Volleyball opens season tomorrow in CA
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2013 18:09
Having finished second in the conference and getting to the CAA Tournament final, the Delaware volleyball team’s 2012 campaign would be considered a success by most standards.
However, head coach Bonnie Kenny made it clear the team did not spend the offseason reflecting on past success, as she said the squad’s eight returning players came back for the preseason in excellent shape.
Much of that work ethic comes from the experience of Kenny, who spent the last 12 years transforming the program into a perennial contender that has won either the CAA regular season or tournament title 5 of the last 6 years.
Although this year’s squad includes seven freshmen, Kenny’s mantra going into the 2013 season is no different than that of last season: no excuses.
“This is college, every team is young,” Kenny said. “I’ve done this 30 years, and I’ve never seen an old college team.”
That might be a good motto for the 2013 Hens, who plan to rely heavily on the play of two sophomores returning from CAA All-Rookie campaigns last season in setter Mackenzie Olsen and defensive specialist Ariel Shonk.
Olsen said the team worked hard during the offseason to prepare for this year.
“Our team takes great pride in our offseason routine,” Olsen said. “And losing in the CAAs last year really put into perspective how much more work we as a team need to put in this year.”
Olsen played in all 109 sets for Delaware last year, averaging 10 assists per set. She will be looked at to contribute even more in this season, as she was named an honorable mention for the 2013 Preseason All-CAA team.
Shonk, the reigning CAA Defensive Specialist of the Year, was named to the Preseason All-CAA team outright.
When asked which, if any, freshmen they saw stepping into the role of rookie sensation Shonk and Olsen occupied last year, players and coach alike said every freshman has the potential to contribute this year.
“I really like this year’s team,” Kenny said. “They’ve got great energy. They just need chemistry and to further gel as a team in learning to work hard for each other and not just themselves.”
The team captains were recently selected in a vote by the players, with senior Kori Reigal and redshirt sophomore Jill Meyers being selected. Kenny said she is very pleased with the team’s picks, as the two players’ contrasting styles balance one another out.