Oregon State Beavers 2003 Volleyball Outlook

Aug. 14, 2003

OREGON STATE BEAVERS

TEAM PREVIEW
Oregon State was anticipating this season to be a rebuilding process as it was to replace five senior starters while teaching six incoming freshmen the ropes of college volleyball at the Pac-10 level. However, while it will still be a learning process for the young Beavers, injuries resulted in key returning letterwinners picking up valuable playing time a year ago. Thus, the rebuilding process in 2003 may not be so daunting of a task for coach Nancy Somera and the Beavers.

STRENGTHS

  • Setter. The Beavers have the league's most experienced setter in senior Laura Collins. She's the Pac-10's top returning setter after averaging 12.49 assists per game last season. Her 2,602 career assists rank fourth all-time at OSU. If the Beavers go to a 6-2 offense, look for sophomore Desma Stovall to share duties with Collins.
  • A trio of returning players will compete for starting jobs at outside hitter. Sophomore Allison Lawrence started every match last year and led the Beavers with 329 kills (3.39 kpg). Sophomore Karah Rhoades was thrust into major playing time last season and responded with 204 kills (2.83 kpg), including an impressive 156 kills (3.32 kpg) in Pac-10 matches. Junior transfer Anne Watts-Roberts will also get a look at outside hitter.

    CONCERNS

  • Replacing Nikki Neuburger at libero. Neuburger ranked third in the league with 3.90 digs per game. Senior K.C. Frederic (1.77 digs per game) will get first crack at the position, but could be pushed by some of the talented freshmen.
  • The Beavers will needed to develop the middle. OSU ranked last in blocks a year ago, averaging 1.70 blocks per game. No returning player had more than 38 total blocks last season. Overall, returning players combined for just 82.5 total blocks last year. Junior Amanda Eggert (0.55 bpg) and sophomore Katelyn Healy (0.50 bpg) are the lone returning middles with any experience.
  • Adapting to the college level will need to come quick for the six freshmen as they'll be counted on to contribute to the success of this year's team.

    ACCORDING TO COACH SOMERA
    'We've known that 2003 was going to be a rebuilding year, but it's less than what we were anticipating a year and a half ago when we were recruiting to replace our big senior class.

    'Whether we're rebuilding or not, we always have a legitimate chance at the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the NCAA took eight Pac-10 teams, so if we do what we need to do out of conference and are steady in the Pac-10, our chances are more than good.'

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