Mathias Durie | Sports Reporter
The Bethel University Volleyball team finished in the top 8 in the Nation last season after making an NCAA tournament run that ended with a loss in the Quarterfinals to Hendrix College. The team finished with an overall record of 25-10 and a 9-3 Conference record which landed them No. 2 in the MIAC behind Gustavus. The Royals averaged one error per set, 13.3 kills per set, 12.5 assists per set and 17.2 digs per set in 2015
Coming into fall camp the team is working on improving their blocking and overall defense. The team is implementing a new offensive system in which the setters play opposite of the middle hitters instead of the right side hitters.
Head Coach Gretchen Hunt has never used this system in college and neither have any of the players. The reason for changing is that this system highlights the team’s strengths. The risky part about this system is that the Royals won’t be able to sub as much so the players on the floor must be very versatile and play multiple positions.
“Two of the things we always take pride in is being really tough servers and on the opposite end of that, being great passers,” Hunt said. “If you can’t serve and pass, it doesn’t matter how great your hitters are.”
The Royals volleyball team took their first ever international trip this summer to Nicaragua. The trip was made possible by fundraising efforts including donations and a night at Raising Canes where a portion of sales went to directly toward the trip. During their time there, they played the Nicaraguan national team, spent a few days surfing and zip lining through the jungle. They also took time to serve the community, spending time at a cooperative for people with cognitive or physical disabilities and a bilingual school where they helped in the classrooms.
The Bethel University Volleyball team was ranked No. 1 in the MIAC Coaches poll and No. 12 in the AVCA preseason poll for the 2016 season.
Players who Coach Hunt looks to make an impact this year include Brooke Olstad, Callie Sinclair and Karin Canakes.
Also returning starter outside hitters Carlee and Tina Hoppe and senior setter Katie Lubben look to play at a high level for the Royals again in 2016. They are returning four starters from last years NCAA tournament run including Senior Carlee Hoppe who earned the AVCA Division III All-Region team award in 2015.
The Royals had their season opener Friday Sep. 2 against Nebraska Wesleyan University in Robertson Center Gym at 5:30 p.m.