By Sandy Gholston - Special Writer for the GLIAC
BAY CITY, Mich – The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (GLIAC) success in volleyball was highlighted again last season as its top programs continued to perform at a high level.
Northwood University reigned supreme as GLIAC regular season and tournament champs in 2012, proving the GLIAC preseason poll wrong. Picked to finish seventh before the season, the Timberwolves completed its regular-season conference slate with 17 wins in 18 attempts and won the conference tournament. It was the program’s best GLIAC record in history. NU featured sophomore outside hitter Juliia Pakhomenko, a sophomore, as the GLIAC “Player of the Year,” and Tim Koth, as the GLIAC “Coach of the Year.”
2013 GLIAC Volleyball
School (1st votes)
|2.||Ferris State (2)||42|
|4.||Grand Valley State||35|
|6.||Saginaw Valley State||18|
|2.||Wayne State (3)||44|
Northwood finished 26-7 overall, but it was far from the only GLIAC program to turn in a strong season. NU was one of six GLIAC teams to win 20 or more matches. Grand Valley State University earned 25 wins, featuring GLIAC “Freshman of the Year” Betsy Ronda; 2012 South Division Champs, Ashland University and Ferris State University, featuring GLIAC “Libero of the Year” Brandie Merren, earned 24, Malone University won 23 and Northern Michigan University won 20. So, the top-to-bottom strength of the GLIAC remains in effect as proven by the number of strong overall records.
Ashland, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Hillsdale College and Northwood represented the GLIAC in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Ashland, Ferris and Hillsdale advanced to the semifinals and the Chargers advanced to the regional championship match before it was stopped by Indianapolis, 3-0.
-- The following are previews of all 16 GLIAC Volleyball teams for the 2013 season --
Head Coach: Cass Dixon
2013 Preseason Pick: 1st S
2012 Record: (24-9, 12-6 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Strengthened by seven returning letter winners, and coming off an outstanding record of 24-9 overall in 2012, expectations are again running high this for the Eagles. Ashland ended last season with a record of 12-6 in the GLIAC as it finished fourth overall and first in the league’s South Division under head coach Cass Dixon. Following up a successful regular season, the Eagles journeyed back to the NCAA Division II Tournament. Helping to build off last season’s success, while also setting the stage for the program’s continued success, the Eagles successfully recruited a strong class to join the program, beginning this season. The solid recruiting class, combined will complement the returning letter winners in a mission to keep Ashland near the top of the highly-competitive GLIAC.
PLAYERS: Returning Ashland starters include middle blocker/outside hitter Baley Bernthisel, who averaged 2.45 kills per set for a total of 245 last season. Outside hitter Kate Eckels averaged 2.24 kills per set for a total of 260 during the Eagles’ strong 2012 campaign. Other returning starters include middle blocker Maureen Johnson (154 kills), outside hitter Marci Zegarac, middle blocker Susie Jonas and defensive specialist Megan Rohlfs, who finished the 2012 season with 324 digs. Other returners for the Eagles include middle blocker Audrey Metzger, outside hitter Shannon Murdock and defensive specialist Madison Haupricht. Ashland also welcomes a six-player recruiting class for the upcoming season.
COACH: Cass Dixon is entering her third season as head coach of the Eagles.
OF INTEREST: During the 2012 season, the Ashland volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Ferris State Bulldogs
Head Coach: Tia Wilhelm
2013 Preseason Pick: 2nd N
2012 Record: (24-8, 16-2 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Expectations are high for Ferris
State as it looks toward the 2013 campaign. A season ago, the
Bulldogs finished 24-8 overall and reached the NCAA Division II
Midwest Regional semifinals round for the second consecutive
season. Prior to tournament competition, the Bulldogs finished 16-2
during the league’s regular-season schedule and came within a
single victory of claiming a second straight league title.
Strengthened by a blend of experienced and youthful talent, the
Bulldogs are geared up to remain near the top of the conference.
Junior Courtney Rehm, a 6-2 outside hitter, and senior Brandie
Merren are expected to be key leaders for Ferris this fall.
PLAYERS: In all, Ferris returns 10 letter winners from the 2012 season. The Bulldogs welcome back Merren, a libero, and Rehm, an outside hitter and former GLIAC Freshman of the Year, as leaders of the team. Merren and Rehm earned All-GLIAC recognition last season and Merren went on to earn Daktronics All-Midwest Region accolades. The Bulldogs also welcome back 6-2 middle hitter Angi Kent and sophomore outside hitter Megan Vander Meer. Ferris also is excited about a recruiting class that features 6-1 Alexis Huntey, a redshirt sophomore who transferred into the Ferris program, along with freshmen Kaley Konjarevich, an outside hitter; Stephanie Sikorski, an outside hitter/setter; Aspen Stuedemann, a middle hitter; and Elle Humphries, an outside/middle hitter.
COACH: Tia Brandel-Wilhelm will enter her 18th season as head coach of the Bulldogs and her 21st season, overall, as a head coach at the college level.
OF INTEREST: Ferris recorded its 15th consecutive winning season, in 2012, with a record of 24-8 overall.
Head Coach: Wick Colchagoff
2013 Preseason Pick: 3rd S
2012 Record: (14-17, 10-8 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: After qualifying for the GLIAC
Tournament for the first time since 2007, the Oilers are hopeful
that the return of an experienced lineup that includes all but one
starter will translate into success. Last season, Findlay finished
14-17 overall and 10-8 in league play, but is enthusiastic as it is
led by senior Danielle Taflinger, who became the first Oiler
volleyball player to earn NCAA Division II All-American honors.
Senior Mackenzie Vorst, junior Samantha Granger and sophomore
Lindsy Reindel are part of that group that has earned
PLAYERS: Taflinger, who earned AVCA Honorable Mention All-American honors last season, also was named All-GLIAC First Team and all-region. Taflinger totaled 310 kills with a .352 hitting percentage last season. She also was a force, defensively, as she totaled 108 total blocks with 31 digs. She is the school’s career record holder in hitting percentage, at .348, and ranks 11th all-time in blocks, with 283 entering the season. Vorst earned honorable mention all-league accolades last season as she finished with 210 kills, 125 digs and 37 total blocks in just 21 matches before her season ended due to injury. Granger and Reindel finished with 193 and 139 kills, respectively. At setter, junior Amanda Calhoun is back after finishing with 1,059 assists and 259 digs. The defensive group is led by senior Jacqui Endre, senior Brittany Hall and sophomore Becca Shoemaker. Last fall, Shoemaker led the team with 309 digs while Endre had 274 and Hall 260.
COACH: Wick Colchagoff has a record of 311-197 in 16 years as the head coach of Findlay.
OF INTEREST: Findlay volleyball team received the American Volleyball Coaches Association Academic Award for achievement in the classroom. The Oilers were one of 77 teams at the NCAA Division II level to earn the award.
Grand Valley State Lakers
Head Coach: Deanne Scanlon
2013 Preseason Pick: 3rd N
2012 Record: (25-8, 13-5 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Grand Valley State is coming off another strong season in the program’s volleyball history. In 2012, the Lakers finished 25-8 overall and 13-5 in the GLIAC. GVSU finished as runner up in the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the 13th time in school history. Long-time head coach Deanne Scanlon’s Lakers welcome back three all-conference players, including the reigning GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Betsy Ronda. Abby Aiken, a junior outside hitter; Clair Ruhenkamp, a junior setter, and Megan Schroeder, a senior right-side hitter, are among the key returners.
PLAYERS: In 2012, Ronda totaled 390 kills and 390 digs in addition to 44 blocks and 32 service aces. Those numbers helped Ronda put her name in the GVSU history books as she is the first Laker freshman to be named to the All-GLIAC First Team. Aiken, who earned second-team All-GLIAC last season, finished with 364 kills, 157 digs, and 31 total blocks. Ruhenkamp, who earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention accolades during each of the last two seasons, totaled 1,181 assists last season with 303 digs and 19 service aces. Schroeder is another returning starter who posted 293 kills and 66 total blocks as a junior. Christina Canepa, a junior, is back at libero. Canepa earned 478 digs, fourth-most in the conference. The Lakers talent is youthful with 13 underclassmen and only two seniors. GVSU welcomes five newcomers to the team this fall – four freshman and a junior college transfer.
COACH: Deanne Scanlon is entering her 19th season as the head coach at Grand Valley State.
OF INTEREST: Coach Scanlon’s overall GVSU record is 468-143 with a .766 winning percentage, the 10th best all-time figure in NCAA Division II.
Head Coach: Chris Gravel
2013 Preseason Pick: 3rd N
2012 Record: (17-16, 11-7 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Hillsdale enters the 2013 season confident in the direction that the program is headed. The Chargers put together a 17-16 record in 2012 against a challenging schedule. Hillsdale’s 2012 opponents boasted a combined winning percentage of .677, with more than half its opponents finishing with at least 20 wins. The Chargers remained highly competitive in spite of losing seven seniors from the 2011 season. Additionally, Hillsdale had as many as five freshmen getting significant playing time. While that could be considered grounds for a rebuilding season, Hillsdale remained competitive in spite of its youth and the reality of competition that defined one of the nation’s toughest schedules.
PLAYERS: Seniors Sydney Lenhart, Bekah Draves, Kaleigh Shuster and Caitlin Kopmeyer bring a wealth of experience and leadership to the team. Lenhart has played setter, defensive specialist and libero throughout her career, and her versatility will be important for Gravel when filling out his lineups. Draves is a force on both sides and is a tough matchup for many teams at her position. Shuster sat out during the 2012 season due to injury, but was a key player for Hillsdale during its long postseason run in 2011. Her versatility is a strength, with her ability to pass from the back row and hit from the front. Kopmeyer is one of the finest all-around players in the conference, and is well within reach of becoming the first player in the rally score era to ever accumulate 800 career digs and 800 career kills.
COACH: Chris Gravel is entering his 18th season as the head volleyball coach at Hillsdale College.
OF INTEREST: Charger coach Chris Gravel doesn’t have to look far for great support from his coaching staff. His wife of 16 years, associate head coach Stephanie Gravel is also in her 17th season on the Charger volleyball coaching staff. Stephanie Gravel played collegiately at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, later transferring to Grand Valley where she was a two-year captain for the Lakers.
Lake Erie Storm
Head Coach: Andy Risenberg
2013 Preseason Pick: 8th S
2012 Record: (3-24, 0-18 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: On Dec. 12, 2012, a new chapter in the history of the Lake Erie College volleyball program started with the hiring of Andy Riesenberg as head coach. Riesenberg became the 18th head coach in the program’s history. With a new coaching staff comes a transition period for the coaches and the players. Fortunately, Risenberg was able to join the program relatively soon after the fall season and work with the players through the spring season to be ready for the fall 2012 campaign. The cupboard is not bare for the coaches. Jamie Hoppe is one of the players who will give fans something to be excited about as they prepare for the start of the season.
PLAYERS: Hoppe could be the top returning player for the Storm after earning All-GLIAC Honorable Mention team selection during her junior season. Hoppe finished last season with 190 kills and totaled 155 digs with 23 total blocks. Molly Richardson is also back after a strong junior year during which she totaled 178 kills, 52 digs and 29 total blocks. Junior Samantha Knepley’s 2012 season as setter included 470 assists. Sara Aultz is also back this season, her junior year, after finishing with 164 kills. At defensive specialist, Kathryn Ferry is back after a solid freshman season during which she totaled 80 digs.
COACH: Andy Risenberg is in his first season as the head volleyball coach at Lake Erie College.
OF INTEREST: Riesenberg most recently served as a volunteer assistant coach and video coordinator at Auburn University where he worked primarily in the areas of scouting and film coordination while also assisting with practice planning and day-to-day operations.
Lake Superior State Lakers
Head Coach: Jennifer Constantino
2013 Preseason Pick: 8th S
2012 Record: (4-25, 1-17 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: It’s the start of a new era in
Lake Superior State volleyball history as Jennifer Constantino was
introduced as the new head coach. She takes over a Laker program
that finished with a record of 4-25 overall. The program welcomes
back six players with starting experience. Constantino’s
mission is to build team chemistry quickly and to help the team she
inherited reach its full potential this season. Constantino
announced her first recruiting class in July as she signed Sault
High School middle hitter Jackie Holt as well as Jen Marren,
Brooklyn Gerber and Justice Kjolhede.
PLAYERS: Junior libero Meghan Drobish is among a group that could be called upon to lead the Lakers this season on and off the court.
Drobish, who earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors last season, led the team with 399 digs and ranked second on the team in service reception percentage (.939). Emily Snyder, a senior middle/outside hitter; Gabrielle Olsen, a 6-1 middle hitter; Chloe Balanda, a 6-1 right-side/outside hitter; and Sydne McMullen, a sophomore middle hitter also return. Snyder finished with 191 kills last season while Olsen added 177, Balanda 139 and McMullen 118.
COACH: Jennifer Constantino is in her first season as the head volleyball coach at Lake Superior State. She was 29-30 during two seasons as head coach at Quincy.
OF INTEREST: Constantino earned a law degree from Villanova in 2007.
Head Coach: Tonya Hockman
2013 Preseason Pick: 4th S
2012 Record: (23-13, 11-7 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: In its first season in the GLIAC last fall, the Malone volleyball team competed extremely well throughout the 2012 season. The Pioneers enjoyed a strong 23-13 overall record and an 11-7 record within the conference. They will set out in 2013 to once again prove they are a force to be reckoned with inside of the highly-competitive GLIAC and, in general, NCAA Division II volleyball.
PLAYERS: Replacing the loss of three critical seniors from last year’s squad in Jackie Schwamberger, Hannah Haver and Diana Wallace will not be easy but head coach Tanya Hockman, who enters her 15th year at the helm, feels confident that they have the pieces in place to replace this tremendous trio. Senior middle hitter Lauren Townley is back for her senior season. Last season, she led Malone with 343 kills last season. Townley led them in blocks with 102, and in service aces, with 36. Sopomore Elizabeth Maczuzak and freshman Haley Kool add depth in the middle. On the outside, sophomores Sarah Brent and Heather Papp, along with junior Glendale Community College (Ariz.) transfer Sarah Stone. On the back row, Katie Hasebein, the team’s libero, totaled 283 digs last season. Senior Allison Kirby is back after leading the team with 338 digs. Senior Kimberly McCracken returns with a year of preparation to possibly assume setter duties.
COACH: Tanya Hockman enters her 15th season as the head volleyball coach at Malone.
OF INTEREST: The Pioneers have fared extremely well under Hockman. The team has won at least 20 victories in 13 of the last 14 seasons.
Michigan Tech Huskies
Head Coach: Matt Jennings
2013 Preseason Pick: 7th N
2012 Record: (12-19, 7-11 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: After winning 10 more matches in 2012 than the previous season, Michigan Tech is looking to continue its progression toward the top of the GLIAC North Division. The Huskies posted a record of 12-19 overall and 7-11 in the GLIAC in 2013. While Tech played to a winning record at home at 5-4, it amassed a 2-10 slate on the road and broke even in neutral site competition (5-5). With nearly everyone back in the lineup from a year ago, Tech hopes to improve in each of those situations this fall. Momentum from a three-match winning streak (3-2 over Hillsdale, 3-0 over Lake Superior State and 3-2 over Saginaw Valley State) to end 2012 should help.
PLAYERS: Setter Madeline Haben returns for her senior season in 2013 after putting up 1,068 assists a year ago. Junior outside hitter Shelby Jones, an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection last season, led the team in kills (365) and ranked seventh in the GLIAC in kills per set (3.14). Other key starters returning are Sylvie Rokosh, a sophomore middle blocker who ranked second on the team in kills (257), sophomore Aubrey Havlichek (233 kills) and junior Jordanna Kero (169 kills). Jacqueline Aird finished sixth in league in digs per set (4.06) in 2012.
COACH: Matt Jennings enters his second season as the head volleyball coach at Michigan Tech.
OF INTEREST: Jennings was named the seventh volleyball coach in school history Jan. 27, 2012, after serving as both a head and assistant coach, including the last three seasons as an assistant women’s volleyball coach at NCAA Division I University of Pittsburgh of the Big East.
Northern Michigan Wildcats
Head Coach: Dominic Yoder
2013 Preseason Pick: 5th N
2012 Record: (20-12, 12-6 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Coming off of its 10th straight winning campaign, Northern Michigan is hungry for even more success on the volleyball court. NMU returns 10 players from the 2012 team that finished 20-12 overall and 12-6 in GLIAC competition for fifth place. The Wildcats figure to lean heavily on a class of five seniors as its team leaders in Sarah Hamilton, Kellisha Harley, Kalli Herron, Lina Lopes and Suzy Solin. While that experience will be important, NMU will look to some younger players in its program to step up and balance the lineup this fall.
PLAYERS: Lopes, a left-side hitter, finished last season with 379 kills and 45 service aces. She ranked second on the team in digs with 312. The Brazil native earned All-GLIAC First Team honors, in 2012, after earning all-league honorable mention honors in 2011 and the conference’s freshman of the year award in 2010. Herron, who plays the middle and left side, is back for her senior season. She ranked second on the team in kills and blocks last season with 360 and 83, respectively. Harley, a first-team All-GLIAC pick a season ago, tallied 1,290 assists to lead the conference and finished 10th in school history. Sophomore Lisa Studnicka is coming off a solid freshman season, in 2012, and could be even better in 2013. Solin is back for her senior season after registering 114 digs last season. An additional trio of sophomores that saw significant playing time, Alexis Nelson, Alex Berger and Lindsey Keough, return on the back line for the Wildcats.
COACH: Dominic Yoder enters his seventh season as the head volleyball coach of Northern Michigan University.
OF INTEREST: Northern Michigan University will play 31 matches during the 2013 season, including 13 at home and three tournaments.
Head Coach: Tim Koth
2013 Preseason Pick: 1st N
2012 Record: (26-7, 17-1 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Northwood is coming off of a tremendous 2012 season as the Timberwolves finished with a record of 26-7 overall and 17-1 in GLIAC play, winning the league regular season and tournament championships. Northwood’s success was evident in the GLIAC post-season awards as Juliia Pakhomenko was named GLIAC Player of the Year while Tim Koth was named GLIAC Coach of the Year. NU’s dominance, in a league as tough as the GLIAC, was demonstrated with a conference record that featured just one loss. Pakhomenko earned all-league first team honors while setter Jordan Dunn, outside hitter Zina Liubymova and Tatjana Rajic earned second team honors. Ally Hoomaian earned all-league honorable mention accolades.
PLAYERS: The Timberwolves were led last season by Pakhomenko, who had an outstanding junior season as she earned AVCA First Team All-America recognition for her play. Pakhomenko, in her first year with the Timberwolves, led the league in aces with 57 and totaled 476 kills, which ranked her second in the conference. Also back for Northwood is Jordan Dunn, a senior setter; Kristin Perschon, a senior middle blocker; Hoomaian, a senior outside hitter and her sister Erin Hoomaian, a junior libero.
COACH: Tim Koth is entering his 10th season as the head volleyball coach at Northwood University.
OF INTEREST: Koth and Jeff Williams (2000) are the only two GLIAC “Coach of the Year” award winners in Northwood history.
Ohio Dominican Panthers
Head Coach: Sandy Rowley
2013 Preseason Pick: 5th N
2012 Record: (13-16, 7-11 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Ohio Dominican is coming off a 13-16
overall season in 2012 that included 7-11 in conference play. Youth
was served last season as a young Panthers squad endured some
growing pains in 2012 to be ready to go in 2013. Coach Sandy Rowley
will look for her freshmen and sophomores from last season to play
with even more confidence and poise with an additional year of
experience to their credit.
PLAYERS: Tory Thompson, as a freshman last season, led the team with 323 kills. Junior Caitlin Kusan totaled 245 kills, sophomore Lauren Kraemer, 199, sophomore Kelsey Barker 152, and junior Brianna Reder 117. Kusan and Kraemer ranked third and fourth in the GLIAC last season in hitting percentage at .336 and .331, respectively. As a freshman, Darby Slavin finished with 872 assists. She also totaled 32 total blocks and 247 digs. Bailey Barker, a junior, led the team with 390 digs last season from the defensive specialist position. Kusan and Kraemer led the team with 80 and 70 blocks, respectively.
COACH: Sandy Rowley is now in her 25th season as the head coach at Ohio Dominican.
OF INTEREST: Ohio Dominican’s volleyball team was recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for a fifth straight year for achieving a cumulative team GPA over a 3.30, the AVCA announced on Aug. 7, 2013.
Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
Head Coach: Will Stanton
2013 Preaseason Pick: 6th N
2012 Record: (11-19, 6-12 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Last season, Saginaw Valley State had a mix of youth and experience, but the year of experience for the younger players could pay even greater dividends for the Cardinals in 2013. SVSU has nine returning letter winners and four returning starters. Setter Sam Breault graduated last season after totaling 947 assists. While the Cardinals will have a new look at the setter position, the team welcomes back a talented yet young group of hitters on the outside and in the middle for the coaching staff to utilize. The team also has some up-and-comers on its roster as SVSU seeks to bounce back from an 11-19 overall record last season, including a 6-12 finish in the conference.
PLAYERS: Junior Makenzie Frodle a 6-foot middle hitter, is back for the Cardinals after leading the team with 270 kills a season ago. Junior Kate Czopek totaled 229 kills, 6-foot senior outside hitter Lyndsay Reynolds finished with 207, 6-1 junior middle/outside hitter Kelsey Ferla 147 and senior Julia Thomas 120. Defensively, Frodle led the team with 97 total blocks, including 17 solo blocks. Czopek, a 6-1 junior, totaled 59 total blocks, including seven solos. Last season, 5-8 sophomore libero/defensive specialist Brooke Tiller led the team with 369 digs. Czopek totaled 292 digs.
COACH: Will Stanton is entering his 11th season as the head coach at Saginaw Valley State.
OF INTEREST: From 1993-2001 Coach Stanton was the head coach at Lake Fenton high school where he guided the team to the 1998 Michigan Class C state championship after finishing runner-up in 1997..
Head Coach: Dana Cordova
2013 Preseason Pick: 7th S
2012 Record: (9-20, 2-16 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Tiffin has 10 letterwinners including four starters back from a squad that went 9-20 in 2012. To that mix, the Dragons bring in four junior college transfers and nine freshmen.
PLAYERS: Senior Danielle McQuade, a three-time All-GLIAC second team selection, returns after averaging 2.88 digs per set and leading the team with 3.79 kills per set. Junior Tiffany Buchinger is back for her third season as the setter for TU. She averaged 10.05 assists last year. At libero senior Jordan Jenkins had an outstanding season finishing fourth in NCAA Division II with 6.61 digs per set. She set the single-season TU record with 555 digs despite missing five matches due to injury.
COACH: Dana Cordova is in her fourth season as the head volleyball coach at Tiffin University.
OF INTEREST: Ally Kohlhase, Lu Phillips and Chelsea Stockmeyer all earned first team all-region honors at the junior college level. Stockmeyer, who played at Oakland Community College, led NJCAA Division II in hitting percentage last year at .576.
Head Coach: Erin Foster
2013 Preseason Pick: 6th S
2012 Record: (11-15, 8-10 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: Walsh enters its second season in the GLIAC and first as a full-fledged member of NCAA ll. Walsh finished 11-15 and 8-10 in the GLIAC last season. The Cavs finished their initial season strong, winning four of their final six matches. Coach Stine returns four starters, but needs to replace the outside hitter Julianne O’Donnell (HM All-GLIAC), setter Hannah Duran and middle blocker Brittany Morris. O’Donnell led the Cavs with 320 kills, averaged 3.37 kills per set and led the team in digs (313). Duran dished out 749 assists.
THE PLAYERS: Look for senior Paige Chandler to
pick-up the slack created by the graduation of O’Donnell. She
was third on the squad with 186 kills. Also look for outside hitter
Krissy Sokol to compliment Chandler. Sokol was second with 229
kills and led the team in attack percentage (.236). Sophomore Devin
Hummel turned in a solid freshman year and will be counted to
shore-up the back row. She was third with 204 digs. Sophomore Emily
Muzechuk and freshman Caitlyn Bronikowski will battle at
libero. The Cavs return 9 letter winners and welcome five
THE COACHES: Erin (Foster) Stine is in her fourth season at Walsh.
OF INTEREST: Stine played her college volleyball at NCAA I Cleveland State University from 2000 through 2004 as a middle blocker. Walsh left the NAIA with the 12th best volleyball winning percentage of all-time.
Wayne State Warriors
Head Coach: Phil Nickel
2013 Preseason Pick: 2nd S
2012 Record: (18-13, 11-7 GLIAC)
OVERVIEW: With a strong core group to lead the way, Wayne State University is excited as it looks ahead to the start of the 2013 campaign. Strengthened by a roster that includes nine returning letter winners, the Warriors hope that a diversified offensive attack will give opposing defenses a lot more to think about this fall. WSU will be led on the court by Kristen Bulkiewicz, who is coming off a strong 2012 season. While Coach Phil Nickel does have to replace Cydney Biessel, he likes the two setters (Jessica DeLeeuw & Madison Reeves) he has returning to help run the offense and deliver the ball to the hitters. With great experience returning at outside and middle, combined with the team’s entire group of defensive specialists back in the lineup, WSU likes its chances in what will be another tough GLIAC race. Last season, the Warriors upset second-seeded Ferris State during the GLIAC Tournament and finished the season at 18-13. Nickel is also excited about his recruiting class that includes Hannah Williams, a transfer from Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and five freshman.
PLAYERS: Bulkiewicz, a 6-1 senior, was an honorable mention All-Midwest Region choice by the American Volleyball Coaches Association and an All-GLIAC First Team selection. She led the team with 382 kills and 140 total blocks. Also returning for the Warriors are Candice Ottey, a 5-8 junior outside hitter; Essence Jackson-Jones, a 6-2 sophomore middle blocker; Kelsey Bonewits, a 6-1 sophomore middle blocker; and Carlee Hunt, a 5-9 junior defensive specialist. At setter, Jessica DeLeeuw, a 5-7 senior, and Madison Reeves, a 5-9 sophomore, are the returners.
COACHES: Phil Nickel is in his sixth season with the program and enters this season with a 83-60 career record with WSU.
OF INTEREST: Coach Nickel has served as a committee member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, which represents the interests of collegiate assistant volleyball coaches, and was also the Chair of the Professional Development Sub-Committee.