Volleyball squad expects to challenge for HAAC crown
Baker University head volleyball coach Kathy Allen believes the 2011 squad is one of her best in 14 years of guiding the Wildcats.
The Wildcats return AVCA All-American and Heart of America Athletic Conference Libero of the Year Brooke Allen (Topeka, Kan.), 2010 blocking leader senior Christina Delladio (Bonner Springs, Kan.), and the 2010 Heart of America Athletic Conference Setter of the Year Jana Boss (Shawnee Mission, Kan.).
Brooke Allen ranked 13th nationally in 2010 with 745 total digs and 5.4 digs per game. Delladio finished at eighth nationally with 172 total blocks (1.25 per game), and Boss rounded out the trio ranking 40th nationally with 1,147 assists.
Allen said the combination of returning players and newcomers could lead to a special season.
“I think we are expected to win the HAAC title,” Allen said. “We’ve been so close the past few seasons. I think this is the group that is going to take us to the next level.”
Junior outside hitter Savannah Smith (Mansfield, Texas) returns with hopes of replacing the loss of team leader Brooke Pryor. Smith recorded 340 kills, ranking second behind Pryor’s 511 kills last fall.
“Savannah is the player that has the ability to take things to a whole different level,” Allen added. “We’re going to need her to step in right away if we want to have any chance at taking the conference crown.”
Other key returning players for the Wildcats include, senior Kelsey Allen (Lawrence, Kan.), senior Kelsey Cobb (Overland Park, Kan.), senior Jamie Starling (Gardner, Kan.) and sophomore Renata Dill (Manhattan, Kan.)
“We need to make a splash on the national level,” Allen said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Allen currently ranks 25th all time on the NAIA charts with 286 career wins and 14th all time with a winning percentage of .637.
Baker opens its season on Aug. 26 at the Northwestern College Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.