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Kallick brings energy, optimism to volleyball team

(08/26/13 11:00am)

After former associate head coach Dave Zelenock left to take the head coaching job at Tennessee Tech, volleyball was in need of experience on the bench behind head coach Erik Olson. Mitch Kallick has filled the missing seat on the bench and brings a fresh mindset to the team. Olson believes this change will be beneficial for the squad, because Kallick brings in new ideas and experience from across the country while still being on the same page with CMU’s philosophy. “I don’t think it hurts the team at all,” Olson said. “I think we had an opportunity to grow, and I think any time you have new ideas coming to a program, it’s an opportunity for coaches, as well as players, to be exposed to new ideas and re-evaluate.” Before joining the Chippewas, Kallick coached at his alma mater, New York University, as well as at Tennessee, Maryland and Cal State Fullerton. Zelenock, who graduated from CMU in 2005, played a large role in recruiting. In his final five seasons as a coach at CMU, he helped bring in nationally-ranked recruiting classes. “All three coaches have always played a role in recruiting,” Olson said. “It’s very much a team effort.” Kallick has a background in recruiting as well, serving as the recruiting coordinator at Maryland and Cal-State Fullerton. In addition to helping with recruiting, Kallick will be the defensive coordinator and bring a few new concepts to the team. “I definitely bring a lot of energy to the gym,” Kallick said. “(I have) a couple new concepts here and there, a couple different philosophies and ideas that mesh with coach Olson’s overall philosophy for the program.” Redshirt senior Katie Schuette believes the energy Kallick brings has been positive.   “Dave was a really great coach,” Schuette said. “But I think that Mitch has a sense of drive that really brings a whole new level to the team.” Kallick has already had the opportunity to make an impact on the players and coaches in their preparation for the season since his hire in March. “He’s got an attitude of wanting to make this better,” Olson said. “He’s not afraid to step up and hold players accountable. He’s willing to challenge me on a daily basis, which I thrive on.” Kallick says his overall goal is the same as the rest of the team’s — to repeat what the 2011 team did and bring home a Mid-American Conference championship. He believes that’s a realistic expectation. “I’m really excited; I’ve been excited about getting going since the end of the spring,” Kallick said. “I’m really looking forward to our first competition. I think the team has a really great chance of doing some really special things here this year, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it."



Seniors Kelly Maxwell and Jenna Coates look ready for 2013 season

(08/26/13 11:00am)

The volleyball team won its scrimmage Saturday against the alumni squad and two players took key roles in the victory. Senior defensive specialist Jenna Coates and setter Kelly Maxwell helped the Maroon team beat the Gold team in the annual preseason scrimmage at McGuirk Arena, which pits the current squad against former players. “(Maxwell) certainly put our hitters in very good position to score,” said head coach Erik Olson. “Our hitters probably should have taken care of a few more of those opportunities. She should have more assists, not of her own doing.” This was Maxwell’s first real test since being given a clean bill of health and clearance to play. “She was mostly mental training going through the first half of the preseason; now she’s getting in her normal routine,” Olson said. “She continues to be more confident with her attacking in the front row. She’s had a phenomenal preseason.” Maxwell led the team with 26 assists in the match, while junior setter Danielle Thompson was the only other player with more than one assist. Coates defense allowed Maxwell to have opportunities to set up other players for potential kills. The defensive specialist led the team with 15 digs. “My blockers did a really good job opening up the seams for me to just slide in,” Coates said. “Kelly (Maxwell) did a good job getting to all my digs.” Olson spoke well of both Maxwell and Coates after the match, in addition to the play of graduate student outside hitter and middle blocker Katie Schuette. “I thought Jenna Coates was really good defensively, really good solid serve receive, and Katie Schuette was consistent,” Olson said. “We didn’t have stats going tonight, but we were taking stats on our own bench and (Schuette) was regularly hitting three, four hundred (hitting percentage) throughout the match.” Olson said despite numerous bright spots, there’s still a lot the team can work on. With the addition of Schuette and Maxwell back into the lineup after battling injuries, the players will need time to work with each other. “We’re still working some kinks out in terms of connecting and being congruent with our front row and back row attacks and spreading our offense out so it’s not as predictable as it was last season,” Olson said.