New coach? No problem.
Western’s volleyball team took the season in stride this year after head coach Marian Carbin went on maternity leave, allowing first year Assistant Coach Ashley Petak to take over. With 17 wins during their season, the team proved that nothing could stop them from winning the game.
Assistant Coach Ashley Petak previously coached at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After stepping in for head coach Carbin, Petak had some big shoes to fill for the rest of the season. Petak got the opportunity to extend her strengths to both sides of the team.
“I was a setter, so I enjoyed training the offensive side of the game,” Petak said. “But recently I’ve really enjoyed training middle blockers and this last season I kind of took the reigns of the whole thing.”
Kelsey Olion served as a right side during her volleyball career. Olion finished her last season with the team and recalled one of her favorite memories of the season.
“One night that stands out to me is senior night,” Olion said. “It was amazing to see how much my teammates cared about me and it was fun to think back to all the memories that I had made on our home court over the years.”
The Griffons had a young team this season. Rachel Friedrichs, a sophomore middle blocker, averaged 2.9 kills per set and had a .337 hitting percentage.
“Playing with a young team was challenging yet exciting,” Friedrichs said. “Our inconsistency and young errors showed frequently but it was exciting to know that because we are so young, this talent will be here for later years to come.”
The team also finished with a conference record of 9–9. A few losses came from only losing by a few points, giving motivation for next season.
Although Olion won’t be on the court next season, she knows the team has worked hard during the games and will plan on doing the same for next season.
“The season had its highs and lows,” Olion said. “We definitely learned a lot from both our wins and our losses, and I know the team will carry those lessons into next season.”
During off-season, the team will prepare for next season by working hard in the weight room and conditioning. As many players suffered injuries this past fall, this off-season will also include getting players back to full health. While there is room for improvement for the team, there is also hope for next season.
“While it’s impossible to replace the seniors, we have such a young team that is full of talent, and every single one of us has big expectations for the 2017 season,” Freidrichs said.