Acker, Heise and Giordano earn First-Team All-Region honors
Five Mustangs earn all-conference accolades
SMU locks in only coach in program history for at least three more seasons
Caroline Young earned three awards including MVP
SMU Dig Pink
THE SEIFERT FILE • 20 Seasons as SMU Head Coach • 10 All-America Selections • 14 All-Region Selections • 46 All-Conference Honors • One Conference Player of the Year • Three Conference Position Players of the Year • One CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year • 80 Academic All-Conference Honors • Four AVCA Academic Team Awards • 2015 AVCA Region and American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year • 2003 WAC Coach of the Year • Member of the AVCA Coaches' Poll Committee • Member of the Northeast Regional Advisory Committee • Former Member of the NCAA West Committee • Served as the Mid-West Region Awards Chair • 25 players Nationally-Ranked in the Top-50 since 2000 • All-Region Team Selection Committee • All-America Selection Committee • 2008 Freshman Recruiting Class Ranked 46th By PrepVolleyball.com • 2010 Inductee into the St. Francis High School Hall of Fame • Elected in 2013 by her peers to serve as the President of the League Coaches for the newly-formed American Athletic Conference
Since the program's inception in 1996, Lisa Seifert has served as the lone coach of the SMU Volleyball program. Seifert, entering her 21st season (2016) with the Mustangs, has built SMU from the early beginnings into a team in the national spotlight. She has coached players to 46 All-Conference honors and 10 All-America selections. Mustang athletes have not only excelled on the court under Seifert, but also in the classroom, where 79 student-athletes have been awarded Academic All-Conference Honors. The 2015 season featured another record year, with SMU winning its first conference championship, advancing to the NCAA Tournament, and setting a program record with 27 wins, finishing 27-6 and 17-3 in the American Athletic Conference.
Building a program from the ground up is an arduous process, but Seifert has laid the ground work for a volleyball program that continues to rise. As the veritable architect of the SMU Volleyball program, Coach Seifert has overseen the Mustangs rise over the beginning hurdles to a team of national prominence.
Seifert's first SMU team, composed of freshmen and a pair of junior college transfers, fought its way to being only one win away from earning the final seed in the 1996 WAC Tournament.
Fifteen years later, the 2010 squad set a school record with 25 wins, going 25-6 overall, including an 11-2 mark in Moody Coliseum. The 80.6 win percentage posted by Seifert's squad ranked 21st nationally. SMU finished second in Conference USA with a 17-3 mark. Seifert guided junior Dana Powell to a second-straight All-America Honorable Mention while garnering First Team All-Midwest Region accolades, and Jessica Oliver earned All-Midwest Region Honorable Mention. Five Mustangs earned All-C-USA honors, the most since the 2001 team earned five All-WAC awards.
The team came just one block away from tying the 2009 single-season record, recording 316.5 total blocks. It was just the second time in program history the Mustangs eclipsed 300 blocks. The Mustangs finished the season 28th in the country in blocks per set with 2.55, led by sophomore Courtney Manning, who set the SMU single-season record with 162 total blocks. Behind junior libero Sidney Stewart, SMU was 14th in the NCAA in digs per set with 17.65. Stewart had 578 digs, climbing to the top of the SMU all-time chart.
In 2011, four Mustangs earned All-C-USA honors, including Dana Powell who was selected to all-conference teams all four years. Seifert guided SMU to a 15-17 overall record and an 11-9 mark in C-USA matches. The Mustangs were the only team to defeat conference champion Tulsa, sweeping the two matches with the Golden Hurricane. Courtney Manning led the NCAA in blocks with 184 and was named All-Midwest Region Honorable Mention.
Sophomore Caroline Young led a youthful team in 2012, earning All-America honors after scoring 397 kills, including a career-high 26 at UCF. Courtney Manning finished her career as the all-time leader in blocks at SMU with 579 blocks, second all-time in C-USA history. Seifert coached the squad, which consisted of five newcomers in the rotation to an 11-20 record. Olivia Bailey was named to the C-USA All-Academic team, finishing the season fifth in the league in assists.
In 2013, Seifert guided the Mustangs to a second-place finish in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference, posting a 22-9 record overall and 14-4 mark in league matches. Seifert's starting rotation included five freshmen and sophomores, including freshman libero Morgan Heise. Sophomore Avery Acker became the fourth player in five seasons to earn All-America honors, and was one of five all-conference selections. Acker was also named Setter of the Year in The American.
The Mustangs consistently lead the league in defense, finishing no lower than third in total blocks and outside the top three in digs only twice since joining Conference USA in 2005, but the 2010 team was the first to lead the conference in both categories. While SMU has led C-USA in blocks three times, 2010 was the first time the Mustangs led the league in digs. SMU finished at the top of the Western Athletic Conference in digs in 1999 and 2003.
The Mustangs finished 15-19 in 1997, marking an eight-win improvement from the 1996 squad. SMU won its WAC Quad in 1997, and impressively posted a 5-1 record against Rice, TCU, Tulsa and NCAA Tournament qualifier Arkansas-Little Rock during the year. SMU followed with a 14-17 record in 1998.
The 1999 season was monumental in Mustang history as SMU eclipsed 20-win mark by posting a 20-13 record, despite a demanding schedule that featured nine matches against NCAA Tournament teams. It was the Mustangs' first taste of national prominence as a program. The team accomplished many firsts during the year, including the team's first winning record and an at-the-time school-best 9-3 home record. During the season, Seifert reached a milestone of her own when she earned her 50th coaching victory during SMU's 3-1 win at Rice on Oct. 28, 1999.
In 2000, SMU set a program record for attendance when 1,455 fans witnessed the Mustangs' 3-0 sweep of the Texas Longhorns in Moody Coliseum. The win not only solidified the Mustangs' place as a contender in the state of Texas, but also marked its first win over one of the nation's most elite programs.Seifert also graduated her first four-year class in 2001, with a pair of Mustangs, Leslie Olson and Erin Pryor, ending their careers ranked among WAC career leaders in assists and kills.
The 2001 campaign saw SMU notch its first win over a regionally-ranked foe, when the Mustangs edged San Jose State, 3-2. The team finished with a winning record and had five All-WAC selections, including all three seniors, with two Mustangs, Tara Hatfield and Janna Newsom, becoming the first players to gather All-WAC first-team honors.
With the loss of the three key seniors, the Mustangs entered into rebuilding mode in 2002, with four freshmen seeing significant playing time. Seifert still managed the Mustangs to 12 wins and a WAC Tournament berth despite the inexperienced roster. The playing time gained by the youthful roster laid the foundation for success in the coming years.
SMU once again rose to prominence during the 2003 season as Seifert's team won 23 games with five of her players being named All-WAC athletes. Seifert was rewarded as WAC Coach of the Year for having led the Ponies to an amazing 11-2 conference record and the Eastern Division Championship.
The 2004 season saw the Mustangs complete its final season in the WAC while battling injuries to key players. SMU ended the season at 14-14 with Beth Karasek being named a unanimous All-WAC selection.
In 2005, SMU saw a transition into another conference as the Mustangs joined Conference USA. The Mustangs depended on the combination of a consistent returning class and the addition of talented newcomers to guide them through the season. The Mustangs went 13-16 overall and 8-7 in their inaugural season of C-USA. The team notched the nation's 23rd-highest number of digs per game while freshman Natalie Peters ranked 34th in the nation in blocks per game.
In 2006, the Seifert-led Mustangs compiled an overall record of 17-15 and notched several milestones in the process. The 2006 season saw SMU host its first nationally-televised match at Moody Coliseum on Nov. 10, when the Mustangs hosted Houston. With a win over UTA on Sept. 1, the Mustangs along with Seifert recorded the program's 150th win. Junior outside hitter Rachel Giubilato led the Mustangs and was ranked nationally in kills per game. Freshmen Kendra Kahanek and Candice Davis joined Giubilato in rewriting the SMU record book in more than 10 different statistical categories.
SMU started the season with a then program-best six wins, including a victory over Texas Tech, to kick off the 2007 season. The Ponies were 10-3 heading into the championship match at the New Hampshire Invitational, when outside hitter and team captain Giubilato went down with a career-ending knee injury. The Mustangs were forced to rely heavily on All-Freshman outside hitter Kathryn Wilkerson and senior co-captain Caitlin Rainbird. Seifert's team accumulated numerous statistically meaningful performances during the year, compiled a 16-15 overall record and progressed to the C-USA Tournament.
The 2008 rotation, led by two seniors and two juniors, saw four freshman regularly in the starting lineup. The Mustangs went 14-17 on the season, but the experience and maturity gained by the four freshmen firmly established the foundation for success in the following years.
The 2009 season saw a Seifert-led squad produce an impressive 19-12 record behind the program's first All-American Honorable Mentions in sophomore Dana Powell and senior Kendra Kahanek. As a whole, the Mustangs' defense set a SMU single-season record with 317.5 blocks in just 121 games, while minimizing its opponents to 223.5 team blocks. The Mustangs were particularly tough at home, winning 12 of 14 games in Moody Coliseum.
Seifert joined SMU after six years as assistant coach at Texas Tech. The Lady Raiders compiled an overall record of 128-62 during Seifert's tenure, with NCAA tournament appearances from 1990-92 and regional semifinal berths in 1990 and 1991. A 1978 graduate of Saint Francis (Minn.) High School, Seifert held volleyball, softball, track and basketball coaching jobs at several different colleges and high schools in Colorado, Wisconsin and Minnesota from 1982-86.
In addition to coaching, Seifert serves as the chair for the D1 Midwest Region Awards responsible for the AVCA All-Region and All-America selections.
Seifert earned her B.S. in physical education in 1983 from Winona State (Minn.) University, where she played volleyball and softball, and added a master's degree in physical education from Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 1987.