2005 Volleyball Preview

Posted on August 29th, 2005 by

Sophomore right side hitter Jennifer Thelemann

Sophomore right side hitter Jennifer Thelemann

Senior Kristi Forsythe with sophomore Bri Alsides in the background

Senior Kristi Forsythe with sophomore Bri Alsides in the background

Junior middle hitter Becca Thompson

Junior middle hitter Becca Thompson

Sophomore outside hitter Andrea Kron

Sophomore outside hitter Andrea Kron

Gustavus Adolphus College volleyball coach Kari Eckheart hopes her 2005 squad can build from a 2004 season that saw them fall one win shy of the 20-win plateau but make their first Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament appearance since 2000. If they are to do so, it will be with a line-up high on talent, but relatively low on experience. Gustavus enters the season with one senior on the roster.

With the loss of six letter-winners, the roster will look significantly different from a year ago. Seven first-year players emerged from pre-season drills with jerseys and another player, Michelle Anderson (Chanhassen, Minn.), is a sophomore who did not compete a season ago. Despite plenty of new faces this season, the goal will remain the same. “We want to be in the top six in the conference and make the MIAC Tournament. I don’t want to put a number of wins out there, we just want to be in the tournament,” Coach Eckheart commented.

Among the losses to graduation for the Gusties is two-time all-conference and all-region honorable mention selection setter Rachel Batalden. Batalden finished her career at Gustavus with the second-most assists in school history (4,012). Also gone to graduation is defensive specialist Sue Dailey. Dailey was second on the team in digs with 416 and played in all but two games for the Gusties as a senior. Last season’s other all-conference selection, Tara Houlihan (Senior, Sioux Falls, S.D.) will be studying abroad during the fall semester and will not be in uniform for the Gusties. Houlihan, the 2004-05 Gustavus Female Athlete of the Year, finished last season ranked sixth in the MIAC with 3.41 kills per game and seventh in the conference with 4.58 digs per game. She also became the school’s all-time digs leader last season, amassing 1,226 digs in her career.

Replacing Batalden, Houlihan, Dailey and Anne Osthus, who did not return to the team, will be no small task for the Gusties. However, with experienced youngsters returning from last season there is optimism. “Offensively we are going to be strong. We have some experienced hitters and I also expect that we will do well blocking the ball,” Eckheart commented.

Eckheart expects that junior Rachelle Jakobs (Montevideo, Minn.) will step in at setter in place of Batalden. “It’s tough to see your seniors leave, obviously, but at the same time it’s nice to see someone like Rachelle get to play regularly. She’s someone who has put a lot into the program.”

The Gusties will have a completely revamped back row with the graduation of both Dailey and Jennifer Tischer. Eckheart sees sophomore Bri Alsides as more than capable of stepping up and filling one of the defensive specialist positions. Alsides recorded 241 kills last season and was part of a trio of first-year players that produced for the Gusties in 2004.

The other members of that trio, sophomores Andrea Kron (Cold Spring, Minn.) and Jennifer Thelemann (Le Sueur, Minn.) return to the outside hitter and right side hitter positions, respectively. Kron returns the highest number of kills from last year’s squad with 290. Thelemann finished the season fifth in kills (143) and eighth in digs (42) on the team. Lone senior Kristi Forsythe (Forest Lake, Minn.) will compete for time at outside hitter with Jessica Plemel (Junior, Owatonna, Minn.) and incoming first-years Sadie Ward (Montevideo, Minn.) and Britta Bolm (Alexandria, Minn.).

In the middle, junior Becca Thompson (Mankato, Minn.) will return after finishing the 2004 season fourth on the team in kills with 173. Jami Moseng (Sophomore, Montevideo, Minn.) and incoming first-year Kelsey Aamlid (Sioux Falls, S.D.) will compete for the second middle position opposite Thompson.

The other defensive specialist spot will be one of a few positions filled by either incoming first-year players Amanda Zeiner (Willmar, Minn.) and Andrea Smilanich (South Saint Paul, Minn.) or returning players with little experience from last season. First-year Emily Klein (Red Wing, Minn.) is slated to step in at libero following a very productive pre-season camp.

Coach Eckheart has lost a solid core of players from last year’s squad, however the Gusties have begun to build a nucleus of young talent that will have them competing atop the MIAC for years to come. The Gusties will start their season by facing Pacific University at the Boxer Kickoff Invitational in Forest Grove, Oregon. Gustavus’ first home game will be Friday, September 9th versus Viterbo, while their first conference game is set for Wednesday, September 14th at Hamline in St. Paul, Minn.

2005 MIAC Volleyball Season Preview
2005 Roster

2005 Schedule

2004 Statistics

General Information
Name: Gustavus Adolphus College
Location: St. Peter, Minn.
Founded: 1862
Enrollment: 2,600
Nickname: Golden Gusties
School Colors: Black and Gold
Home Facilities: Gus Young Court in Lund Arena
Affiliation: NCAA Div. III
President: Jim Peterson
Athletic Director: Al Molde
Athletic Phone: (507) 933-7617

First year of volleyball: 1969
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 3
Last NCAA Tournament / Result: 1986 / Defeated St. Benedict, Lost to Elmhurst

Sports Information
Sports Info Director: Tim Kennedy
Work Phone: (507) 933-7647
E-mail: timgasid@gustavus.edu
Sports Info Asst/Volleyball contact: Joshua Schroeder
Work Phone: (507) 933-8411
E-mail: jschroed@gustavus.edu
SID Fax: (507) 933-8412
Web site: http://www.gustavus.edu/oncampus/athletics/vb/

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Kari Eckheart (119-113)
Alma Mater / Year: Iowa State / 1995
Year at Gustavus: Ninth
Head Coach’s office phone: (507) 933-6416
Assistant Coach: Mickey Haller

Player Information

Key Returnees
Bri Alsides — 241 digs, 35 service aces (0.36/game)
Andrea Kron — 290 kills (2.96/game), 53 total blocks (0.54/game)
Jennifer Thelemann — 143 kills (1.66/game), 59 total blocks (0.69/game)
Becca Thompson — 173 kills (1.99/game), 71 total blocks (0.82/game)

All Returning Letterwinners
Bri Alsides (SO, DS, 5-5, South St. Paul, MN)
Jennifer Culhane (SO, DS, 5-7, Mitchell, SD)
Kristi Forsythe (SR, OH, 5-8, Forest Lake, MN)
Rachelle Jakobs (JR, S, 5-6, Montevideo, MN)
Andrea Kron (SO, OH, 6-0, Cold Spring, MN)
Jami Moseng (JR, MH, 5-10, Montevideo, MN)
Jennifer Thelemann (SO, RH, 6-2, Le Sueur, MN)
Becca Thompson (JR, MH, 5-11, Mankato, MN)

Letterwinners Lost
Rachel Batalden
Sue Dailey
Jennifer Tischer
Sheila Rodel
Anne Osthus
Tara Houlihan

Key Newcomers
Emily Klein (FY, Libero, Red Wing, Minn.)
Sadie Ward (FY, OH, Montevideo, Minn.)
Jessica Plemel (JR, OH, Owatonna, Minn.)

Letterwinners returning: 8
Letterwinners lost: 6
Starters returning: 3
Starters lost: 5

2004 Results
Sept. 1 @ UM-Morris W 3-0
Sept. 3-4 @ UW-River Falls Tournament
Sept. 3 vs. Macalester W 3-1
Sept. 3 vs. Central L 1-3
Sept. 4 vs. Pacific Lutheran L 1-3
Sept. 4 vs. St. Olaf L 1-3
Sept. 8 Bethany Lutheran W 3-1
Sept. 10-11 Gustavus Classic
Sept. 10 VITERBO W 3-0
Sept. 10 MARTIN LUTHER W 3-0
Sept. 11 CORNELL W 3-1
Sept. 15 BETHEL * W 3-1
Sept. 17-18 @ Carleton Classic
Sept. 17 UW-Oshkosh W 3-2
Sept. 17 Buena Vista W 3-0
Sept. 18 Dubuque W 3-0
Sept. 22 @ St. Olaf * W 3-1
Sept. 25 @ St. Thomas * L 1-3
Sept. 29 ST. CATHERINE’S * W 3-0
Oct. 1 @ Macalester * L 0-3
Oct. 6 CARLETON * W 3-2
Oct. 8 ST. BENEDICT’S * L 2-3
Oct. 13 @ Augsburg * W 3-0
Oct. 14 LUTHER * W 3-1
Oct. 16 CONCORDIA * W 3-2
Oct. 20 @ Hamline * W 3-1
Oct. 27 @ St. Mary’s * W 3-1
Nov. 2 @ St. Thomas L 0-3

Home Contests in CAPS
* – Indicates MIAC opponent


Comments are closed.