Coming into the 2013 campaign, the Northwestern volleyball squad must shake off a dip in performance from 2012. Although the squad finished fifth in the GPAC and compiled a 21-10 record, its first-round loss to Midland University left the team two years removed from its last trip to the national tournament.
Senior Claire Roesner said the team’s high expectations include taking home the GPAC Championship. “We are also hoping to go undefeated through all conference games,” Roesner said. “We expect commitment and confidence from our teammates, which allows us to trust one another on and off the court.”
Roesner, senior Nicole Jacobs, freshman Jillian Estes and freshman Bria Sweeney will all see time in the back row anchored by junior libero Alexis Bart. Bart received first team all-conference honors last season after leading the GPAC with 4.7 digs per set and a 96 percent success rate in serves received.
The back row’s passes will fall into newcomer Brooke Fessler’s hands. Fessler, a sophomore transfer from the University of Northern Iowa, will be the main setter for the Raiders following the outgoing transfer of Madeline Hanno.
“(Fessler) is definitely a good addition to the team,” said sophomore hitter Karlie Schut. “She is aggressive and a fighter during the game.”
Fessler will have plenty of options as NW returns a variety of hitters. Most notable is junior Kaitlin Floerchinger, who led the team in kills and was named a 2012 NAIA All-American for her work on the outside.
Schut has the versatility to play both the middle or right side hitting positions. She posted one block per set and 1.9 kills per game as she earned second-team all-conference accolades last season. Sophomore Haley Chambers will see more action this year after contributing 1.4 kills per set as a freshman.
Freshman Kellie Goedken sat out the 2012 season and will split time with sophomore Payton Samuelson at middle hitter.
Following a win against Buena Vista University on Wednesday night, the Raiders sit at 8-1 this season. They will travel to Hastings, Neb., this weekend.