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2013 Season Outlook
WATERVILLE, Maine --- With then first-years Natalie Roy (Los Altos, Calif.) and Kim Donaldson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) stepping into important roles last year, the Colby College volleyball team showed improvement and finished with a .500 record.
With some promising newcomers on the roster again this year, head coach Candice Parent is hoping for more contributions from young players.
"We're going to have much more depth in the middle with some of our first-years," Parent said. "We have good size now and we're more athletic than we have been in the past."
Roy and Donaldson were two of the top rookies last year in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Roy had a team-best 244 kills and finished 13th in the conference in kills per set (2.71) and was 11th in digs (3.58). Donaldson was second to Roy in kills with 184 and led the Mules in total blocks (64). Roy, who was also second on the Mules in service aces (37), will be an outside hitter. Donaldson led Colby in attack percentage and is back at middle blocker.
Colby senior co-captains Kate Pleasants (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Ellie Linden (Andover, Conn.) will be counted on as setters. Pleasants was seventh in the NESCAC last year in assists per set (7.71) and heads into this year with 1,929 career assists, 705 defensive digs, and 106 service aces. Meanwhile, Linden had 51 assists and 130 digs last year.
Senior opposite Kate Bellerose (West Newton, Mass.) was fifth on the team in kills (119) and was third in blocks (37). Anna Clifford (Oakham, Mass.) will play at libero after finishing last year with 89 digs, Megan Michie (Rhinebeck, N.Y.) added 27 kills and 37 digs, and Christy Adler (Wellesley, Mass.) also returns. Michie could also see time at the libero spot.
Sophomore Sarah Arvidson (Andover, Mass.) plays for the first time in college after missing last season with an injury. She is the mix for a starting position and will see quality time.
Alexa Busser (Dunstable, Mass.) and Karolina Serhan (Needham, Mass.) are a pair of 6-foot middle blockers in their first year at Colby. Outside hitters Elizabeth Noyes (Nashua, N.H.) and Hannah Insuik (Andover, Mass.) also will make their collegiate debuts Friday. Arvidson and Noyes will push Roy for playing time at outside hitter, while the two 6-footers inside will combine with Donaldson to give Colby its best depth in the middle in many years. Serhan could also see time at the opposite spot.
"With our size, we could have a chance to run a 6-2 this year," Parent said. "We are going to be a much better blocking team at the net."
2011 Season Outlook
The Colby College volleyball team returns eight players from a year ago for the 2011 season.
Colby, which went 7-17 overall last year, will be led by senior co-captains Caitlin Burchill and Mackie Sewell. Burchill was second on the team last year in total kills (149) and third in defensive digs (291), while Sewell was third in blocks (38) and fifth in kills (78).
“Caitlin will lead us offensively and defensively from the outside hitter position,” Parent said. “Mackie has really worked hard to improve her defensive skills and has added a tough jump float serve.”
Sophomore middle hitter Lily Kramlich-Taylor had a fine first season with the Mules, leading the team in kills (151), tying for the team lead in service aces (39), and finishing second in blocks (39). Fellow sophomore Kate Pleasants led the Mules in assists (484) and was tied for first in service aces (33).
“Lily and Kate can connect in almost any situation and will be difficult to stop this season,” Parent said.
Maggie Taylor also returns after finishing second in digs (293) and fourth in kills (101). Meanwhile, Emily Varni had 150 digs (just 10 receiving errors) and 27 aces.
“Maggie is the most versatile and athletic player we have on our team and I expect her to really step up her game on the offensive end this season,” Parent said. “Emily missed almost half of the season last year due to a concussion and she returns very eager to contribute with her extraordinary defensive abilities.”
Kate Bellerose also returns for the Mules and will start opposite of Kramlich-Taylor at the middle blocker spot. Ellie Linden is back and will join newcomers Amanda Clifford and Megan Michie.