Volleyball will face its first Mid-American Conference challenge of the season this weekend at home.
The Chippewas will be led onto the floor Friday by their team’s leaders: Seniors Jenna Coates, Kelly Maxwell and junior Kaitlyn McIntyre.
“The moment I saw Coates, as a sophomore in high school, I knew she was an impact player,” said head coach Erik Olson.
Success on the court starts with the defense, whether they receive a serve or dig out a kill.
This is Coates’ job, and she does it well. She has already shown shades of the past two seasons, being named MAC West Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 7 and named MAC West Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 13.
Recording dig after dig is one thing, but it doesn’t end there for her. She also plays a vital role in setting up her teammate, Maxwell, to run the offense.
“I just play for the team, putting up good balls so Kelly (Maxwell) can put up better balls,” Coates said.
After the dig, the ball gets to the quarterback of a volleyball team: The setter.
Boasting years of experience and two years removed from a conference title, Maxwell hasn’t slowed down this season, being named to the All-Tournament Team at the Georgia Southern Invitational, recording 89 assists throughout the tournament.
“Maxwell has got the heart of a lion, and works so hard at being a great communicator,” Olson said.
“Kelly is an awesome person,” said McIntyre. “She’s a great leader, and she works hard to put up better balls every time. She’s very adaptable to anything you tell her, and she puts up some great sets.”
The setter finds her favorite target, typically, a hard-hitting outside threat.
McIntyre is that and more. Just like Maxwell, she was also named to the All-Tournament Team at the Georgia Southern Tournament. During this tournament, she recorded 34 kills and 29 digs throughout those three matches. For the 2012 season, McIntyre was named to the All-MAC First Team and led the team in kills with 373.
“McIntyre has aspects of both Maxwell and Coates,” Olson said. “She’s an absolute stud in regards to jumping well on the outside.”
McIntyre and Maxwell have fed off of each other’s momentum and have helped each other become the players they are today.
“Ever since she came to Central, she’s been probably the easiest hitter to set in my career,” Maxwell said. “She just makes the best out of any situation, and I have complete trust in her that she’s going to go aggressively every single time.”
Coates, Maxwell and McIntyre will be front and center on Friday night in McGuirk Arena, as they take on Toledo to kick off the conference schedule.