Youthful Bearettes ready to take on challenge of new season

By RICHARD ROBERTS
Posted 8/8/18

Bearettes volleyball coach Christy McElhaney is excited about the upcoming season. It’s not going to be a particularly easy road for the 2018 Bearettes, who are bottom loaded with 16 freshmen on a …

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Youthful Bearettes ready to take on challenge of new season

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Bearettes volleyball coach Christy McElhaney is excited about the upcoming season.

It’s not going to be a particularly easy road for the 2018 Bearettes, who are bottom loaded with 16 freshmen on a roster of of 26 names, but, McElhaney says the overall height of the her players combined with an enthusiastic and willing-to-work attitude should make up for any youth-related deficiencies.

“We’re going to be very young. We have one senior, Kaitlin Hullender, but we have a great freshman class coming in with lots of volleyball knowledge through club play. They are going to get to see a lot of playing time,” she said.

McElhaney is counting on her younger Bearettes to mature quickly and will be counting on some of the freshmen to contribute regularly.


“Half our team is freshmen. I am actually looking at starting two freshmen. That is unusual for us,” she said. “In the past, we have had maybe one (freshman) that we have been able to fit in. Two is kind of unique. But, they are really pushing the upperclassmen. They have a strong desire and they want to play.”

Height will not be a problem for the Bearettes this season, according to the head coach. McElhaney is, in fact, banking on the size advantage to help plug the middle of the court and stop potential point scoring shots.

“We are pretty tall. I’ve got four or five that could potentially play middle. Usually that’s where you put one of your biggest jumpers,” said the coach. "At Choo-Choo Camp we showed a lot of blocking possibilites, so we are gong to focus a lot on that.”

The lone senior on the crew, Kaitlin Hullender, — who also occasionally holds down the post position for the basketball Bearettes — will be counted on to help guide the younger members of the team along as the season progresses. Also look for Autumn Allen, Taylor White and  and Kierstyn Viola to play leading roles.

“Kaitlin Hullender, our only senior, is a big leader for us. Taylor started for us a a freshman. Autumn and Kierstyn Will also play big roles for Bearettes volleyball this year,” said McElhaney. 

A relative newcomer to the program — but not to volleyball — is Cassidy Lowe, who returns after a year’s absence as a sophomore.

“She didn’t play her freshman year, but played as a sophomore. She will play defensively for us. She is also going to fill in with a lot of young players.”

The Bearettes’ coach said the team works very well together. Leadership should be another strong point this time around.

“We have a really good group of girls, who really work hard for each other. They’ve done a lot of on-the-court team bonding. They work really well with one another. ... I’ve got some good, vocal leaders this year,” said McElhaney.

As the season fast approaches, McElhaney is pleased with how the Bearettes have progressed, but emphasized the advances must continue on a daily basis.

“We just need to keep building aspects to our game. We can’t just be tall,” stressed the coach in pointing out other areas of the game besides net minding. “We are going to have to be scrappy defensively to back up the blocks. Every day we try to add something new — new dimensions to our game.”

“So far they have been a pleasure to coach. It always is good when you are excited to go to practice and be with the people you spend two or three hours with. This group really fires everybody up to be here.”

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