Underclassmen carrying volleyball team
For Central Michigan University’s volleyball team, the energy brought to the court through youth, players said, has been one of the main reasons for the team’s recent success.
CMU has six freshmen on its roster this season, accounting for nearly half of the squad.
“It’s an ongoing process,” CMU coach Erik Olson said. “When I see them start to get a little dizzy, I remind them of what their strengths are.”
The Chippewas started the season 0-6 but are now 6-8 on the year due to play from their underclassmen.
True freshman outside hitter Jordan Bueter is ranked second on the team in kills with 159, and third in digs with 139. Bueter’s 2.89 kills per set average puts her second among all freshmen in the Mid-American Conference.
Learning from some of the veteran players on the team is what has sped up Bueter’s development this season.
“The transition has been helped a lot from my teammates,” she said.
“The play level is definitely different and more intense. The fact that my team is as intense as I am and their attitude is the same as mine has also helped my transition.”
Freshman setter Kylie Copple totaled 372 assists and is ranked seventh in the MAC in assists per set (9.07).
Redshirt freshman Taylor Robertson has begun to earn more playing time on the court as well. Through 25 sets of action, Robertson has tallied 35 kills.
“Being a redshirt gave me a lot more time to widen my focus,” she said. “I wouldn’t have changed any aspect of it, I’m very glad I redshirted.”
Even though the team has a lot of inexperienced players on the court, Robertson doesn’t see it as a disadvantage.
“Yeah we’re young, but we’re very dynamic and explosive,” she said. “We also have a good amount of seniors to lead us out of our young stage.”
Robertson said the seniors on the 2014 squad have helped her through the redshirting process.
“The seniors are very good at leading us in the right direction. They are very good at helping us out if we are lost,” she said. “They are doing a good job of incorporating the freshmen and not keeping us out of anything.”
Olson said the success of the underclassmen unit is vital to that of the team as a whole.
“It’s easy to get lost in what you’re doing from day to day,” Olson said. “There’s no ceiling for them. I don’t want to put a ceiling on them I want them to keep climbing and see how good they can be.”