Volleyball will have plenty of new faces this season, but some key veteran leaders will still be around.
Going into the 2013 season, the Chippewas have just three seniors on their roster along with one graduate student.
Part of this nucleus of senior leadership is the director of the offense, setter Kelly Maxwell. Maxwell is hopeful that her team will return to its winning ways and possibly make a run for another Mid-American Conference Championship when all is said and done.
For Maxwell, it was not a quick journey to where she is now. As a freshman three years ago, she found herself sitting the bench for most of the year behind Catherine Ludwig.
“I honestly think that has taught me a lot about what it means to run the court,” Maxwell said. “It’s given me a lot of character and it’s shown me what it means to be a good athlete.”
Now a senior, Maxwell has noticed some changes in the way she goes about her business since there is a group of underclassmen looking up to her.
“It’s different being a senior and being the one who everyone looks up to and comes to with questions,” Maxwell said. “I think I’ve come into that role, especially from last year.”
As the new season is fast-approaching, the Okemos native recalls last season’s ups and downs and how she, along with the rest of her team, are looking to use last season as a stepping stone for this one.
“We had a good run at the beginning of the season and tailed off a little bit toward the end,” Maxwell said. “We’re looking to improve on our consistency and we’re going for a 20-plus win season.”
Last season, Maxwell was ranked No. 17 in the nation in assists per set with 11.51, and she was also named All-MAC Second Team. On top of those achievements, she is ranked third all-time in CMU history for assists.
Last season, she tried out for the USA Juniors team alongside her teammates senior Jenna Coates and sophomore Kaitlyn McIntyre.
“It taught me a lot about my capabilities and who I am as an athlete,” Maxwell said. “It helped me gain confidence competing with some of the best college players in the country.”
Despite all of her accolades and past successes throughout her collegiate career, Maxwell is still a team player, doing whatever it takes for the team to come out victorious. With this being her final year, she looks to set goals for not just herself, but her team as well.
“Last year, our offensive numbers went down, so I’m going to focus on running a more efficient offense,” she said.