MOUNT PLEASANT — Coming off its first Mid-American Conference Tournament championship and NCAA appearance in program history, the Central volleyball program will look to climb to new heights in 2012.
The Chippewas, who finished 19-14 and 8-8 in the MAC in 2011, made an improbable run in the MAC Tournament, claiming their first title in program history as the No. 6 seed.
Ninth-year head coach Erik Olson will rely on his team’s strength in numbers as it returns five of its six starters from last season, as well as its primary libero in junior Jenna Coates. Overall, the Chippewas return seven letter winners and 80 percent of its points scored and kills.
Sophomore Kaitlin McIntyre will be key to the Maroon and Gold’s success in her second season on the court after earning Freshman All-MAC honors a season ago and setting a CMU freshman kills record with 409. The mark also ranked sixth all-time in CMU rally history.
Junior setter Kelly Maxwell will look to guide the offense and build off her MAC All-Tournament team selection last season. Maxwell’s 1,314 assists were the second most in the MAC last season and fourth most in CMU single-season history. She also finished fourth in the MAC with 10.95 assisters per set.
Despite losing four-time All-MAC selection Kaitlyn Schultz to graduation, the Chippewas look to be just as strong in the middle in 2012. Junior Danielle Gotham returns after leading the team with 116 blocks and finishing fourth on the squad with 246 kills. Senior Jocelyn Vervelde, sophomore Hallie Enderle and true freshman Kalle Mulford will join Gotham in the middle as they look to improve on finishing fourth in blocks as a team last season.
Coates will look to continue her defensive prowess after finishing fifth in the MAC with 543 digs and 4.24 digs per set. The mark was the third most in CMU single-season rally scoring history and brought her career total to 788, ranking her seventh all time.
Outside hitter Lindsey Dulude has a chance to cement her name in the record books during her final campaign. Dulude enters the season ranked fifth in service aces per set (0.26), sixth in digs per set (2.16), seventh in kills (737) and attacks (2,283) ninth in service aces (82) and tenth in total digs (686) in CMU history.