Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's volleyball team will begin preparations for the 2013 campaign and a march towards a potential NCAA Tournament berth for the fourth time in the last five years as student-athletes officially report to fall camp on Saturday (Aug. 17).
The Bulldogs will hold team and parent meetings along with the program's annual Serve It Up picnic as part of Saturday's activities prior to a team retreat. The team returns for testing on Monday morning with the squad's first official practice set for next Monday afternoon at the Ewigleben Sports Complex.
Regular weekday practices during the preseason will typically feature two per day until Friday, Aug. 30. Along with the normal preseason practices, the Bulldogs will also participate in several scrimmages before camp comes to a close. Team meetings, presentations and conditioning are also part of the scheduled preseason activities.
Ferris State officially opens its 2013 season on Friday, Sept. 6, with a pair of non-conference matches at the Ferris State Invitational in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs host California (Pa.) and Missouri-St. Louis in their first two matches of the tournament. FSU then concludes tourney play on Saturday, Sept. 7, with contests against Washburn (Kan.) and Cedarville (Ohio).
Ferris State wrapped up the 2012 campaign with a 24-8 overall record and reached the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals for the second consecutive year. FSU also posted a 16-2 mark in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division play and came within a single victory of claiming a second-straight conference championship.
The Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament three of the last four years to date.
Ferris State returns nearly 10 letterwinners for the 2013 season, including a pair of All-GLIAC selections in senior libero Brandie Merren (Hopkins) and junior outside hitter Courtney Rehm (Portage/Central). A year ago, Merren was tabbed as the GLIAC's Libero of the Year and also a Daktronics All-Midwest Region First Team honoree.
The Bulldogs are guided by head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm, who will embark on her 18th year at the Bulldog helm and 21st season overall as a collegiate head coach.