New coach out to spark turnaround for Southeast Missouri State volleyball team
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Southeast Missouri State volleyball team hopes to get back on track under a new coach.
Julie Folliard takes over a tradition-rich program that has fallen on hard times the past two years.
Folliard, associate head coach at SIU-Carbondale the previous five years, is excited about her opportunity after Renata Heard stepped down for personal reasons.
"I am very excited. Things have been going very smooth. The team was so open to new coaching, new ideas," Folliard said. "It's a great thing to step into. The attitude of the players ... you can't beat it."
Southeast did not qualify for the Ohio Valley Conference tournament the past two years after previously never missing the event since joining the league in 1991. The 2010 Redhawks went 7-22 overall and 4-14 in the OVC to tie for ninth place.
Folliard, whose squad opens the season Friday at the Memphis Invitational, is hopeful that four returning starters and 10 returning letter winners can spark a quick turnaround.
"I think we're going to surprise a lot of people," said Folliard, whose first Southeast unit has been picked to finish ninth in the 11-team OVC. "We'll use our preseason selection as motivation."
Sophomore middle blocker Emily Coon was voted to the 14-player preseason all-conference squad. She was an all-OVC newcomer selection last year after leading Southeast in blocks with 80 and ranking third in kills with 168.
"I can't wait for the season. I'm very excited," Coon said. "The new coaches have been wonderful. They've really been in tune with us.
"We're going to be a big surprise to a lot of teams. We're going to come out of nowhere and shock some people."
Other returning starters are senior outside hitter Paige Dossey, junior outside hitter Karlee Lursen and sophomore setter Julie Shives.
Dossey was third on the squad with 41 blocks while adding 112 kills.
Lursen was second with 189 kills to go with 204 digs and 31 blocks.
Shives, in addition to leading with 942 assists, also was first with 24 aces and second with 323 digs. She added 98 kills.
Senior middle blocker Holly Reynolds, junior outside hitter Brittney Kalinoski and sophomore outside hitter Andrea Baylin all started between seven and 10 matches.
Baylin contributed 111 kills and 157 digs.
Also seeing action a year ago were junior libero Samantha Lowman, sophomore outside hitter Colleen Yarber and sophomore outside hitter Berkley Idel.
"We have a lot of good players back, a lot of players who contributed last year," Folliard said.
Rounding out the squad are freshman libero Erica Beck, a transfer from Youngstown State where she redshirted last year, and three true freshmen: right-side hitter Meredith Stranges, middle blocker Kelsey Keeve and setter Melissa Macellari.
"The freshmen are challenging the upperclassmen for spots," Folliard said. "We've got a lot of competition on the team."
Folliard said a major objective for the Redhawks is to improve an offense that ranked last in the OVC a year ago in both hitting percentage and kills.
"We're changing our offense. We're going to play fast," she said. "We were last in hitting percentage. We want to turn that around."