By Bryan Stauffer
A 3-7 (1-1) start to the 2013 season was not exactly what the Cal Poly Pomona volleyball team had in mind, but the team’s overall physicality and rich depth have the Broncos optimistic that they can rebound and contend for a CCAA title.
The Broncos are led by a trio of seniors, all of which were key contributors last season who look to build on their experience and help the team top their 13-16 record from a year ago.
Jessica Doerner returns as the team’s top outside hitter after racking up a career-high 302 kills last year.
Kate Colin led the Broncos in total assists in 2012 and will play an integral role in kick-starting CPP’s offense.
At libero, Erin Noriega will be leaned on to produce at multiple positions on the floor after posting the team’s second best serving percentage, 96.1 percent, and finishing third on the squad in average digs a year ago.
The Broncos enter the 2013 season with one of the younger lineups in the CCAA, but that is not slowing head coach Rosie Wegrich from thinking this team can compete with anyone.
“One thing we have as a team is that we are pretty good sized,” said Wegrich. “Physically, there’s no limit with [our team]. I expect them to be intelligent and systematically wise, and it’s our job as coaches to educate them.”
CPP’s all-around skill level might even be stronger than in past years, and that is something that Wegrich is excited about, despite losing four key seniors from last year’s team.
“Some years I’ve looked at our team and I say, ‘We’re not going to be able to hang with a certain team because we don’t have the athletes,'” said Wegrich. “However, this year we have the athletes, so I just have to insist on the fundamentals to be emphasized and refined.”
With three juniors and ten underclassmen occupying the remaining roster spots, the Broncos are deep at nearly every position, but lack overall experience.
“We have a very long bench and we can count on anyone pretty much at this point,” said Doerner. “I think that’s something to be very proud of since it’s such a long season.”
The upperclassmen know that in order to have a winning team they need to have strong team chemistry; but that is something that will continue to develop and get stronger throughout the course of the season.
“We’re still getting use to some of the new players,” said Noriega. “We got a lot of new bodies this fall, so we just need to continue to work things out on the court.”
Third-year middle blocker Lauren Jones will provide a steady hand for the Broncos this season, after finishing fourth on the team in games played in 2012 with 105. In addition, she recorded the fourth-most kills on the team with 193, and was the second leading blocker on the team with 81.
CPP welcomes two third-year transfers to the Broncos this season, in Roxanne Cardona and Elle Moffatt.
Cardona, a biology student from Alhambra, competed at East Los Angeles College where she received All-Conference First Team honors in 2010-11.
Moffatt, a middle blocker from Lodi, competed at Cal State Fullerton where she appeared in 17 sets and collected four kills during her sophomore campaign in 2012.
Thus far in 2013, the Broncos are landing fewer kills than their opponents, trailing 510 to 545, and are committing more errors than their adversaries, 132 to 123, through 10 matches.
One area the Broncos are dialing in on is their team defense.
They have recorded 624 total digs, topping their opponents’ total of 603, and have the edge in total blocks, racking up 103.5 to their opponents’ 87.5.
The Broncos will travel to Cal State East Bay this Friday for a CCAA showdown with the Pioneers.
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