Women’s Volleyball team rebuilds with talented freshmen class

Rod Brumfield is preparing for an extreme chemistry project. It’s just not one that would typically be taught in a classroom.

Brumfield is gearing up for his third season as Schoolcraft’s Head Women’s Volleyball Coach and described this year’s team as a complex chemistry project.

“This team is like a chemistry project. Each player is an ingredient that has to come together,” Brumfield said.

Youth movement

After a 20-15 record a year ago, youth will be the majority of the team that only has three returning players.

“Youth is the primary focus to overcome. We raised the level of talent and skill level this year with our freshman class,” Brumfield said.

The freshman class boasts 11 of the 15 players on the roster.

Returning sophomore Emily Bondar is expecting the freshman to jump right in and help the team compete this season.

“They are all athletic and very hard working,” Bondar said.

Veteran leadership

Sophomore Stephanie Gibson was named team captain of this year’s squad but will have assistance from veterans Emily Bondar and Megan Wright.

Bondar and Wright will bring added leadership to the team to the team. Alyssa Kainz, a transfer from Concordia adds to the mix of vets providing leadership on and off the court.

“The three of us returners are very influential to the incoming freshman. We are all taking a great leadership role so far,” Gibson said.

Following a season where experience was easy to come by, Bondar is looking forward to being a leader of this young squad.

“It’s different because last year we had almost an even freshman-sophomore split. Now that there are three of us that are returning, it’s a little bit harder to push the freshmen because they overpower us in size,” Bondar said.

With the season getting under way, Gibson and her teammates agreed they can’t wait for the live game action to begin.

Gibson is pleased with the way the team has prepared in the offseason.

“We started really early in January so it gave us a lot of time to get the team together and get conditioning in early. When the first day of official practice came on Aug. 1, we had already clicked as a team and conditioned pretty well too.”

Despite being new to the program, the freshman class has already impressed Gibson. She likes the way the team has molded and is enthusiastic about the team’s overall talent.

“Everybody is super athletic and have their talents in order. It’s just a matter of figuring out which six are the best out on the court.”

After posting a 20-15 record a year ago, youth will be making up majority of this year’s squad with only three returning players from last season. Photo by Brian Quintos/Special to the Connection.

After posting a 20-15 record a year ago, youth will be making up majority of this year’s squad with only three returning players from last season. Photo by Brian Quintos/Special to the Connection.

Who will play?

Determining the six on the court is always a tall task for Brumfield and his assistants Chris DePoy and Milt Resh.

“Playing time will be hard to come by this year. With only six able to play at a time, that means that nine souls will be sitting next to me on the bench chomping at the bit to get in the game.”

With 15 players trying to all earn significant playing time, practice is a good spot to see the competition for playing time.

“Some practices will be more competitive than games,” Brumfield said.

Brumfield never allows his players to get down on themselves. The scoreboard doesn’t always keep track of success in his book. Certain things can be gained from a win and some from a loss at the same time. Learning is what counts for Brumfield.

“We win, if we learn,” Brumfield said.

The players enjoy playing for Brumfield because of his competitive nature and easy-going personality.

“Coach keeps us very relaxed in the gym, but still pushes us at the same time,” Gibson said. “If we’re in a tough situation, you can count on him to say something funny to loosen us up.”

Freshman Lindsey Umin is happy with the team’s bonding so far and sees the chemistry improving on a daily basis.

“Everyone clicked right away and we are doing really well so far as a new team,” Umin said.

The recruiting class features players from all over the Metro Detroit area and there will be a learning curve involved as the team learns to play together.

Umin is fitting right in with her new team after her three year varsity career at New Boston Huron.

“Coming to a team with new people is different for me after playing on the same volleyball team since being a sophomore in high school,” Umin said.

Versatility

Wright said this year’s team will be versatile and looks for them to handle any situation thrown their way.

“We have a great group of setters this year, they give us the opportunity to run a lot more plays,” Wright said. “We will be able to run quicker sets.”

Even with the eleven freshmen, the front row physicality is stronger than a year ago.

“We already have a bigger block than last year and will be able to react and get to the ball quicker,” Wright said.

Schoolcraft ranked ninth in the nation academically last season and Brumfield looks to keep it up. He stresses academics as a common component in his players.

“To be on the team, you better be a rock star in the classroom.”

For a complete listing of schedules and rosters, go to http://www.mcaa.org/.

By Evan Paputa

Sports Editor