Four Players Honored in HCAC Preseason Poll
GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference announced its 2011 preseason volleyball poll on Thursday. Defiance College was picked seventh in the preseason poll, and four members of the team were selected to the HCAC Preseason Watch List.
The Yellow Jackets ended 2010 with a 14-17 mark including a 3-6 record in the HCAC to finish seventh. The team recorded a season-best, three-match win streak against Concordia, Simpson and West Coast Baptist while playing in the University of California Santa Cruz Tournament. The Jackets also posted a 6-5 home record and a 6-5 neutral court record, which made them strong opponents defending home court and in tournaments.
The 2010 squad boasted two All-HCAC selections in rising senior Marlea Rolander and rising sophomore Chelsea Ludeman, who was the second DC player in three years to be named HCAC Freshman-of-the-Year.
Head Coach David Kwan will once again lead Defiance in the upcoming season. Kwan is entering his ninth season and has guided the squad to a 136-114 overall record and a 38-26 clip in league play.
A strong contingent of returning players will be expected to lead the Yellow Jackets in the upcoming season. Rolander and Ludeman, along with seniors Jessica Tietje and Meghan Hinds will be called upon to carry the load after being named to the HCAC Watch List.
Rolander, a middle blocker, has established herself as one of the most dominant players in the conference. The product of Napoleon High led the league in total blocks (127) a season ago. She also ranked among the best in the conference with 270 kills and a .310 hitting percentage.
Ludeman enters her second season after a stellar freshman campaign. In 2010, Ludeman, a right side hitter, ranked sixth in the HCAC with 323 kills. A threat on the defensive end as well, she posted 86 total blocks. Also a product of Napoleon High, Ludeman combined with Rolander to account for nearly half of the team’s kills and blocks.
Tietje returns to the squad after an injury-shortened 2010 season. The senior middle blocker from Patrick Henry High will play an important part in returning DC to the upper echelon of the conference. Despite only playing in 13 matches, Tietje posted a total of 73 kills at a .227 hitting percentage. She also totaled 43 blocks at a rate of .88 per set, which ranked second on the DC team.
Hinds, an outside hitter from Portland High (MI), returns after a solid debut season for the Yellow Jackets. In 2010, she set marks of 87 kills, 41 aces and 27 total blocks. Hinds will look to have an expanded role this season and help the Jackets climb up the conference table.
Defiance College collected 45 points in the preseason poll. Transylvania University was picked first after winning the HCAC crown in 2010. Mount St. Joseph, Hanover, Bluffton and Rose-Hulman rounded out the top five. Only Transylvania and Bluffton placed more players on the Preseason Watch List.
The volleyball team will open its season on September 2 when it travels to Ada, Ohio to take part in the Ohio Northern University Tournament.