2005 Season Review
2005 squad puts down foundation for future volleyball success
November 18, 2005
The Bluffton University women's volleyball team concluded the 2005 campaign under first-year head coach Steve Yarnell with an overall record of 12-18 and a 0-7 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The Beavers opened the season with a great start, their best since the late 1990's. At the season opening Oberlin Tournament, Bluffton picked up wins over Ohio Wesleyan, Lake Erie and the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg to begin the year with a 3-1 record. The squad worked to find its identity as it picked up one victory in the next six matches before going on a season-high seven match win streak to improve to 10-6.
The second half of the season tested the depth and maturity of a young Beaver squad that graduated four starting seniors from the 2004 season, including their only All-HCAC performer, Courtney Tisher. "Coming into this year our team did not have a lot of experience, and that lack of experience provided us with a challenge when we matched up against some of the veteran teams," commented coach Yarnell. The Beavers only mustered two more wins in the final 14 matches to finish the season 12-18, one more victory than the 2004 squad posted.
Coach Yarnell stated, "Entering the season the team had goals of finishing in the top four of the HCAC and winning the first round in the HCAC tournament. I feel that even though we did not reach those two goals, the team has matured and a solid foundation has been built to reconstruct the tradition of years past. Now that the foundation has been developed, we will look to add structural support and that will be accomplished through consistency. Although we struggled to win matches during conference play, we were competitive against the teams in the upper echelon of the HCAC. The difference between the games we won and those we lost was, in a word, consistency. We will continue to focus on becoming more consistent while still remaining the over aggressor on the court."
The team will have a few weeks off before it returns to the floor to work on agility, quickness, and core strength and stability. The Beavers return 12 players for the 2006 campaign and they anticipate the addition of a strong 2006 recruiting class. "Our focus in the 2006 recruiting class will emphasize the middle hitter position," Yarnell explained. The Beavers will look to replace both starting middle hitters, including four-year starter Keri Kuhlman, and they will concentrate their recruiting efforts to fill that void.