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Friday, 28 August 2009 14:37

Season Preview

Volleyball 2009 Season Preview

Baker University volleyball coach Kathy Allen believes her team has it all - size, depth, skilled setters and a strong defense - to challenge again for a Heart of America Athletic Conference title.
"We do not have a weakness at any position," Allen said. "We will be strong at every single position and there will be competition to among our players." Junior Brooke Pryor, a second-team all-HAAC performer, is among the top returners for the Wildcats. The 6-foot outside hitter from Santa Fe Trail High School helped spark Baker's run to the HAAC title match last fall and earned second-team all-conference honors.

"Brooke is an absolute winner," Allen said. "She makes everybody beside her better. She is one of those kids you want on the court. She is a complete competitor."

In 2008 Baker won nine of 10 matches heading into the conference final, one match away from qualifying for the national tournament. "That was probably one of the most rewarding seasons we had," said Allen, whose squad finished 23-13 last fall. "We continued to peak through the entire year. Toward the end of the season we were playing our best volleyball."

Other key players back are Brooke Allen, a sophomore setter from Shawnee Heights, and sophomore defensive specialist Kelsey Cobb. Both players received honorable mention all-conference honors as freshmen. Nikki Anderson, a middle hitter from Alma, is the lone senior. Five freshmen and 10 sophomores are on the Wildcat roster for 2009. "We probably brought in one of the best recruiting classes we have had in a long time," said the Wildcat coach, entering her 10th season at Baker. The talented group should put Baker in the hunt in the HAAC. "We have one of the better chances to win, and that is our goal," Allen said. "We have the potential this year to get the automatic berth into the NAIA tournament." The Wildcats open on Aug. 28-29 at the Red Raider Classic in Orange City, Iowa, before heading to Chicago the following weekend.
"We will be playing in very demanding tournaments early against some nationally ranked teams that will put us squarely against some of the best in the nation," Allen said. Allen has compiled a 231-146 match record as the Baker head coach.

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