2007 Volleyball Preview
2007 Beaver Volleyballers Look for Consistency on and off the Court
By Andrea Ressler, sports information assistant
July 26, 2007
As the Bluffton University volleyball team prepares for the 2007 season, third year head coach Steve Yarnell is once again looking for consistency. The 2006 squad finished 9-23 overall, going 3-5 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Beavers' best conference record since 2003.
The team has been preparing in the off-season with hard work on fundamental skills, open gyms and a challenging weight lifting program. Practices will begin two weeks before the first match as the Beavers refigure their lineup after losing two strong middle hitters, team Most Valuable Player Jordan Scifres and second team All-HCAC setter Brittany Shultz. With large holes to fill and only one senior returning, the Beavers will depend upon the 11 incoming freshman for depth and consistent play.
|Yarnell will count on the five returning Beavers to provide leadership and guidance for the younger team. Outside hitter and captain Rachel Alvarez (Convoy/Crestview) is the lone senior returning for her fourth and final season at Bluffton. Her leadership will be critical if the 2007 squad is to mesh quickly on and off the court. Junior setter and defensive specialist Chelsea Wyse (Archbold/Archbold), also a captain, has two years of starting experience under her belt and she will also be a leader for the team. Topping the 2006 team in kills, Michele Rosen (Harrison/Harrison) will once again bring her considerable hitting skills to the outside. Sophomore Brittany Roth (Findlay/Findlay) was a mainstay as the libero in 2006 and she will look to anchor the backcourt again this year. Kate Barnett (North Bloomfield/Lakeview), a defensive specialist, rounds out the list of returnees in 2007.|
|With a large, athletic, freshman class, Yarnell is expecting a few newcomers to step up right away. Crystal Augsburger (Bowling Green/Bowling Green) and Logan LeMaster (Jamestown/Greenview) will battle it out for the middle hitter position that was left vacant after the 2006 season. Two players, Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford) and Kayla Pickering (Jamestown/Greenview), enter Bluffton after earning all-state honors during their high school careers. "Some of our first-year players come with raw talent and others as polished players. Competition for playing time will make practices more exciting. Everyone will have the opportunity to earn playing time on this team," Yarnell said.|