Concordia set to open 2010 volleyball season on Wednesday

By on Aug. 21, 2010 in Volleyball

Concordia set to open 2010 volleyball season on Wednesday

The Concordia University volleyball team will look to get back on track following a disappointing season in 2009.  The Bulldogs went 11-22 overall last year with a 3-13 mark in conference play.  Concordia was selected 10th in the GPAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll released earlier this month. 

Despite a tough year in 2009, head coach Rachel Miller has been happy with the response of her squad.  “The team was able to remain positive throughout the year last year, and that say a lot for their character,” said Miller.  “They strived to keep improving each practice and match, and they learned how to deal with a variety of hardships.  The players know they need to continue to improve their mental game as well as their on-court skills to take it to the next level, and I think they will come back ready to put that into action this season.” 

Seniors Chelsea Vaudt and Alex Szalawiga will lead the way for the Bulldogs in 2010.  Vaudt was second on the team in kills and total blocks in 2009.  She pounded 276 kills for the year and totaled 102 total blocks.  “Chelsea will definitely be one of our go-to players this year,” noted Miller.  “Her block provides a lot of confidence for her teammates, and her offense has continued to improve over the off season.” 

Szalawiga totaled 110 kills and 78 digs in her first year for the Bulldogs.  Coach Miller expects big things from the senior outside hitter.  “Alex is a level player, and she doesn’t get rattled easy,” remarked Miller.  “She has really become more aggressive all around and has the ability to play multiple positions for us.  She could be that steady calming presence on the floor for us.” 

Sloan Brandon also returns for Concordia following an impressive season last year.  Brandon had 171 kills and 141 digs in her first season as a Bulldog.  Nico Ethofer also returns after leading the Bulldogs in digs last year with 388. 

The Bulldogs got off to a rough start last year and were unable to respond in the always difficult GPAC conference.  Coach Miller is hoping for a much stronger start in 2010.  “For the first time in a long time, we have a larger group of juniors and seniors who have legitimate experience on the varsity level,” noted Miller.  “I expect that collective maturity and experience to give our season a better start than the past couple of years.” 

Concordia opens the 2010 season on August 25 at home against Peru State College at 7 p.m. at the Health, Human Performance and Athletic Center.