Expectations are high as the women’s volleyball team is ranked just outside the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Top 25 poll.
The Leopards received 74 votes, the most among any team outside the preseason Top 25.
After ending the 2012 season with a 22-6 overall record and a 13-3 record in Southern California Intercollegiate Conference play, the Leopards are set to carry their victories on into the 2013 season.
With only two seniors to head up the team this season, many of the underclassmen will be challenged to step up and perform their best.
“I hope, as a young team, we can find the chemistry and be able to execute during games,” senior libero and setter Morgan Donohue said.
“We’re all about energy and have a lot of skill and talent.”
Last season, Donahue played in all 28 matches for the Leopards collecting a team-high 381 digs, including a season-high 29 digs against Pomona-Pitzer.
She recorded 174 assists last season as well.
Underclassmen account for more than half of the total 2013 volleyball roster.
The team began playing this past weekend competing in the Pacific Coast Classic.
After a long weekend in a five game series, La Verne came out with one win against Lewis & Clark leaving them with an overall record thus far of 1-3.
With SCIAC play only a couple of weeks away, the Leopards are hard at work putting in all the training necessary to get them ready.
While breaking in the team’s few new freshmen, they will not be La Verne’s only new recruits this season.
New to the coaching staff this year, although not new to La Verne volleyball, is three-time All-SCIAC performer Kendall Kraiss.
With experience being on the court, Kraiss brings the team a fresh perspective.
“I hope to help carry on the traditions, keep the energy level and bring the family aspect to this brand new team,” Kraiss said.
Kraiss will serve alongside head coach Jenna Panatier as the team’s new assistant coach.
Much of what this season’s team work ethic will consist of is gaining the experience needed on the court. The team will learn to come back from their losses as well as help to build up their chemistry.
“We’re a young team making young errors,” Panatier said.
Panatier will enter her third year as head coach.
The team has been working hard to get the season started off strong, and has much to show their peers.
“I’d love to show everybody what this team is all about,” Donohue said.
The 2013 La Verne volleyball program is starting new, although the players that have made up this season’s team are ready to prove a point.
The Leopards’ next game is at 12:30 p.m. today against George Fox University as the first of four contests in the Posada Royale Tournament in Thousand Oaks.
SCIAC play will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 with a home opener against Pomona-Pitzer in the La Verne Athletics Pavilion.
Alana Glenn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.