THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The 2017 Cal Lutheran women's volleyball team will have a new look with nine incoming players, but the group still enters the season as one of the top teams in the nation, having recently been ranked No. 6 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Poll.
Although it is a new year, the motto and expectation is the same.
"We have to believe and work as hard as possible every single day to get better on a daily basis," head coach Kellee Roesel shared. "I am just excited about getting back on the court with the kids and my coaches every day."
When asked about the keys to success, Roesel simply said cohesion, chemistry and hard work, which are all the tools that have helped the Regals to become successful year-in and year-out over the last dozen years.
As always, the squad will look to the senior leadership of four-year letter-winners Mikayla Dobson, Molly Holloway, Jamie Smith and Hope Stewart. The junior class is comprised of CJ O'Brien, Amanda Roberts and Steph Rolfson while sophomores Carly Rose Howard and Amy McKee each bring a year of collegiate experience back to the court in 2017.
A two-year starter at the setter spot, Smith is staged to direct traffic again as a senior. In 2015 she set the CLU single-season assists record with 1,312 and a year ago she supplied 1,039 for eighth in a single-season. She sits in fourth all-time at CLU with 2,447 assists and has eyes on climbing the career list as well.
Stewart, an AVCA Honorable Mention All-America, AVCA All-West Region and First Team All-SCIAC selection, had a breakout junior season, swung into the CLU single-season top-10 last season with 367 kills and will again be an offensive force for the Regals. Holloway, who led the team in service aces with 37 last fall was also the only player to appear in all 108 sets in 2016, and will continue to impress from the service line and contribute in the middle as well. Finally, Dobson will get reps behind Smith as one of four setters on the roster.
Again, Roberts, the 2015 SCIAC Newcomer of the Year, will be an integral part of the lineup on the outside and serving. O'Brien returns from an injury plagued junior campaign to compete for a libero spot while Rolfson will also be setting for the Regals in her third season at CLU.
Joining the Violet and Gold are a trio of transfers along with six true freshmen in Emma Cisneros-Luebke (Phoenix, Ariz.), Taylor Johnson (Chino, Calif.), Sarah Hein (Riverside, Calif.), Jennifer Kent (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Mackenzie Martinez (San Diego, Calif.) and Paige Poggione (Las Vegas, Nev.) who will each get her first taste of collegiate volleyball.
Junior transfer Paris Dosch was a two-time First Team All-Conference selection at Ventura College. Hannah Cantrell, another junior transfer, comes to CLU from Santa Barbara City College where she was just as successful with a First Team All-Conference honor in 2015 and All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2016. Finally, Daniella Villano played one season of volleyball at College of the Canyons.
Cal Lutheran heads to San Antonio, Texas for the Trinity National Tournament on Sept. 1-2 where the Regals open the season against AVCA No. 23 Wisconsin-Oshkosh before facing No. 1 Calvin (Mich.) and No. 14 Trinity.
Upon their return to the West coast, the Regals will host the annual Cal Lu Fornia Invitational, which will be another challenge, prior to diving right into Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play. Look for tough league matches against conference foe and AVCA No. 7 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, AVCA No. 25 La Verne and competitive Pomona-Pitzer and Chapman programs.
Cal Lutheran steps on the court inside the Gilbert Arena for the first time on Wednesday, Sept. 6 against Westmont with first serve set for 7:30 p.m.
Roster: 2017 Women's Volleyball Roster
Schedule: 2017 Women's Volleyball Schedule
CLU Instagram: http://instagram.com/clusports#
W Volleyball Instagram: http://instagram.com/regals_volleyball/
CLU Twitter: https://twitter.com/clusports
W Volleyball Twitter: https://twitter.com/CLUwVolleyball
CLU Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clusports
Hashtags: #clusports #ownthethrone #goregals #gokingsmen #theSCIAC #ncaad3
Release by Tracy L. Olson, Sports Information Director