The 2012 Cyclones have all the makings of a successful season—athleticism, versatility on the court and experience—which bodes well for this team of mostly newcomers.
Moraine Valley lost several all-conference and all-region players from last year and return just one—Colleen Gardner (Mother McAuley)—from that squad which was one loss from advancing to the national championship for a second consecutive year. But Gardner is ready to lead a strong team to another 20-plus win season and try to recapture the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference title.
Gardner is moving from left side hitter, where she played last season, back to her comfort zone in the Libero position. She will direct the defensive side of the court and be one of three primary receivers of the opponents’ serves. Head coach Gloria Coughlin welcomes a group of talented athletes who she and long-time assistant coach Donna Zidek expect to make an immediate impact at the net, offensively.
First year players Kara Kentner (Sandburg), Joanna Curtis (Sandburg), Jane Tunney (Sandburg), and Bridget Williams (Mount Assisi) will be a good balance on the right side of the court to Gina Ryan (Oak Forest) and Autumn Seiler (Oak Forest) on the left side. Add to that mix newcomers Stephanie Dagenais (Oak Forest), Katlyn Beckow (Evergreen Park/Lake Forest College) and Melanie Gerhardt (Bremen) on the middle attack for a good number of options in the team’s repertoire.
“We are very athletic this year and will have the ability to move players into different positions depending on the opponents. That will make scouting us a difficult task and allow our team to use several different offensive and defensive systems,” Coughlin said. “More systems mean more to learn for these young players. However, each player brings in high school and club experience, so we are looking forward to utilizing their abilities and knowledge of the game to offer a very exciting season of volleyball.”
The Cyclones started the season at the College of DuPage Invitational Tournament August 25 and 26 before heading to a tough tournament at Owens Community College in Ohio during Labor Day weekend. In Ohio, Moraine Valley will be tested with top teams from around the country who all want to play at the site of this year’s NJCAA Championship in November. On Sept. 6 conference play begins with a match against College of Lake County.
“This season will be both entertaining and exciting. We welcome our fans back, welcome new fans and invite all the student body and faculty to join us for some fun in the gym,” Coughlin said.
The first Cyclone home game is Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. against rival Kankakee Community College.