HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky.
- The challenge for Northern Kentucky University volleyball head
coach Carlos Chia in 2005 is finding a replacement for graduated
outside hitter Kristin Koralewski. If Chia can do that and mesh
a strong recruiting class with the returning talent from last season’s
22-9 squad, NKU could make a run for the Great Lakes Valley Conference
title this fall.
But the Norse must first
replace Koralewski, a two-time All-American and the GLVC Player
of the Year the past two seasons. Koralewski recorded 559 kills
and a .382 hitting percentage a year ago, and she also led NKU with
390 digs. In three seasons with the Norse, Koralewski posted 1,485
kills and 1,192 digs.
a great deal to this program, and she ranks up there with the great
players we’ve had like Jenny Jeremiah, Bethany Gastright,
Jessica Buroker, Molly Donovan, Cammi Welter and Kerry Lewin, just
to name a few,” Chia said, “but we will move forward
this season and hope that Kristin has the same influence on the
team this year as an assistant coach because she always led by example.”
NKU compiled a 13-3
record in the GLVC last season with Koralewski leading the way.
The Norse advanced to the semifinals of the GLVC Tournament, but
missed out on the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Chia - who was named
GLVC Coach of the Year last season - welcomes back four starters
from 2004, including three All-GLVC performers.
Liz Holmes, a 5-foot-10
middle hitter, finished with 397 kills and a .327 hitting percentage
in 2004. She was named GLVC Freshman of the Year and earned second
team All-GLVC honors. In addition, Holmes collected a team-leading
89 blocks as a freshman and added 39 service aces.
“I want to see
Liz emerge as one of the leaders on the team this year, and we expect
her to become the go-to player this season,” Chia said.
Andrea Lanham, a 5-9
junior setter, earned first team All-GLVC honors after posting 1,471
assists (a GLVC-leading 13.13 apg) and serving 28 aces. Lanham finished
13th nationally in assists and was No. 2 in the Great Lakes Region.
“Andrea has shown
she excels at this level, not only in the conference, but regionally
and nationally,” Chia said.
Lynne Fischesser earned
second team All-GLVC honors as a right-side hitter in 2004. Fischesser,
one of the most versatile players in the GLVC, collected 275 kills
and 316 digs a year ago. She finished No. 2 in the GLVC in service
aces last season at 0.50 sapg (56 total aces).
Senior right-side hitter
Julie Lewis saw action in 21 matches last season and started 14
times. A three-year letterwinner, Lewis had 109 kills last season.
Sophomore outside hitter
Tristen Dye is also expected to play a major role this season. A
year ago, Dye played in 18 matches and finished with 144 kills and
17 service aces.
Freshman Kristina Eisenmenger
will challenge for the starting position on the right side. Eisenmenger,
an excellent blocker and attacker, earned All-Region honors while
a prep standout at Notre Dame Academy. She had 225 kills and 80
solo blocks as a senior.
Droessler saw action in 22 matches a year ago and started eight
times. Droessler had 28 blocks and 38 kills in 2004, and she will
challenge for a starting position this season.
Jennifer Wirtz, a 5-9
junior and a transfer from Vincennes (Ind.), could start at outside
hitter this season. Wirtz was a second team All-American in junior
college last season and could help to ease the loss of Koralewski.
Freshman Natalie Forbes,
a graduate of Highlands High School, is a versatile athlete who
can attack, defend or play setter. She could challenge for significant
playing time this season at setter, Chia said.
NKU must replace libero
Amber Timmons from last season’s team, but Chia has added
freshman Chelsie Snively and sophomore transfer Brittany Dixon.
They will compete with sophomore Maria Tieman in the back row.
NKU will play its first
13 matches away from home in 2005. The Norse will play their home
opener Sept. 16 with a GLVC match against Indianapolis.
NKU will play defending
GLVC champion Southern Indiana on Oct. 14 in Evansville, Ind. The
Norse will meet perennial GLVC power Southern Illinois at Edwardsville
the following day at Edwardsville, Ill.
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