Volleyball Season Preview: Storm Looks to Get to the Next Level
Sep 01, 2010
Lake Erie College volleyball will look to make a strong first
impression in the GLIAC with an experienced squad which has six of
its top seven starters back from a year ago as well as a strong
"We have quite a bit of experience coming back,"
said ninth-year head coach Gary VanCauwenberge. "We're
going to be more mature and should get the job done more
That experience starts at the setter position, where juniors
Lauren Bogatay (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and Krista O'Connor (North
Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton) both return after playing in every
match a year ago. O'Conner and Bogatay were first and
second on the team in assists with 534 and 399, respectively last
"They're not only quick with their feet but
with their minds as far as setting up our offense," said
Boagatay and O'Connor are not only linked by position but
also their spot as team co-captains, a role they will share for the
second straight season.
"They did a great job for us last year and worked well
with the players and the coaches," VanCauwenberge
explained. "I like having our setters as captains
because they are kind of the quarterback on the court and we like
to have them be in a leadership position off the court as
The defense will likely be anchored by senior Lauren Johnson
(Wellington, Ohio/Keystone), who was hampered with injuries last
season, along with sophomore Paige Baldauf (Marion, Ohio/Marion
Pleasant), who also plays libero.
The Storm frontline looks to be strong again in 2010 as junior
right side Michelle Naab (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton),
sophomore outside hitter Mary Walter (Solon, Ohio/Notre Dame
Cathedral Latin) and sophomore middle hitter Nicole Kunar
(Northfield Center, Ohio/Nordonia) all return. The front
combined to average 2.11 blocks per game in 2009 (44th
in NCAA Division II) and Walter let the squad with 266 kills.
Walter also averaged .66 aces per set (81 total) which ranked
12th in DII.
"We have some big time hitters coming back," said
VanCauwenberge about a league that sent six teams to the postseason
last fall. "They all get up pretty high and hit the
ball pretty hard and Mary brings a big time serve."
Adding to the Lake Erie attack will be three freshmen - middle
hitter Liz Whiddon (Saline, Mich./Saline), right side Molly Richardson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) and outsider hitter
Jamie Hoppe (Green Springs, Ohio/Clyde) - who are likely to receive
considerable playing time and are in the mix for starting
While the Storm expect to be improved on the court, gaining
ground in the standings may prove tough as Lake Erie enters its
first season as a member of the GLIAC, one of the top volleyball
conferences in Division II.
"Being in a new conference- an extremely strong
conference - expectations for this season as far as winning goes is
going to be tough," explained VanCauwenberge. "I
want to be competitive and go into every match knowing if we play
our best we'll have a chance to win."
Lake Erie opens the season Sept. 3 with four matches at the
Davis and Elkins Senator Spikefest in Elkins W. Va. They then
play six straight true road matches before their home opener on
Friday, Sept. 24 against Tiffin University at 7:00 p.m.