The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team finished the season with an 18-15 record and lost in the first round of the Mid-American Conference tournament. While the regular season isn’t set to begin until August, the spring season is getting underway this weekend.
Coach Kim Berrington said the spring season is something that can be likened to spring training in baseball and training camp in football or hockey.
The Eagles will be kicking off the spring season Saturday with the EMU Spring Tournament. Six teams will be competing: EMU, an EMU alumni team, Concordia University, Oakland University, Madonna University and Northern Michigan University.
As far as the biggest threat goes, Berrington was clear on what she was going to worry about this weekend.
“I’m not worried about the biggest threat on the other side of the net,” Berrington said. “I’m more worried about getting some of our defensive and offensive schemes established. That’s why it’s nice to play a variety of different schools so you can experience different things.”
The Eagles lost outside hitters Rachel Iaquaniello and Kaitlyn Vincek as well as middle blocker Kristen Baker to graduation.
Iaquaniello was hands down the team’s biggest offensive threat last season with 554 kills and 32 service aces leading the team in both categories.
The player who will need to step up in her place is outside hitter Erin Short.
“Erin has been a vocal leader pretty much throughout her career,” Berrington said. “She has definitely taken on that role and is doing a nice job with it.”
Offensively, Berrington has added two more players to the roster: freshman Devon Murray and a junior whom she did not identify by name.
“We have two kids coming in,” Berrington said. “One is a freshman, she’s about 6 [feet] 1 [inch]. She can play any of the three front row positions. We’re not quite sure where we’re going to use her, just see what she adapts to quickest and what our needs are. The other is a 5 [feet] 1 [inch] left-handed setter/right side attacker. She’s going to give us some depth … It gives us the option of moving Erin Short from the right side to the left side.
It just gives us a little extra flexibility. She is transferring from Northeastern University and she’s a junior, so she’s got some experience.”
Another player who should make an impact is middle blocker Megan Crawshaw.
“Megan’s going to move into that [middle hitter one] spot. Offensively, we’re going to rely on her a lot more,” Berrington said. “She’s done a nice job this spring and she wants that responsibility. She wants to take some more swings.”
Middle blocker Kelsey Jones is also going to be getting some added playing time after redshirting her freshman season.
“Kelsey’s going to have an opportunity to play … a lot,” Berrington said.
The EMU tournament is set for Saturday and the first game is set to begin at 9 a.m.
Berrington said her team is fun to watch and she encourages the fans to come to the Convocation Center this weekend.
“I just think that we’re a fun team to watch because we’re fast,” Berrington said. “I think that personality wise and character the team is … they play hard. We’re always going to be scrappy … we’re going to be in every match.”