New team, new season

September 3, 2015 By Kali Schmieding

After losing some key players, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater volleyball team is set to build off of last seasons’ success. The ’Hawks are projected to finish second in the WIAC conference, according to a preseason poll.

In the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Preseason Top 25, the ’Hawks are ranked 24th in the NCAA Division III. Seven of the ’Hawks 2015 opponents are also ranked on this list.

In 2014 the ’Hawks finished 26-9 overall and 7-1 in the conference. The team made its 23rd consecutive appearance in the NCAA D-III Tournament.

“I expect us to come out and compete in every match,” head coach Stacy Boudreau said. “I expect us to play together and I guess I just expect us to go out and set our best foot forward in every game and keep improving every week. If we can keep improving every week I think we will be exactly where we want to be at the end of the season.”

Only two starters from last season are set to return this season.

“I think the team is already adjusted,” Boudreau said. “It’s kind of been fun. We are going to have a complete new style of play this year. We have really good team chemistry this year so I think it’s going to be fun to see us develop.”

Junior outside hitter Lauren Pfeifer and senior outside hitter Jessica Sabey are the two returning starters. Pfeifer had 354 kills last season, a team high. Sabey led the team in kills per set with 2.97 last season.

“We’re a new team this year,” Boudreau said. “We lost a lot from last year and we are looking to rebuild things a little bit. We have a lot of great returners and a lot of new-comers as well. I think right now our goal is to go out, compete and get better.”

Joining Pfeifer and Sabey are joined by seniors Jaclyn Krizka and Brittney Langley. Krizka played in all 35 matches last season and had 338 digs. Langley totaled 95 kills.

“My personal goal is just to to be the best leader I can for my team both on and off the court and be a good example for them,” Pfeifer said. “I want to just show them you can do whatever you set your mind to. You don’t just have to be a front row or back row player, you can play all the way around you just really have to set your mind to it.”

The ’Hawks will be the season September 4 against Fontbonne (Mo.) at the Elmhurst Invitational. The team will also play Wheaton (Ill.), U-Mass Boston, and Hendrix (Ark.) at the two-day invitational.