2013 Volleyball Preview-Third of Four Editions: Defensive Specialist

By MJ Arjomandi published September 3, 2013

Of all the changes this season to the UCCS volleyball team, the position which will see the most familiar faces is libero or defensive specialist. The Mountain Lion return their starting libero from 2012, Katie Maguire, senior Heather Sanders, former outsider hitter Sam Schroeder, and add freshman Katie Bartlett.

Last season, Katie Maguire lead the team in digs (397) and digs per set (4.05). In the spring, Maguire suffered from a stress fracture, which has sidelined her much of the summer. This season, Coach Elder still has "big hopes for her," but is not exactly sure at this point how things will exactly play out.

The injury to Katie Maguire created a void which was quickly filled by senior Heather Sanders. According to Coach Elder, Sanders did a really good job jumping into the libero role when Maguire got hurt." Sanders is the longest active member of the Mountain Lion team, as she enters her third year on the squad. Coach Elder states that, "since I have come in, Heather has evolved into the team captain, the team leader, and someone that all the girls respect."Elder goes on to add that " I think she is going to surprise a lot of people in the conference with how much she has improved in just the last six months."

Sam Schroeder returns to the team this season, but with a completely different role than she had a year ago. In 2012, Schroeder played as an outside hitter. In 2013, Schroeder makes a big adjustment, by becoming a defensive specialist. Coach Elder explains that "it's hard to go from offensive and aggressive, to defensive, yet still be aggressive. She is doing a really good job though. She is working very hard, and I think she is definitely going to be someone we can count on when things get tough."    

The Mountain Lions also add freshman Katie Bartlett to the already deep and talented defensive specialist position. Coach Elder already has high praise for Bartlett, noting that Bartlett is "one of those kids who just won't stop. She is going to go dig balls and going to pass everything that comes her way. Bartlett is going to be our sparkplug this season."

The UCCS volleyball team has found its spark plug, and every other vital component necessary to create a well oiled machine. With a great mixture of youth, experience, leadership and talent, it's easy to see why Coach Elder is so confident in the libero and defensive specialists this season for the Mountain Lions.  

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Katie MaguireKatie Maguire9DS/LSo.
Heather SandersHeather Sanders8DS/LSr.
Sam SchroederSam Schroeder12OHSo.
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