By Ebony Hightower/Assistant sports editor
The Eastern women’s volleyball team is ready to begin what they hope will be a great season. With all the new players on the floor, they are poised and ready to take this season’s Ohio Valley Conference title, Caoch Lori Duncan said.
The team will begin their season this weekend with a tournament at Arkansas State. Although this team has many new international players this year, the Colonels feel they will be successful and win this tournament.
Duncan expects a stable of new players to bring success to colonel volleyball.
The seven new colonels each bring their own style of play to the team.
Kelly Jennings is an energetic setter out of Barrington, Ill.
Jessica Sabath comes in as a strong outside hitter from Willowick, Ohio.
Kasha Broozek joins the team as a talented middle blocker from Mundelein, Ill..
Vanessa Jones, sister of former Colonel volleyball player Marita Jones, continues the family legacy. She is a defensive specialist from Slickville, Penn.
Denise Grundhoefer is a fast-moving outside hitter from Dale, Ind.
Rachael Paeper from Minnetonka, Minn., will be an enthusiatic outside hitte Giselle Grabowski is another one of the Colonels high-jumping outside hitters from Federal Way, Wash.
Duncan said she believes that four of these players will be starters, and all of them will see some action during games.
“Having this young team is an advantage,” Duncan said.
“They are all very positive…they are concerned about every aspect of their college career. Not only are they here to play volleyball but they are here to get the grades in order to have a successful career after volleyball.”
The pre-season coach’s poll has the Colonels picked to finish seventh in the OVC this season. The team will not stand for that.
“If the ladies finish less than first I will be surprised. With the team that I have this year I know that it is possible,” Duncan said.
Her players are not the only ones working hard this season. She lives and breathes the game.
“I never sit during games or practices. If the girls are playing a good game they will know it. If they are a little off they will know it too,” Duncan said.
Freshman Jessica Sabath likes Duncan’s coaching style.
“Coach Duncan is a great motivator. She is very positive and she always gets the team pumped up to achieve,” Sabath said.
Senior Kristi Kuzma agrees.
“Coach Duncan never stops believing in the teams ability to succeed. She knows that we can do it,” she said.
Despite losing four players last year, Duncan said she believes this team will come out better at the end of the season. Returning sophomore Liz Guard was named to the OVC’s All-Newcomer team last year plus the seven new freshmen.
This is the most athleticism and talent that she has seen in years.
When asked what sets this year’s team apart from the other teams she’s coached at Eastern, Duncan said
“This year’s team has an absolute expectation of success. They are committed to success. They want it all.”
The team would like to see more fans in the stands this year. Admission is free to the public. During games there are free prizes given away to the crowds including T-shirts and pizza. The Colonel’s home opener will be Sept. 9at 6 p.m. where they will face Dayton.