Volleyball Looks Forward to the 2005 Season
CHICAGO - The DePaul volleyball team is geared up for one of its biggest challenges in the program’s history, moving into the BIG EAST Conference. The young Blue Demon squad comprised of eight underclassmen and one senior is poised to make their first year in the BIG EAST memorable and successful.
“I am really looking forward to this season,” head coach Dawn Dockstader said. “On paper we might look young, but losing both setters to injuries last season forced everyone to grow up fast.
“Yes, we will still have some growing pains, but I look for us to be an exciting and explosive team to watch,” Dockstader added.
The Blue Demons will be led by their lone senior, Mandy Moorberg, and junior All-Conference USA selection Ellen Hayes. Moorberg, an outside hitter, led the Blue Demons last season with 411 kills and 46 service aces. Hayes a two-year starter at libero will move to the front row and play middle blocker. Last season Hayes broke the
Juniors Denae Gibson and Ellen Hayes and sophomore Stacy Pando will lead a group of five middle blockers this season.
“All five middles have their own style and character and even though it is our most inexperienced position it could prove to be the hardest position to handle,” Dockstader said.
Gibson is the only middle to have significant playing time under her belt, appearing in 28 of the Blue Demons’ 31 matches last season. She finished last season with 67 total blocks; the second best on the squad and will anchor the middle this season.
“We need Denae to be a strong physical presence in the middle,” Dockstader said. “During the off-season, she worked hard on improving her arm swing mechanics and her overall quickness. Denae is a student of the game so all she needs to do is take over a match is trust her instincts and let her passion for the game take over.
Hayes is hoping to make a smooth transition to the middle after spending the previous two seasons defending the back row as the team’s libero.
“Since Ellen arrived on campus, she has done whatever has been asked of her. Last season she expected to play in the middle but the team needed her strong defensive skills in the back row. Ellen responded by being named third team all-conference,” Dockstader said. “Not ever being satisfied, she quickly went back to work in the middle last spring. I believe Ellen is poised and ready for a breakout season in the middle. Her quickness combined with her ultra-competitiveness will make her a force in the middle.”
Pando, who saw limited playing time during her freshman season, appearing in six matches, took the off-season to mature as a player.
“I expect Stacy to compete for time in the middle this season,” Dockstader said. “During the off-season she took a very serious and determined attitude towards training and getting better in the middle. Stacy understands what it takes to be a good middle and I look forward to watching her hard work pay off.”
Incoming freshman Christina Correa and Jordan Ball will also compete for time in the middle. Both are athletic and should have an immediate impact this season in the middle.
The trio of junior Morgan Ingersoll, sophomore Aly Zavitz and Moorberg accounted for nearly half the team's total offense in 2004, tallying 790 of the teams 1631 kills last season. This season freshman Caitlin Callaghan, a Chicago Sun Times All-Area player, will help make the outsides even more explosive and quick.
Ingersoll started every match of her sophomore season averaging 2.79 kills per game and spent the off-season working on her defensive skills.
“Morgan has the ability and the attitude to be a dominate player both offensively and defensively. She gained quality experience on the outside last season and worked hard over the off-season to improve her passing and defensive skills," Dockstader said. “We will need Morgan to consistently put up big offensive number this season.”
Zavitz will return to the right side after a successful redshirt freshman season.
“Aly gained valuable playing experience on the right side last year when Amy Holmes had to move to setter because injuries,” Dockstader said. “She puts up a very imposing and intimidating block. Aly made great strides in the weight room and on her offensive game in the off-season. With Aly’s combination of confidence and size, I look for her to be one of the best blockers in the conference.”
Moorberg a two-year starter on the outside will lead the gang of young outsides.
“I expect great things from Mandy this year. Being the only senior, her leadership both on and off the curt will be essential to our success,” Dockstader said. “Last spring, Mandy worked hard to complete her game. She brought a higher lever of intensity to practice which resulted in her playing the best volleyball of her career. If Mandy brings that same intensity to the court this year there will be no stopping her on the outside”.
For the first time since the NCAA introduced the libero position the Blue Demons will have two true liberos on the roster in junior Jamie Klosterman and redshirt freshman Maureen Zigulich.
“Jamie’s work ethic and determination are unmatched. She is a very unselfish player who welcomes the opportunity to train whenever we need her,” Dockstader said. “Jamie is a multidimensional player who I expect to contribute in many ways and fill various roles.”
Zigulich took last season to learn the Blue Demon defense and to become a stronger player both on and off the floor.
“I am very excited to have Maureen on the court this year. She took full advantage of her redshirt status last season,” Dockstader said. “Not only does she have an insatiable attitude to keep getting better, she possesses a certain maturity not seen in most freshmen. Maureen understands the importance of weights and conditioning which has enabled her to get better quickly. I look for her to make an impact in her first season.”
The Blue Demons will have two freshmen controlling their offense this season; Mandi Caputo a redshirt freshman and newcomer Rochelle Meulemans will compete for time at setter.
Caputo was granted a medical redshirt last season after breaking her finger six games into the season. Caputo was about to take over the starting position at the time of her injury, averaging 6.83 assists per game as the back-up setter.
“I look forward to Mandi being 100 percent this season after suffering a season ending injury last fall,” Dockstader said. “Mandi made strides in the weight room and gained collegiate experience on the court. However, the real test will come this fall.”
The Blue Demons will play 18 matches at the
“We are excited to be moving to the BIG EAST and to host two tournaments,” Dockstader said. “We proved last season that we are a tough team to play at home so to have 18 matches here is to our advantage; especially since we are moving to a new conference and playing many new teams.”
The Blue Demons kick off their 2005 campaign on Saturday, August 27 in
DePaul enters the tournament portion of its schedule hosting the Blue Demon Invitational and the Chicagoland Classic the first two weekends of September.
The Blue Demon Invitational brings
The following weekend the Blue Demons host the Chicagoland Classic welcoming Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern and Loyola-Chicago. The four teams will face off September 9-10 with one team walking away with the title of
The Blue Demons will break from tournament action to host Western Illinois on September 13 before heading to
DePaul closes out September with two home contests and begin BIG EAST play on September 24, with Seton Hall. DePaul was slated in the preseason to finish the regular season 11th and want to quickly change the league's opinion.
Following the BIG EAST match, they host in-state rival Bradley on September 27 before heading on the road for four BIG EAST matches.
The club will make the short drive to
DePaul closes out the month of October at home, hosting non-conference matches with UW-Milwaukee and
The Blue Demons will take their final road trip November 5-6 traveling to BIG EAST schools
The regular season will come to a close November 12-13 with Rutgers and Villanova making the trip to
The BIG EAST Tournament will be played in
Preseason BIG EAST Poll
2. Notre Dame
13. Seton Hall