After a disappointing 9-23 season, the volleyball team is geared up for a rebuilding season. Head coach Tony Sunga brought on six freshmen to make up his 12-player roster.
The tale of the tape reads well for the incoming freshman class, as they average a height of 6 feet and a 1/2 inch compared to their upperclassman teammates, who stack up at about 5 feet and 10 inches.
“Our front line players have to be very tall and able to move,” Sunga said. “Our shorter players tend to be faster so they make the best defenders.”
Freshman Katie Allen is the tallest member of the team at a height of six feet and three inches, coming out of Lincoln-Way East High School in Mokena, Ill.
The team got off to a rough start at the Wisconsin-Green Bay Tournament, winning only one match and dropping nine to finish the tournament with an 0-3 record. The Bulldogs faced stiff competition. Drake took on Wisconsin-Green Bay on their home court, Auburn (a member of theSouth Eastern Conference) and Central Michigan, who won the Mid-American Conference tournament last year.
The tough road tests don’t stop there.
Tonight the Bulldogs hit the road again for the New Mexico State Tournament where they are slated to play Northwestern and Cincinnati (both Big Ten teams) and New Mexico State.
Following the New Mexico State Tournament, the team will travel to Madison, Wis., the following week where they will compete in the Inntowner Invitational. The Bulldogs are slated to take on Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and North Dakota State.
“We are getting ready for conference play so it has been a good development and growth experience,” Sunga said. “For us to develop at a rate that we would find ourselves competing in the Missouri Valley Tournament, we have to play those tough teams.”
After three tough tournaments on the road, the team finally gets to open conference play against Wichita State in the Knapp Center on Friday, Sept. 14. To celebrate the home opener, the team will be giving away 100 T-shirts to the first 100 fans.
The Bulldogs are looking to finish in the top six of the conference in order to compete in the MVC tournament.