8.14.14 VOLLEYBALL: Cavs Voted Seventh in South

Women's Volleyball, 2014-08-14

BAY CITY, Mich. – The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) have released the 2014 Preseason Coaches' Poll and have the Walsh Cavaliers slated to finish seventh in the South Division.

Ashland University is predicted to win the South Division in 2014 after receiving six first-place votes and 48 points. The Eagles return 2013’s Freshman of the Year Alli Cudworth and four All-GLIAC selections. Hillsdale captured two first-place votes and 43 total points to finish second in the poll. Findlay tallied 38 points, followed by Ohio Dominican in fourth with 29. Malone finished close behind the Panthers with 28 points. Tiffin picked up 17 points to finish sixth in the voting while Walsh was seventh with 16 points. Lake Erie concluded the voting with eight points.

Grand Valley State grasped top honors in the North Division for the preseason voting in 2014, with 55 points and seven of the eight possible first-place votes. The Lakers posted a 31-4 record and an impressive 17-1 mark in the GLIAC. The Bulldogs captured a lone first-place vote and garnered 43 points to finish second. Northern Michigan was voted third with 35 points and Saginaw Valley State was a close fourth with 31. Rounding out the top-five was Wayne State with 22 points. Northwood came in at sixth with 19 points while Michigan Tech totaled 18. Lake Superior State closed out the North voting with eight points.

Head Coach Erin Stine returns nine letter winners from last year, and welcomes three new faces to the lineup in 2014. The Cavs finished 5-23 overall last year and 2-16 in the GLIAC.

The key returners for this season include outside hitter Kelsey Snider (5-10, Jr., Olmsted Falls, OH/HS), who was a mainstay in the Cavs’ in 2013. Snider returns with improved consistency and better blocking technique after intensive work in the off season. Also returning is sophomore Haley Howell (5-11, Clarkston, MI/Our Lady of the Lakes), the Cavaliers lone setter last season. After working through what was arguably the toughest freshman-setter scenario, Howell has come back stronger, and with a better understanding of the Division ll offensive systems. Devin Hummel (5-8, Jr., Shelby, OH/HS), who was used mostly in the back row last year, spent most of the spring at outside hitter position balancing out Snider's efforts. Look for Hummel to challenge for both offense and defensive roles this fall. Rounding out the defensive side of the game are returning players Emily Muzechuk (5-9, Jr., Mansfield, OH/Madison), Kaitlin Bronikowski (5-6, So., Toledo, OH/Central Catholic), and Dena Solly (5-8, Sr., Valley View, OH/Cuyahoga Heights). This trio is sound defensively and will battle to see who plays libero. The Cavs also return Katy Frease (6-0, R-Fr., Massillon, OH/Perry), who red-shirted last season.

Janelle Yunker (6-0, So., Marysville, OH/HS has solidified herself at middle blocker. Frease spent the spring getting stronger, and compliments Yunker. Look for the Cavs to be strong in the middle. Kelly Miller (6-2, So., Green Springs, OH/Old Fort) has come on strong on the right-side after being a middle throughout her high school career. She's become much stronger at setting the block and reading hitters. Rebecca Moore (6-2, Sr., North Canton, OH/Hoover) is recovering from a wrist injury, but hopes to ready by the time the Cavs open GLIAC play. She will be used on the right-side.

Jacksonville State University transfer Liza Pflugradt (6-0, So., Lake Zurich, IL/Adlai E. Stevenson) comes to Walsh. She is the power hitter that they have been searching for since the graduation of Julianne O’Donnell. Pflugradt is comfortable on both the outside and right-side positions, giving the Cavs a chance to mix up the lineup. Joining her on the outside is freshman Gina Kramer (5-11, Maria Stein, OH/Marion Local). Gina is an outstanding athlete and a great hitter. She's excelled at the high school level, playing for back-to-back state title teams her last two years. She also excelled in track and field and was a state high jump champion. Look for Snider, Pflugradt, and Kramer to battle all season. Defensive specialist Madison Music (5-5, Fr., North Fairfield, OH/Willard) joins the Cavs, and is looking to see court time right away. She's a fiery and vocal player, who plays well beyond her young years. Coach Stine expects her to challenge the veterans from day one.

The Cavs open up the season at Clarion University in the Tony Banner Memorial Tournament on Friday, Sept. 5.