Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2006

Seniors bolster BU volleyball team

August 17, 2006

Baker University volleyball coach Kathy Allen returns four seniors in hopes of claiming the Heart of America Athletic Conference championship.

Four-year seniors Kendra Cody, Vanessa Wardy and Jenifer Koelzer possess much of the talent necessary to capture that title. Carly Chadick, the fourth senior on the squad, enters her second year with the Baker program.

"We also have returning a core group of under classmen who are established leaders in the conference," Baker coach Kathy Allen said.

Koelzer, a 5-foot-8 native of Shawnee, has been the Wildcats' top setter for the past two seasons and is among the best setters in NAIA. Last season Koelzer averaged 12.5 assists per game, was named HAAC setter of the week numerous times, and named to the first-team All-HAAC.

This season Allen believes Koelzer has the ability to become an All-American.

"She is the undisputed leader of the team, and the top setter in the HAAC," she said. "She just brings an element of leadership that binds the whole team together."

Wardy, a second-team All-HAAC pick, had the second highest kill percentage in the conference (.37), behind teammate Emily Allred.

"I expect this to be her year to shine," Allen said.

Cody and returning sophomore Jayde Allen will see considerable time switching between the libero and defensive specialist positions.

Also returning are junior Kelly Wilbur and sophomore Alexis Pryor.

Entering her ninth year as head coach of the Wildcats, Allen expects to build on last year's 25-12 record.

"I'm expecting to build on our performance from last year," K. Allen said. "We're still figuring how to finish strong in the conference."

Along with a solid core of returns, this season team also fields the largest freshman class in Allen's tenure as head coach. Five freshmen are on the team, including Kelsey Heckathrone from Baldwin City.

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