2007 Volleyball Preview: Setters

Aug. 21, 2007

SEATTLE - The Washington Husky volleyball team returns five starters from last year's squad that finished 29-5, and No. 4 in the nation, but for the first time in four years the Huskies will have a new setter in their lineup. Gone to graduation is three-time All-American setter Courtney Thompson, who started every match of the last four seasons. In this fourth edition of a five-part series preview, we take a look at the three players battling for the starting setter position.


With the loss of Thompson at setter, who left UW as the NCAA career record holder in assists per game at 14.56, a trio of players will battle it out for the starting position. Leading the way is freshman Jenna Hagglund, who graduated high school early to begin training with the Huskies last spring, as well as senior Alison Simmons and freshman Kelly Christian.

Hagglund, a West Chester, Ohio native, has been involved with the USA National Team system as a member of the 2006 US A2 team and 2005 USA Youth National A3 camp. The 2006 Cincinnati Player of the Year, Hagglund was ranked 29th nationally among the prep class of 2007 by PrepVolleyball.

'Everything has been new for Jenna and she has done a nice job taking each drill and each day, one at a time,' said head coach Jim McLaughlin. 'I'm impressed with her progress at this point and I believe she can and will do the things it takes to become a great setter at this level. She has all the ability and she is learning what it takes and how to develop her ability. Jenna has tremendous character, a strong presence and is capable of becoming a leader. She makes good decisions at this point in her career and is not afraid to take some chances. Making good decisions is the key to becoming a great setter and as she learns the demands and priorities of our system she will learn to make better choices. What also impresses me about Jenna is that she earned a 3.7 grade-point average in her first quarter at UW this past spring.'

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Simmons completed her first season with the Huskies last year after transferring from Northwest College (Bothell, Wash.). She appeared in five matches, collecting 15 assists for a 2.50 apg average.

'Ali's progress this spring narrowed the gap and made the setter position competitive,' said McLaughlin. 'She loves to compete and if she can stay healthy and train at the level she needs to train to improve she could see playing time. Ali is a smart player and understands the system and I like the way she runs the team. She has a great serve and is one of the best defensive players on the team. I hope she stays healthy.'

Christian, a Newport Beach, Calif., native, was the 2006 Pacific Coast League MVP and was a first team All-CIF selection at Corona del Mar High School.

'What I like most about Kelly is her work ethic,' said McLaughlin. 'She is not afraid to go hard and because of that she will get better. She is a confident kid and that will only grow stronger as she improves her ability to set the ball and run this offense. It takes time to learn and I'm anxious to see her growth day-to-day.'

The Huskies open the 2007 season this Friday and Saturday when they host the Husky Classic. UW opens the four team tournament on Friday at 7 p.m. against San Francisco. Season, group and single-match tickets are currently on sale through the Husky Athletic Ticket Office, located in Graves Hall on the UW campus. Season tickets can be purchased for $88 per seat and include reserved seating in the lower bowl of Bank of America Arena, and a discount from the single-match ticket price. Single-match ticket prices range from $4-$9.

Looking ahead: In the final edition of the five-part series we will preview the Huskies liberos and defensive specialists.

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