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DSU volleyball coach Bronte adds 6 more recruits

After coaching much of her first season at Dickinson State with just 10 players, volleyball head coach Maura Bronte is hoping doubling that figure will lead to a much happier season.

Bronte announced Thursday the signing of six more players to NAIA letters of intent, giving her 12 total players in the 2012 recruiting class.

"We definitely gained some flexibility, bringing in the left sides and right sides," Bronte said. "It lets me shuffle them around where I need them to be, so I can keep them on the court. I'm excited. We definitely have depth we didn't have last year."

Bronte's first season was one she'll always remember, but for dubious reasons. The Blue Hawks had a 0-26 record in 2011. Looking back, Bronte said she feels a lot of that had to do with the team's lack of depth and in its inability to hold proper scrimmages and battle for positions.

She expects that to change next season.

The Blue Hawks will add four transfers and two incoming freshman to the group of six junior college transfers they announced in May.

"It's going to be a very different look than last year," Bronte said. "A lot of new faces starting on the court."

Heading the list are twin sisters Natalie Gonzales and Priscilla Frias of Mt. San Jacinto (Calif.) College.

Gonzales, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, was a second team all-Foothill Conference selection last season as a sophomore. Frias, a 5-10 right side, was all-conference as a freshman but an injury sidelined her as a sophomore.

"We definitely brought in more of an offensive threat this round," Bronte said. "... Both can hammer the ball."

Gonazles ranked second on Mt. San Jancinto's team in kills and digs.

Other transfers include Kelly O'Connor and Michelle Galli.

O'Connor is a 5-10 setter/right side from Sundance, Wyo., who transfers to DSU from the University of Great Falls (Mont.), a future Frontier Conference opponent. She played in only four matches for the Argonauts last year and will be a junior.

Galli is a middle hitter from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif.

Two freshmen who Bronte hope can help build the program are Meghan Meyer, a libero/outside hitter from Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colo., and Erika Armitage, a 5-9 outside hitter/middle hitter from LaMoure.

"Megan and Erika are going to be the future of the program," Bronte said.

The Blue Hawks report for fall practices Aug. 5. They open the season Aug. 17 at Mayville State.

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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