Preview: 2011 University of Dallas Volleyball
IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas volleyball team enters their 2011 campaign with growing expectations and plenty of excitement as the Lady Crusaders return a number of key contributors from a historic 2010 season.
Lady Crusaders look to build upon record-setting 2010 season:
In 2010, Dallas was able to net a 26-11 record and a third-place finish in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Championships held in Louisville, Ky. The 26 win plateau is the highest number of wins in a single season by the Lady Crusaders, besting the program's previous record of 22 wins from 2002 (22-16).
The team also posted a .703 winning percentage, also a school record, shattering the previous mark of .600 set in 2006.
Talented returners in the fold for Dallas:
The team's success was truly a team effort, fueled by the strong play of several individual players. Among the team leaders was 6-foot rightside hitter Danielle Fuchs (St. Charles, Mo./Duchesne H.S) who averaged 3.6 kills per game while hitting .264 and registering 3.09 digs per game in the backcourt. Her 471 kills eclipsed the previous Dallas single-season record of 462 set in 2004. She sits atop the career kills board, having knocked down 1,114 kills entering her senior season.
Dallas also returns 5-foot-8 junior setter Amanda Kitten (Slaton, Texas/Lubbock-Cooper H.S.), who continues to rewrite the Lady Crusader record books. Kitten set a new single-season assists record with 1,396 assists in 2010, surpassing her previous record of 1,127 assists tallied a year prior. Kitten enters 2011 a mere 183 assists away from attaining the all-time school record in career assists, held by Scarlet Walls with 2,705 assists (2005-08).
Junior Theresa Wohldmann (Florissant, Mo./Nerinx Hall H.S.) will anchor the outside hitter position. Like Fuchs, the 6-foot Wohldmann surpassed the previous single-season kills record in 2010, but bested her teammate for the school record, totaling 479 (3.63/game). In addition to being one of the team's primary passers, Wohldmann notched 3.32 digs per game on defense last season. Additionally, she was the team's leading server with 65 aces.
Established contributors and quality newcomers afford rotation options:
Entering 2011 University of Dallas will need to fill the shoes of libero Kelli Fuentes (Rowlett, Texas/Rowlett H.S.), who finished her illustrious career in 2010 holding virtually every defensive Dallas record. Fuentes is the current career leader with 2,439 digs, 4.98 digs per game and set the single-season record at 6.67 digs per game for the Lady Crusaders in 2008. Fuentes was a 12-time member of the prestigious American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 30-dig club.
With attrition, comes opportunity. Look for increased roles out of senior outside hitter Liz Baska (Tonganoxie, Kan./Tonganoxie H.S.) junior defender Emily Glick (Dallas, Texas/North Hills Prep), junior defender Emily Meyers (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./JSerra H.S.), sophomore middle blocker Laura Yokell (Fort Worth, Texas/Home School) and senior middle blocker Rachel MacGillivray (Phoenix, Ariz./Veritas Prep).
In 2010, Glick provided steady passing and digging (2.61 digs per game) on the backcourt, and was the team's second leading server (49 aces). Meyers provided additional firepower at the net (1.51 kills per game), Yokell was the team's leading blocker (94 blocks) and the versatile MacGillivray was a solid contributor.
Six freshmen comprise the team of 14 (seven upperclassmen), but none may be as heralded as 6-foot-2 middle blocker Emily Caples (Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet H.S.). Second year head coach Dr. Bob Howard also welcomes 5-foot-4 defender Maria Stathoupolos (Savannah, Ga./Savannah Arts Academy), 5-foot-5 defender Jenna Chmielewski (McKinney, Texas/John Paul II H.S.), 5-foot-7 setter/outside hitter C.J. Broadbent (Goodyear, Ariz./Estralla Foothills H.S.), 5-foot-11 rightside/outside hitter Taylor Suggs (San Diego, Calif./Westview H.S.), and 5-foot-11 outside hitter Christine Jablonsky (Colorado Springs, Colo./San Creek H.S.).
Dallas now a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC):
Historically speaking, the Lady Crusaders have not fared well against the member institutions currently constructing the SCAC. However, Dallas has the talent and veteran leadership in 2011 to make some noise in conference play. Those teams posing the biggest challenges to Dallas may be AVCA preseason nationally ranked Colorado College (No. 13), Southwestern University (No. 17) and Trinity University (Received Votes).
Dallas' SCAC schedule:
- vs. Trinity University (Sept. 23) -- at Austin College (Sherman, Texas), 7:00 p.m.
- vs. Southwestern University (Sept. 24) – at Austin College, 11:00 a.m.
- vs. Austin College (Sept. 24) – at Austin College, 5:00 p.m.
- vs. Millsaps College (Oct. 1) – at Rhodes College (Memphis), 2:00 p.m.
- vs. Hendrix College (Oct. 1) – at Rhodes College, 4:00 p.m.
- vs. Colorado College (Oct. 2) – at Rhodes College, 9:00 a.m.
- vs. Rhodes College (Oct. 2) – at Rhodes College, 3:00 p.m.
- vs. Sewanee: University of the South (Oct. 8) – at Trinity University (San Antonio), 12:00 p.m.
- vs. Birmingham-Southern College (Oct. 8) – at Trinity University, 4:00 p.m.
- vs. Oglethorpe University (Oct. 9) – at Trinity University, 9:00 a.m.
- vs. Centre College (Oct. 9) – at Trinity University, 1:00 p.m.
- vs. Trinity University (Oct. 21) – at Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas), 7:00 p.m.
- vs. Southwestern University (Oct. 22) – at Southwestern University, 1:00 p.m.
- vs. Austin College (Oct. 22) – at Southwestern University, 3:00 p.m.
- vs. TBD (Nov. 4 - Nov. 6) – at Millsaps College (Jackson, Miss.) – SCAC Championships
Dallas Volleyball quotes:
On the Lady Crusaders' expectations for the 2011 season:
"Our expectations this year are mostly based on the SCAC games. This is our first year in the SCAC, and we're not sure how we're going to match up with the teams. We're really looking forward to playing them and seeing how well we do."
On personal goals for this year:
"Personally, I am trying to improve on my defensive game. It's been a loss with Kelli Fuentes our libero graduating last year. Being an upperclassman, I feel that stepping up my defensive game will help with the loss of her.
On goals for this year:
"I would like for us to win some games against the bigger teams in the SCAC. Personally, I would like to break my previous record for assists that I set last year. I feel like that would help us compete at a higher level."
On what's special about the 2011 version of Dallas Volleyball:
"We all love each other. We're a huge team, but we have really close bonds. You don't get that a lot; too often teams suffer drama creeping in. We're just really close and really happy together."
On head coach Dr. Bob Howard's style of coaching:
"He tries not to show when he's frustrated with us, which I appreciate. He's really supportive and has a different way of looking at things from what I've been used to. He's been really patient with the freshmen while we get acclimated."
On what the team needs to do to improve:
"Our talent level is really high, and all of our personalities work together. We just need to work on getting the kinks out of the system."
Dr. Bob Howard
On who has impressed through preseason practices:
"They've all progressed, and are impressive in that degree. Theresa has started off hitting the ball well; Danielle coming off a sore shoulder is holding up well; Amanda is setting the ball as well as she did at the end of last year; Liz had a good offseason and is probably a little ahead of where she was last year. Of the returners, those people are playing well. Emily Glick has expanded her role in the absence of graduated libero Kelli Fuentes. Emily Meyers returns to give us additional depth on the backcourt and at outside hitter. Of the newcomers, Emily Caples will start for us. Emily was a top prospect for many schools. She has fulfilled her promise and really has tons of growth ahead of her."
On how the 2011 Dallas team can reach such heights as 26-11 from the 2010 season:
"I don't necessarily worry that we have the same record. I expect us to be a better team. I expect us to compete better, but by the same token, we've created a stronger schedule to play against. While I think the team may be better and compete better, the record will take care of itself."
On the challenges of competing in the SCAC:
"The SCAC is a big challenge, especially in volleyball. They typically have had six teams that have competed for three NCAA postseason berths. The conference itself has been well-rewarded for its depth of competition. Three of those teams are lumped into the west. We play a double round-robin with the west so it's a huge challenge, one that we look forward to.
On what stands out about the 2011 team:
"We have a lot of qualities that good teams have. We have good chemistry. Our players like each other and are supportive of each other. At the University of Dallas, we have bright students that are capable of advancing their game, and I think that's true for many of the teams in the SCAC, not just us. I think our effort is good; it's a good group of players. And I think there's a lot of potential here to build on and be even better down the road."
On how he will adjust the lineup without libero Kelli Fuentes, who was lost to graduation:
"I think it's the old adage that one player doesn't replace a great player, but if everyone can step up and add another 10 percent to their game. We're seeing that already. Theresa is much more active on defense this year, hitting the floor and expanding her range a lot. Emily Glick and Emily Meyers are very quick and athletic. Both of them are picking up some of the slack, just as the other players are. "