Consistency the focus for young Beaver squad in 2006
By Jenna Liechty, sports information assistant
August 14, 2006
As the Bluffton University women's volleyball team prepares for the upcoming season, head coach Steve Yarnell has high expectations for the possibilities and potential that the 2006 squad possesses. Entering his second year as head coach for the Beavers, Yarnell is prepared to build on the successes of last season to help the team develop a tradition of winning. "We were more competitive last year than in previous seasons and were able to compete with the top teams on our schedule," Yarnell reflected. "However, we weren't consistent enough." The squad finished 2005 with a 12-18 overall record, going 0-7 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Working hard to improve on consistency has been, and will continue to be, a focus for the team as it looks ahead to the 2006 campaign. During the spring season, the players worked in small groups to hone position-specific skills and get more repetitions according to specific areas of focus. In addition, the team prepared for the fall by increasing the amount of competitive playing time during the off-season.
The Beavers will return to action in 2006 without two-time All-HCAC performer Keri Kuhlman (Shelby/Shelby). The team's only loss to graduation, the four-year starter left her mark on Bluffton volleyball, finishing second in the record book for all-time career kills with 1285. "Kuhlman will be a hard player to replace," commented Yarnell. To fill her shoes, Coach Yarnell will look to returning players, as well as a talented group of incoming freshman.
|First-year middle hitters Audra Coleman (Lima/Lima Central Catholic) and Anna Viars (Lebanon/Lebanon) will join the Beavers in 2006, bringing with them a high level of athleticism as well as a strong net presence. "I am excited about the incoming freshman class, as it shows much potential both academically and athletically," remarked Yarnell. "It is a large recruiting class and they are going to compete for playing time right away." Coleman and Viars will be joined by freshmen outside hitters Jordan Scifres (Greenwood, Ind./Lutheran), Johnna Tidyman (Howard/East Knox) and Michelle Rosen (Harrison/Harrison). Tory Henkle (Rockford/Parkway) enters Bluffton after a successful high school career as a setter at state power Parkway High School and Brittany Roth (Findlay/Findlay) will improve the Beavers' depth in the back line.|
|While a large freshman class will bring energy, athleticism, and competition, Yarnell will count on his experienced players to lead the team on the court and off of it. Team captains Katie Moore (Bucyrus/Wynford), a senior, and Chelsea Wyse, a sophomore, (Archbold/Archbold) will provide leadership for the youthful squad. Yarnell commented, "Our biggest strength this season will be our passing." Defensive specialists Moore, Wyse, and sophomores Mandy Eicher (Delta/Pike-Delta-York) and Kate Barnett (North Bloomfield/Lakeview) will bring experience and skill to the back row this season. In addition, the team will look to veteran setters Jean Boen (Wooster/Kidron Central Christian) and Brittany Shultz (Hudson, Ind./Prarie Heights) for experienced play at the net and senior leadership. Junior hitters Rachel Alvarez (Convoy/Crestview) and Kalla Aeschliman (Wauseon/Wauseon) return with a wealth of experience on the outside as they have both seen significant playing time during their first two seasons at Bluffton.|