Dawn Williams and the Lady Bruins were in full transition mode in 2012 with Williams returning as head coach after a two-year sabbatical. This year, with a full summer slate behind them, they’re taking it full speed ahead.
“I’m very pleased with the progress of this team,” Williams said. “Last year was the epitome of a transition year with me returning to coaching, several three- and four-year varsity players had graduated and we had a lot to put together. This year brings an experienced crew to the court. We utilized our summer contact days to play 33 matches, so we’ve been able to use these first days of practice to build plays and refine skills. Our lineup and rotations are established.”
Senior Morgan King, the 2012 MVP, returns to lead the Lady Bruins defense as libero. She led the Lady Bruins in digs and also serve percentage.
King’s court in the back row includes classmate Katie Joerger and junior, Samantha Whalen, both of whom Williams describes as excellent passers and servers. Sophomore Julia Pohar will also see back row action.
The St. Bede frontline is headed by senior power hitter Olivia Mueller and junior Claire Dudek (5-11) playing middle positions. Hanna Bima, a 5-11 sophomore, promises to be a strong hitter/blocker on the outside, with senior Raley Mauck, who has recovered from a knee injury, swinging between both outside and right side positions.
Junior Emma Perona used to be a setter, but is learning the hitting positions this season. Also seeing action in the front line will be juniors Christine Perona, Rachel Cessna and Michelle Reese.
Senior Morgan Bosnich will handle most of the setting duties with junior Madison Billhorn and sophomore Sadie Long as back-up setters.
Williams said her Lady Bruins, who will open the season Tuesday at Ottawa, are ready for all the challenges ahead in the season, including their first run through the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
“We know we have many challenges ahead with the new Three Rivers Conference teams and the strong regionals we always get assigned. This team loves the g
ame of volleyball and loves to compete, so we are looking forward to getting into matches next week,” Williams said.
Lady Bruins at a glance:
Last year: 19-12-3.
Coach: Dawn Williams (fourth year).
Conference: Three Rivers South.
They're back: Morgan Bosnich (sr., 5-6, S), Katie Joerger (jr., 5-4, DS), Morgan King (sr., 5-6, L), Sadie Long (so., 5-5. S), Raley Mauck (sr., 5-9, MH), Olivia Mueller (sr., 5-10, MH), Christine Perona (jr., 5-9, OH), Samantha Whalen (jr., 5-6, DS).
They're new: Madison Billhorn (jr. 56, S), Hanna Bima (so., 5-11, OH/MH), Rachel Cessna (jr., 5-8, OH/RH), Claire Dudek (jr., 5-11, MH), Sadie Long (so., 5-5, S), Julia Pohar (so., 5-5, DS), Michelle Reese (jr., 5-0, MH/RH),
They're gone: Julia Jackson, Maggie Kaniewski, Abby Nowakowski, Lydia Stariha, Lauren Urbanowski.
Last year's advancement: Lost to Fieldcrest in regional semifinals 25-16, 25-14.