When three key players depart, some teams would have to rebuild. Heidelberg volleyball, ranked 21st in the preseason AVCA poll, is excited about the opportunity to reload.
Head coach Jason Miller, entering his 13th season at Heidelberg, lost three key players from a year ago – Jackie Reinhart, Melissa Eck, and Vanessa Haase. However, there will still be experience on the court in 2012.
Senior setter Rachel Ferguson (Brighton, MI/Brighton), who led the team with 777 sets while collecting 205 digs a season ago, will look to add to her impressive resume.
Ferguson will look to serve up assists to senior middle hitter Marian Bevington (Celina/Parkway). Bevington tallied a team high 360 kills for a .319 hitting percentage, 35 digs and 138 blocks last season which earned her All-American recognition.
Helping out at the net will be senior right setter Jacki Street (Grafton/Midview). Street posted 247 kills for a hitting percentage of .261, 36 sets and 52 total blocks in 2011 on her way to an OAC honorable mention.
Junior middle hitter Amber Welfle (Norwalk/St. Paul), who earned second-team All-OAC and Academic All-District second team honors last year, along with junior setter Alexa Frank (Tiffin/Calvert) will be valuable assets as role players in 2012.
Sophomore libero Tessa Benanzer (Fort Loramie) led the team in digs with 618 in 2011 and will look to build on the experience gained from a season ago.
Coming off of a 32-7 (9-0 OAC) season, the team was picked second in the 2012 OAC Volleyball Coaches’ Poll, released August 20, 2012. A season ago, Berg volleyball once again rewrote history claiming their fourth Ohio Athletic Conference regular season championship and their fifth consecutive NCAA regional qualification.
Reinhart returns to the team as a graduate assistant. Kiara Ruffing and Amanda Atchison will remain on the staff as an assistant coaches. Atchison will serve as Heidelberg’s Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs after receiving her Master’s Degree from Heidelberg in May. Ruffing is in her fifth season with the team.
Heidelberg will begin their 2012 campaign on August 31, when they travel to Ada, Ohio to compete in the Ohio Northern University Invitational.
The home opener is September 26th, when Muskingum travels to Seiberling Gymnasium.
2012 OAC Preseason Volleyball Coaches’ Poll
1. Mount Union (6)
2. Heidelberg (3)
3. Otterbein (1)
4. Ohio Northern
5. Baldwin Wallace
9. John Carroll