Baker volleyball squad optimistic
Baker University head volleyball coach Kathy Allen knows this season could be special.
From a dedicated and hard-working senior class to skillful and talented newcomers, Allen believes the Wildcats have many strengths.
"We look very balanced," Allen said. "We return our first team all-conference setter who has All-American potential as a sophomore. We have a lot of size, a lot of girls over 6 feet. If we put it together and play as a team, we will have no real weak spots."
The Wildcats lost first-team all-conference player Brooke Glenn to graduation. To fill that void, Allen has brought in a mix of freshmen and college transfers to join returning all-conference players -- seniors Emily Allred, Vanessa Wardy, junior Barb Ludwig and sophomore Jennifer Koelzer.
"Carly (Hadick, a transfer from Cloud County Community College) is a potential impact player and Kelly Wilbur developed from spring volleyball and she will probably get some substantial time at right side," Allen said. "(Incoming freshman) Jayde Allen is the No. 1 passing and defensive player to ever come out of Shawnee Heights -- one of the strongest high schools in the state -- and has the potential to be out there as a freshman."
Thrilled with her group of newcomers, Allen credited her seniors for being the catalysts for success.
"These seniors are the best true leaders I've had since I've been at Baker," Allen said. "I have kids that want to win, are devoted and work hard. They've come through the J.V. ranks and start varsity now -- that's impressive.
"Sarah Douglass, Allred and (Emily) Grabner have stepped up to be great leaders and have already shown that they are," she said. "Behind the maturity and confidence in Jennifer, who was the best setter in the conference her freshman year, we have great leadership skills."
Those very skills will be necessary for a team that struggled with consistency last season.
"We definitely want to do well in conference, but everyone wants first," Koelzer said. "We'll need to start strong and be more consistent."
Allred is looking forward to this season.
"This year, more than any other year, we have the potential to be awesome," Allred said.
Aug. 26-27 -- Preseason HAAC Tournament, home
Aug. 30 -- at Washburn University, Topeka, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2-3 -- at College of the Ozarks Classic, Branson Mo.
Sept. 6 -- v. William Jewell College, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 9-10 -- Baker Invitational
Sept. 14 -- at Rockhurst, Kansas City, Mo., 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 -- at Central Methodist University, Fayette, Mo., 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 -- Evangel University, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23-24 -- at MidAmerica Nazarene Invitational, Olathe
Sept. 30-Oct. 1 -- at Lindenwood Fall Classic, St. Charles, Mo.
Oct. 4 -- v. Missouri Valley College, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 -- at Avila University, Kansas City, Mo., 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 -- v. Haskell Indian Nations University, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 -- v. Benedictine College, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 -- at Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Mo., 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 -- at Culver-Stockton College, Canton, Mo., 3 p.m.
Oct. 25 -- at Graceland University, Lamoni, Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 1 -- at MidAmerica Nazarene, Olathe, 7 p.m.
Nov. 5-12 -- HAAC Tournament, TBA
Nov. 15-19 -- Region V Tournament, TBA
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