Bulldog volleyball opens 2011 season on August 26

By on Aug. 12, 2011 in Volleyball

Bulldog volleyball opens 2011 season on August 26

The Concordia University volleyball team will hope for improvement in 2011 following a difficult 2010 season.  The Bulldogs were 11-21 overall and just 1-15 in GPAC play a year ago.  The Bulldogs were picked to finish 10th in the 2011 GPAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.   

“This team showed a lot of perseverance last year,” remarked Coach Rachel Miller.  “When the wins aren’t coming, it’s easy for a team to collapse and give up all hope.  The majority of these girls kept their heads up and kept fighting, knowing they had to improve and keep the right mindset in order to finish strong.  That attitude led to a great spring season, and some great improvements were seen in a number of these players.  I hope this will translate to this fall.” 

Concordia lost several key members from last year’s team.  Chelsea Vaudt was a second team All-GPAC performer, and Sloan Brandon was an honorable mention All-GPAC selection last season.  Vaudt and Brandon were the top two attackers for the Bulldogs last year.  Concordia also must replace Nico Ethofer and Alex Szalawiga.  Ethofer was one of the team leaders in digs over the past few seasons.  Szalawiga was fourth in kills and second in digs during the 2010 season.   

“We lost some key players, but I think we’ll have a nice balance of returning players who have seen some quality court time,” said Miller.  “We also have some new players who will bring in some new looks and options for our team.”

In terms of returning players, Concordia will be led by Alexa Hopping and Amanda Kisker.  Hopping handed out 547 set assists last season and was an honorable mention All-GPAC selection for her efforts.  Kisker was third on last year’s team with 213 kills. 

“Alexa was a quiet player for us last year, but her drive and ability to be a leader and key player is there,” noted Miller.  “If she can command the needed respect and effort from her teammates, her ability to lead this team will be another major factor for us.” 

“I think Amanda’s ability to score points at the outside hitter position will be a major factor in the team’s success this fall,” added Miller.  “She developed greatly this spring in regards to attack timing and aggressive swinging.”

Concordia opens the 2011 season at the Red Raider Classic Tournament on August 26-27.  Concordia will take part in three regular season tournaments this year.  The Bulldogs host Midland University on September 7 in the home opener, and there are 10 scheduled home matches on this year’s schedule. 

“We must focus on being committed to every practice, workout and competition in order to finish the season strong,” said Miller.  “The returning players really worked hard during the off-season to improve physically.  We showed a lot of improvements this spring.  It is my hopes that we can bring in the new players, and the combination will help us achieve the season we’ve been working towards.  It will take the whole team being fully committed to have the season we want to have.”