By Tiffany L. Rehbein
During the course of eight days and more than 20 practices, head coach Lisa Handley said she is pleasantly surprised with the level of play of the MSU-Northern Skylight volleyball team.
Currently, the team is running three-a-day practices until the university resumes classes on Aug. 31. Those practices focus on serve receive, passing and communication.
If we can pass the ball well, we have the hitters to get the job done, Handley said.
Of the 12-member team, those hitters include sophomore Adrienne Poplawski, junior co-captain Connie Fritz, sophomore Janelle Gillies, senior co-captain Melanie Baack, junior Sara McMillan, freshman Jaylee Wacker and sophomore Lyndi Hostetter.
Those hitters are a critical element to the quick offense that Handley wants to run this season. The offense rests on quick sets that are between one and two feet in height above the net, Handley said.
She sees strength in her outside hitters and a willing attitude in her middle hitters.
The middles are coming in willing to go after the balls, Handley said. Wacker and Heather Hammonds, 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-1, respectively, are both young in the program. I see good things in them, Handley said.
On the other side of the game, Handley said, the Skylights need to pass balls like nails, to get the job done.
We are going to run a never-say-die defense, Handley said. I want to be the team thats fun to come out and watch. Our hitting is strong this year if we can pass.
On Friday, Aug. 20, the community will have the opportunity to see the Skylights in action when they hold their annual maroon and white scrimmage at 7 p.m. at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
The Skylights named right side hitter Baack and outside hitter Fritz as co-captains in a meeting earlier this week. They also listed five goals they hoped to achieve by the end of the season win at least 13 matches, make the playoffs, dont lose to the same team twice, never lose a match in three games and play a high level of volleyball at all times.
This is a team thats determined to start a new era of Northern volleyball, Handley said.