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Volleyball opens in Florida

(08/19/09 9:04pm)

The four seniors the volleyball team lost last season accounted for 714 of the 1,444 kills last season. However, the team is not interested in a rebuilding season, said senior libero Alexis Lonneman. “This team has the highest potential if we can all stay on the same page,” she said. “We have a lot of strong hitters and we all have the same goal.” The Chippewas reloaded with six true freshmen. Freshman outside hitter Lindsey Dulude led the state with 645 kills in her senior year at Midland High School. “My biggest goal is to start this year,” Dulude said. “I am going to work as hard as I can to be able to start in Florida.” Freshman outside hitter Katie Schuette was named an AAU All-American after leading her club team to a fifth-place finish in the country. Freshman middle blocker Danielle Gotham earned all-state honors for three years at South Lyon high school. Freshman outside hitter Val DeWeerd also earned all-state honors her junior and senior years. “(DeWeerd) is a great athlete,” Olson said. “She is still working on shot selection, but she is very versatile. She is a good fit to replace Whitney Evers and Sarah Warner.” One of the biggest question marks is sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Schultz. After earning Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year last season, Schultz opened practice with a groin injury. That allowed Gotham and senior middle blocker Kaitlyn to battle in practice for the starting spot. Lonneman, in her final season, was named one of the captains to the team. As one of the most consistent liberos in school history, Lonneman is second place in career digs for Central and needs 400 more to set the record. Last season, she totaled her lowest season with 495. “I want to break those records, and I am going to do everything I can to accomplish my goals,” Lonneman said. “Its not on the top of my mind, but it is important.” CMU will travel to Florida for its first collegiate competition in the Florida State Invitational. The team will play two teams — North Dakota State and Florida A&M — that were invited to the NCAA Championships last season. “The returning players are ready to play,” Olson said. “You never know what your freshman are capable of until they get out on the court.” The team’s first home game is Oct. 2 against Ball State.