Bruin teams prepped for the fall season
With 10 talented newcomers joining the womens volleyball program for the upcoming 2013 season, 31-year veteran head coach Steve Grant has high hopes of climbing into the top half of the Northwest Conference standings after a 9-14 campaign in 2012 that saw the Bruins finish in a tie for fifth in the conference at 7-9.
George Fox must replace outside hitters Cassie Irwin and Lucy Capron, but otherwise returns four starters.
Seven letter winners return for the Bruins, including starters Tiffany Burk, a second team all-conference middle blocker, outside hitter Erin Campbell, middle blocker Kylee Adderson and setter Payton Shrum. Libero Chelsea Wilson, who ranked second in the conference in digs (5.80 dpg), also returns.
The George Fox recruiting class features a bevy of middle blockers, including Erin Dellinger (Cle Elum, Wash.), Jessica Malchow (Olympia, Wash.), Emily Rawlings (Sun Valley, Calif.), Meeka Mayhew (Tigard) and Erin Sprowls (Vancouver, Wash.). Mayhew and Sprowls could also play on the right side.
The Bruins will open the season Friday at New Hope Christian and will play their first home game at 4 p.m. Saturday versus Corban.
With a new head coach, only five returning starters and a youthful roster that has only one senior and 20 players in either their freshman or sophomore seasons, George Fox hopes to surprise the NWC womens soccer coaches who have picked them to finish ninth in the league in the 2013 season.
Cory Hand, an experienced club team coach, makes his college head coaching debut this fall as only the third head coach in the Bruins 23-year history, replacing Andy Hetherington, who left the program after 11 years.
Hand inherits a team that went 3-15-2 last season and placed ninth in the NWC at 2-14. Three All-Conference performers are gone from that squad and just one senior, goalkeeper Alyssa Montero, returns.
Midfielder Michelle Young is the top returning offensive player after leading the team with five goals scored as a freshman. Other returnees who started a majority of the time in 2012 include midfielders Jenna Prewitt and Becca Allen and defenders Cassidy Stallings.
George Fox received 10 points in the poll from the leagues nine coaches, while at the top, Linfield has been chosen to put an end to the University of Puget Sounds 11-year dominance, collecting five of the nine first-place votes and a total of 66 points in the poll, just ahead of the Loggers (64).
The Bruins will host Corban at 4 p.m. Sept. 2 in the season opener.