THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— After making their 18th NCAA appearance last year, the Cal Lutheran women's volleyball team is back and ready for another run in the NCAA Tournament.
The current and incoming players look to continue the traditions and history of Cal Lutheran Regals volleyball as they compete for a conference championship and a NCAA Tournament berth while at the same time continuing to build the sisterhood.
"I am thrilled with our team," said head women's volleyball coach Kellee Roesel. "We have 18 kids, that are Cal Lutheran kids. They are our type of student-athletes. They have quality character and work very hard on and off the court.
"The team is all about the process. We love the chase during the season and it is a lot of fun. We don't care what anyone else says. We put pressure on ourselves to be the best that we can be."
The team may seem young, academically, however, they bring back a ton of experience led by the only senior, Carly Rose Howard. At libero last year, she totaled 467 digs which is the fifth most in CLU's record book.
The junior class looks to take on more leadership and have valuable playing experience in the NCAA Tournament. The trio of returners consists of Sarah Hein, Jennifer Kent and Mackenzie Martinez. All three played in at least 25 matches a year ago. CLU also added Morgan Given to the class. She played the previous two years at UMass Lowell.
The sophomore class came to Cal Lutheran a year ago and didn't disappoint. Led by All-American and West Region Freshman of the Year, Maci Haddad, the middle hitter was second on the team last year with 2.53 kills per set, 281 in total. She had an attack percentage of .359 from the field which tied for the sixth best in program history.
Joining Haddad for their second season in the Violet and Gold is Lauren Heller, Madison Karcich, Samantha Landrum, Jordan MacArthur, Ashley Reyes and Julia Trento. All seven saw the court last year, each making their own contributions, and will look to battle for a spot this year too.
"Carly is the lone captain right now," said Roesel. "She is very smart and is always asking questions.She is primed and ready to lead this group. Maci is also a key returner for us and has been working very hard.
"There will be a freshmen in the middle, and they are all talented, all different and all bring something to the table. The right and outsides are all up for grabs. It is going to be really competitive. Jenny did a fantastic job this spring in the setting role, Lauren has been working hard and then a freshman, Jenna, is coming in. They are all talented.
Roesel and her staff are excited for the season to start and she pointed out one more thing that is different from the past.
"We have some tall Regals coming in and the team has more height then in the past. There will be some hard decisions, which you want as a coach. At the end of the day, it will be very competitive, and our staff and the girls are looking forward to the challenges."
The season gets underway Aug. 30-31 at the Pacific Coast Classic in Claremont, Calif. If you want to see the team in action before hand, the Regals host Westmont in an exhibition match on Saturday at 4 p.m.
"The past 11 years we've used the word "believe", said Roesel. "That is an on-going staple and it is all about believing in themselves, the coaching staff and a higher power. We want them to love each other, the program and achieve all their dreams.
2019 Roster: Regals Volleyball
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director