Volleyball "Set" for a Strong Season

By Justine Gaskamp on 05/23/2013 Sophomore Samantha McKay ready to make a play.—OPSU PhotoSophomore Samantha McKay ready to make a play.—OPSU Photo Goodwell, Okla.—The Oklahoma Panhandle State University Aggie volleyball team brings back a strong core of nine returning players for the 2013 season.

Head coach Mike Stephens looks for leadership in juniors Sarah Koster, Terra Madden, Jessica DeBaun, and Shaina Eddings as well as experience from sophomores Kayla Schwartz, Samantha McKay, and Natalya Weber. Makayla Barrett enters the court after redshirting last year and senior Melissa (Missy) Marshall is expected to contribute significantly after taking two seasons off.

Seven new athletes will strengthen the roster, filling gaps left by the loss of several key players. The new additions include three freshmen Nicole Fournier from Houston, Texas; Skylar Mayeux from Cedar Park, Texas; Rebecca Simmons from Las Animas, Colo.; and four transfers DeJiana Rubio from Cedar Valley College; Brittany Dubberstain from Brookhaven College; Lacy Cooley from Austin Community College-Cypress; and Celci Bakos from Riverside Community College, who will redshirt this fall.

The fifth year head coach hopes that by blending athleticism and experience as well as incorporating teambuilding and "brain training," the team will gain the physical and mental tools to overcome any setbacks. Stephens adds, "Every year I'm sure we will meet our goals, whether athletic or academic. We continue to hit the academic goals. This year, like every year, I pick us to finish high in the Heartland Conference rankings. This fall will be no exception."

Assistant coach Tiana McCowan returns for her second year and Michaela Redding joins the coaching staff after finishing her senior year on the court as an Aggie. The season kicks off at home with the OPSU Aggies Challenge Tournament Sept. 6-7 in the Oscar Williams Field House.

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