northern Division regular season;  Region XIIIB Tournament Finalist

Key Returning Athletes: Haley Hansen, MH/MB, Iron,MN; Montana Baker, OH, Walker, MN; Kamini Bowman, DS, Virginia, MN

Key Incoming Athletes: Sarah Voss, Setter, Virginia, MN; Madisen Overbye, OH, Mt. Iron, MN; Taylor Mejdrich, OH, Orr, MN; Hanna Sandberg, DS/L, Cook, MN; Morgan Rock, DS, Port Wing, WI; Isabella Mattila, RH, Virginia MN.

Coach Matuszak on the 2019 MRC Volleyball Season: "We finished as runner up in the Region XIIIB tournament last season. We are hoping to be competitive in the region, return to the region tournament and compete for the region championship."

Campus & Local Media Contacts: 

Mesabi Daily News, Virginia MN

Jim Romsaas, Sports Editor,

Mesabi Range College Communications

Brenda Kochevar,

Kevin Langdon,


Hibbing Community College 


Hibbing, MN


Former Cardinal standout Kasey Palmer takes over HCC this fall. 

Head Coach: Kasey Palmer, 1st year, 0-0

Assistant Coaches & Staff: Mike Flaten, Athletic Director

2018 Season Recap: 13-11 Overall, 6-6 in MCAC Northern Division, 4th Place South, NJCAA XIIIB Region Tournament qualifier

Key Returning Athlete: Kylah Lind, MH, Hibbing MN

Key Incoming Athletes: Sophie Howard, OH, Hibbing Mn; Kaylyn Bowen, MH, Rush City MN; Breeze Bergland, S, Deer River MN

Coach Palmer: "With only one returning player, we have a lot of opportunity to continue to grow and mature throughout the season."

Notable on HCC Volleyball: New coach Kasey Palmer - a HCC alum - will also coach the Cardinal women's basketball team in 2019-20.

Campus & Local Media Contacts: 

Hibbing Daily Tribune

Mike Flaten, Athletic Director, HCC 

Northland Community & Technical College


Two-sport standout Carly Mekash returns to the Pioneers; Mekash earned All-Region honors in volleyball and basketball last year.                   

Head Coach: Abdul Nour Chamma (Interim in 2019)

Assistant Coaches: Michelle Skjerven

2018 Season Recap: 20 - 6 Overall;  10-2 MCAC Northern Division; NJCAA Region XIIIB Tournament Qualifier. 

Key Incoming Athletes: Emmie Jacobson, MH. Greenbush, MN, Libby Johnson. RS Goodridge, MN

Key Returning Athletes: Carly Meksh, OH Greenbush, MN. Molly Hanson, S. Grand Forks, ND

Coach Chamma on the 2019 Pioneer squad: "Practice hard on passing. Communication"

Campus & Local Media Contacts

KTRF Radio

NCTC Athletics:


Itasca Community College



Grand Rapids, MN

                                                            Head coach and women's athletic director Leslie Reed enters her 19th season in Grand Rapids


Head Coach: Leslie Reed, 19th season, 271-232

Assistant Coaches: Emily Kessler & Emily Rothstein

2018 Season Recap: 7-15 Overall, 3-8 MCAC Northern Division, 6th place regular season.

Key Returning Athletes: Danica Fairbanks, RSH, Deer River, MN

Key Incoming Athletes: Brianna Sutherland, OH/MH, Grand Rapids, MN; Karley Hansen, MH, Greenway

Coach Reed on the 2019 Viking Volleyball Season: "With only one returning sophomore, we will be a very young team."


Campus & Local Media Resources: 

Grand Rapids Herald Review, Grand Rapids, MN

Itasca CC Communications- 

Bill Marshall,


Rainy River Community College



Veteran head coach Mel Millerbernd will look to replace two-time All-Division athlete Alison Satre.

Head Coach: Mel Millerbernd, 31 years at RRCC, 446-429 Overall

Assistant Coach: Erin Hall

2018 Season Recap: 8-18 overall, 5th Place MCAC North

Key Returning Athletes: Bianca Carlson, Setter, Int'l Falls, MN;

Key Incoming Athletes: Mariah Leahy, Hitter, Int'l Falls, MN;

Coach Millerbernd: "Work hard - Improve every day!"


Voyaguers Competing at Four-Year Colleges in 2019: Tionna Terry at NCAA Div. III Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, MN.


Former Voyaguer Tionna Terry takes the court for

NCAA Division III Bethany Lutheran College

as a senior in 2019.

Campus & Local Media Contacts: 

The Journal, International Falls

Colton Jeffries,

Will Heyer -

Rainy River CC: 

Tammy Cook -

Molly Nelson -

Vermilion Community College



Nicki Kosik will lead the Vermilion volleyball &

  women's basketball teams in 2019-20                 

 Head Coach: Nicki Kosik, 1st year

2018 Season: 1-18 Overall; 8th MCAC Northern Division

Key Returning Athletes: Lauren Huchel, OH, Duluth, MN; Elizabeth Hintze, MB, Coon Rapids, MN; Crystal Stignani, Shafer, MN

Coach Kosik on Vermilion Volleyball in 2019: "We are looking to rebuild a program through our hard work and dedication to improving every day."

 More on Vermilion Community College at:


Campus & Local Media Resources:

Ely Echo:

Duluth News Tribune:


Dave Harwig Photos



Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College 



Head coach Laura Sylvester heads into her 9th 

season this fall at FDLTCC


Head Coach: Laura Sylvester, 9th season

List Assistant Coaches, Staff, &/or other supporting professionals you wish to recognize in this Preview: none

Key Incoming Athletes: Lexis Kunz, M, Floodwood, MN; Sara Miller, OH, East Central, MN;

Coach Sylvester on Thunder Volleyball in 2019: "Excited to compete in a very strong conference. Players are working hard and bettering better everyday."


More on FDLTCC Volleyball:


Campus & Local Media Resources: 

Pine Journal, Cloquet, MN Jamey Malcomb,

Duluth News Tribune:


Dave Harwig Photos




The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, as well as select member colleges in North Dakota and Wisconsin.  The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions.  The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.

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