Volleyball, soccer gear up for 2007 season during spring camps

Nick Hartley

Nick Hartley

Spring is here, and so are the spring seasons for the volleyball and soccer teams. The spring season is where teams work on new plays, team set-ups and getting experience for the younger players. Volleyball is allowed four play dates and soccer is allowed five dates, in which they may play up to three games a day. Play dates are days where teams come together and scrimmage against each other.

The volleyball team will rely on experience this spring. After experiencing an off-season of player turnover, Head Coach Andrew Palileo’s squad only features two starters returning from last year. Experience, however, is not lacking this spring, with four juniors and four sophomores on the squad. The team that will be taking the floor over the next few weeks will look different than the team in August, which will feature up to five incoming freshmen. In the fall, the Jacks will have a chance to compete for the Mid-Continent Conference regular and postseason titles and an NCAA tournament bid.

“We have been focusing on changing some of our defensive schemes this spring, and the girls have done a great job of adjusting so far. The two seniors are hard to replace, but we have overcome the loss of our other two starters this spring. We need to be a more consistent and scrappy team out there while having fun playing. We have to be ready to go at anytime,” Palileo said.

He said the team will be young next fall, but will have a strong group seniors in Kristina Martin, Amy Anderson, Mackenzie Osadchuk and Samantha Pearson. Sophomore Emily Rooney redshirted her freshman year, giving her the amount of experience as next year’s seniors. He said Mackenzie Angner has surpassed his expectations for the spring.

Last weekend, the team traveled to Fargo, N.D., to take part in the first of four spring tournaments. They defeated North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota and the University of South Dakota.

SDSU hosts a tournament on March 31 in Frost Arena. Rival NDSU and some area Division-II schools will make the journey to Frost for a day full of volleyball. After Easter recess, the team hits the road again for a trip to Iowa State on April 7, and finishes the spring season April 14 at the University of Minnesota.

Like the volleyball team, the soccer team lost some key seniors, but returns plenty of experience.

After winning the United Soccer Conference title last fall, the Jackrabbit soccer team uses the spring to prepare to begin play in the Mid-Continent Conference next fall. Losing four seniors hurts the Jacks, but the team returns plenty of experience. The team currently has four juniors and eight sophomores, who have been a majority of the starters for the past two years, to lead the way this spring. Juniors Heather Hill, Liz Lane, Kelsey Worcester and Vanessa Paswaters are expected to step it up this spring.

“Some of the expectations this spring are to get the younger players more experience, and developing our strengths and weaknesses,” Head Coach Lang Wedemeyer said.

He said the girls have been dedicated this spring, lifting and practicing three to five times a week

“The team is committed and putting in a lot of intensity this spring. Committed describes the team perfectly this spring. We need to work on consistency this spring. We’ve played good soccer the last couple of falls, but have fallen into a mid-season scoring drought. We’re playing well enough, but we need to play better to consistently get wins,” said Wedemeyer.

Last weekend in Lincoln, Neb., the team faced Creighton University and the University of Nebraska. On April 14, Southwest Minnesota State University and Bellevue University (Nebraska) will come to Fishback Soccer Park for a pair of games, and USD comes to Fishback on April 22. The team finishes the season against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Big Ten foe Northwestern University at the University of Minnesota April 29.