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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Volleyball loses a legend, still has plenty of talent

By Allison Boyes

After the loss of four-time All-Conference player, Claire Reeder ’11, the Grinnell volleyball team has big shoes to fill. But Coach Jackie Hutchison does not view this as an obstacle.

“I don’t think you can replace Claire. She brought a lot to this team on and off this court,” Coach Hutchison said. “I think one of the reasons we are sitting in such a good position for our 2011 season is because of her.”

The team still has many familiar faces on the court. The Pioneers’ roster contains seven seniors this year: Bonnie Kircher ’12, Bridget Zajac ’12, Brooke Yoder ’12, Gilly Dryjanski ’12, Kate Duran ’12, Olivia Wilks ’12 and Sara Hoffman ’12.

The presence of these women means a lot for this year’s squad.

“Not only does it represent a lot of talent on the court, but it represents a lot of institutional knowledge and a lot of volleyball knowledge, that is serving everyone,” Hutchison said.

The Pioneers also look forward to the promising addition of five first years.

“We have a lot of talent returning from last year, and we’ve also got a lot of really talented young first years,” Kircher ’11 said.

These first years are Cheyenne Hickox ’15, Claire Weidman ’15, Emma Knatterud ’15, Lindsay Fujimoto ’15 and Natalie Duncombe ’15.

“We have five first years that are contributing and impacting our team already,” Hutchison said. “I’m really excited about our first year class.”

“There’s a lot of new blood so I think we have a lot of work to do, but even with just getting together in the pre-season and these first two weeks of practice we’ve really come a long way,” Kircher said.

This new blood is not merely coming from the first year class, but also a number of new upper-classmen who are joining the Pioneers for the first time this season. Kircher noted that there is an addition of new second years, third years and even a senior on the team this season.

“We just have a lot of fresh new talent so I could see a bunch of people stepping up,” Kircher said.

One notable first year addition, Claire Weidman, is ready to take on this challenge.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to be playing at a higher level than high school and seeing what college ball is like,” Weidman said. “I’ve wanted to play college volleyball for a long time so this is really exciting for me.”

Along with new players, the team will also benefit from a new off-season workout.

“This season we had two formal off-season training programs,” Hutchison said. Amanda Reckamp developed a program with agility work and Jason Martinez developed a strength program based on power lifts.”

The girls enjoyed this training because it produced objective results. Seeing their increased amounts of weight lifted proved that the hard work was paying off.

Coach Hutchison is excited for the youth of this year’s squad, and intends to work with the potential it brings.

“We plan to maximize the newness—the new strength, the new opportunities that this team has this year,” Hutchison said.

Both Coach Hutchison and Weidman notice a strong team bond between the girls on the team. While the team has many talented athletes, the team’s success will ultimately be a group effort.

“The upperclassmen will definitely do well. Our setter, Olivia Wilks [’12] is a big leader on the team as is Bonnie [Kircher], our outside hitter. But I really think it’s going to be a collaborative thing. I think everyone really meshes well so that will help a lot.” Weidman said.

Hutchison stated that one of the goals that the team has this year is to more consistently win on the road.

“We had some trouble last year winning on the road so I feel like that’s a challenge, but I feel like it’s one that we can definitely tackle,” Kircher said. “We’ve made a couple of changes to the team and I think we’re ready to take on St. Norbert and those big schools in their home gym this year.”

Ultimately, the team hopes to take home the conference title this year.

“As a team I think we’re looking forward to coming together and having a lot of successes, and I think we hope to host and win the Midwest conference tournament,” Kircher said. “I think we have the talent to do that, so I hope we can reach our goal.”

The Pioneers open their home season at 6:00 p.m., Sept. 9 against Cornell College in Darby Gymnasium.



Note: This article incorrectly stated that the seven seniors were members of the class of  2011. They are, in fact, class of 2012. Apologies for this error.

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