2004 Beaver volleyball preview
Volleyball team looks for successful season in 2004
By Bill Hanefeld, Sports Information Intern
August 17, 2004
Following a successful 2003 season in which the team finished 17-16, head coach
Sara Wakefield is confident that BlufftonUniversity will return to the championship
form it displayed during the 90's.
Last season marked only the second time since 1998 that the Bluffton volleyball
team finished with a winning record. The Beavers fared well at their weekend tournaments
throughout the season while compiling a 3-4 record in the Heartland Conference.
Wakefield enters her sixth season as head volleyball coach at Bluffton with high
expectations. Having lost only two seniors, 2004 should be a banner year for the Beavers.
"The women followed an in depth training program during the off-season which included
running, lifting, jump training and agility work," Wakefield said. With the experience
of this year's starters Bluffton will be able compete with the elite members of the
The class of 2004 includes four players with extensive varsity experience. Tri-captain
Courtney Tisher (Rittman/Rittman), a three year starter at middle hitter, was second in 2003 with
279 kills. Another three year starter, outside hitter Jill Rothe (Wapakoneta/St. Mary's), returns to lead the Beavers. Jill is described by coach
Wakefield as "The all around most versatile player on the team." They will be joined
by two seniors who have both started since their sophomore years. Tri-captain Erin Kreim (New Washington/Buckeye Central) is a solid outside hitter who posted 411 digs as
a junior. The libero position has made defensive specialist and tri-captain Kelly Kettinger (Oregon/Clay) a fixture on the court. She led the Beavers with 564 digs in 2003.
Junior Keri Kuhlman (Shelby/Shelby) is also a two year starter for Bluffton. After setting the record
for most kills by a freshman in 2002, she led the team with 310 kills, 41 aces and
143 blocks last year on her way to earning second team All-HCAC honors. Leslie Overmyer (Payne/Wayne Trace) returns with two years of experience at the setter position.
Her 367 assists ranked her second on the team as a sophomore.
The three returning sophomores saw limited varsity playing time in 2003. Brittany Schultz (Hudson, Ind./Prairie Heights) recorded 130 assists and 15 aces while playing in
only 29 games. She, along with Leslie Overmyer, will need to fill the void left in
the wake of Erin Cooper's graduation. Katie Moore (Bucyrus/Wynford), a defensive specialist, and Jamie Shores (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan), an outside hitter, will both look to contribute to the
varsity team this year after seeing mostly junior varsity action as freshmen.
A solid group of freshmen will debut for the Beavers in 2004. Kalla Aeschliman (Wauseon), Ashley Miller (Mount Vernon), Mariel Nash (Loudonville), Amanda Harris (Arcanum), Sarah Nusbaum (Fairview) and Rachel Alvarez (Convoy Crestview) all bring youthful exuberance to the floor.
"With the leadership we return and the graduation losses sustained in the conference,
we will be very competitive in the HCAC this season," Wakefield said.
Experience and depth will be the keys as the BlufftonUniversity volleyball team takes the floor with high expectations in 2004.