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Wednesday, 17 August 2011 21:43

Volleyball Enters 2011 Season With High Hopes

8.18.11 | Volleyball

Baker volleyball team looks to capture HAAC title

2011 Season Preview

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Head Baker University volleyball coach Kathy Allen believes the 2011 squad is one of her best in 14 years guiding the Wildcats.

The Wildcats return AVCA All-American and Heart of America Athletic Conference Libero of the Year Brooke Allen (Topeka, Kan.), 2010 blocking leader senior Christina Delladio (Bonner Springs, Kan.), and the 2010 Heart of America Athletic All-Conference setter Jana Boss (Shawnee Mission, Kan.).

Brooke Allen ranked 13th nationally in 2010 with 745 total digs and 5.4 digs per game. Delladio finished at 8th nationally with 172 total blocks (1.25 per game), and Boss rounded out the trio ranking 40th nationally with 1,147 assists.

Coach Allen said the combination of returning players and newcomers could lead to a special season.

“We are expected to compete for the HAAC title,” Allen said. “We’ve been so close the past few seasons. I think this is the group that is going to take us to the next level.”

Junior outside hitter Savannah Smith (Mansfield, Texas) returns to the Baker squad with hopes of replacing the loss of team leader Brooke Pryor. Smith recorded 340 kills, ranking second behind Pryor’s 511 kills last fall.  Senior Sydney Pemberton should add strength and size in the middle.

“Savannah and Sydney are difference makers. Allen added. “We’re going to need them both to step up right away..”

Other key returning players for the Wildcats include, senior Kelsey Cobb (Overland Park, Kan.), senior Jamie Starling (Gardner, Kan.) and sophomore Renata Dill (Manhattan, Kan.)  7 freshmen and one transfer will compete for playing time also.

“We need to make a splash on the national level,” Allen said. “That’s the bottom line.”

Allen currently ranks 25th all time on the NAIA charts with 286 career wins and 14th all time with a winning percentage of .637.

Baker opens its season on Aug. 26 at the Northwestern College Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.

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