Photo provided by Steve Woltmann
Nicole Kappelman, Assistant Sports Editor
After losing four seniors from last year’s 2012 team, the Lewis University women’s volleyball team appears to be a younger squad this season. This isn’t stopping them from preparing any differently than any other season, though.
When head coach Lorelee Smith was asked about the types of adjustments the team will be making, Smith said that there isn’t much there to change.
“I’m not sure if it is a strategy adjustment or more just a different coaching focus,” Smith said. “With [last year’s team] being a senior-heavy squad [as a coach] you get to pay more attention to your opponent and how to strategize in order to win. However, with a young team, like this year, your focus starts mainly on your own players and what they need to improve on as individuals to win.”
Six freshmen have been added to the 2013 roster, and Smith couldn’t be more excited.
“Our six incoming freshmen are awesome,” Smith said. “They have great attitudes, are willing to learn and are working hard to fight for a starting position. They really do fit our program perfectly.”
Freshmen Abby Biggs, Bailey Sparkman, Carolyn Nojiri, Danica Schreck, Jenna Selby and Maddie Seliga will be calling Lewis home for the next four years.
Schreck explained that coming into her senior year of high school, she wasn’t sure where she wanted to go yet. It was at a volleyball tournament that she discovered Lewis was where she wanted to be.
“Coach Smith actually reached out to me [while I was at a club tournament in Chicago],” Schreck said. “I got an email the next day from her talking about Lewis and the volleyball program. While on my visit, I fell in love with the campus and I knew I would like coming to school here. A few weeks later, I signed my National Letter of Intent to come and play for the Flyers.”
It didn’t stop with the addition of six freshmen, though, as junior transfers Ally Maurer and Kelly Brennan also join the Flyers this season. Brennan originates from Burr Ridge, Ill., but comes to Lewis from Tufts University. Maurer joins the Flyers and moves from Florida State College to the Midwest.
As the freshmen are learning to adjust to the new school, Maurer and Brennan are also learning to modify their game.
“I really want to work to be a contributing member of the team,” Maurer said. “Whether as a hitter or blocker on the court, or as a player who works to make her teammates better in practice, I just really want the team to do well. I will do anything in my power to make sure we succeed.”
It seems that even though there is a younger squad this year, age isn’t stopping the team from continuing to practice hard and contend with their top competitors.
“Athletically, the freshmen can compete with most all players in our conference,” Smith said. “In order to earn success, they will have to adjust to the speed of the game and build a strong mentality. I’m really looking forward to seeing how good this team is at the end of the season in comparison to how we are so far at the beginning.”