May 11, 2006
OXFORD, Miss. -
The Ole Miss volleyball team closed out its spring season on a high note, as the off-season came featured solid outings in tournaments across the Southeast and a community volleyball clinic spanning several weeks to educate North Mississippi area youth about the sport of volleyball.
The Lady Rebels took to the road to participate in tournaments at Texas State, Middle Tennessee State and Georgia Tech before returning home to host its own tournament featuring seven regional teams.
"We really finished on a strong note," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. "The team came to realize the benefits of hard work and we dug down and won some tight matches. I'm very pleased with what we gained. Having a squad of 12 athletes on campus allowed us to work on our system."
Ole Miss worked with almost a full squad for the first time under Getzin as the Rebels were heavy on youth in the 2005 campaign. Of the 15 players on roster last season, only juniors Jaclyn Toohey and Kristen Carroll had played more than one year in the program.
"Jaclyn and Kristen really had a great spring and showed the ability to lead this team," Getzin said. "Kristen really stepped up and exhibited the level of play we have come to know she is capable of playing."
Throughout the spring, Getzin saw improvement and growth in several positions and players as competition against teams like Georgia Tech and conference rivals Alabama and Mississippi State helped push the squad. Of particular note were freshman setter Rachel Kieckhaefer, sophomore middle blocker Lauren Moffett and freshman libero Allie Weber.
"Rachel (Kieckhaefer) really led this team as a setter," Getzin said. "She didn't have a lot of experience but she grew daily with the chance to play a full spring in our system. Her hard work over the summer will continue to put her in a position to lead this team.
"Lauren (Moffett) continued to get stronger," Getzin continued. "She is quicker and everything is falling into place. She was our most consistent player, especially stepping up to the line to serve in crucial situations. Allie Weber proved her worth and solidified her case for being our starting libero. She brings lots of energy to the court."
Getzin has also been pleased with the improvements the team has made through the strength and conditioning program after a full year under the guidance of first-year strength coach Jami Clinton.
"Jami has really done a phenomenal job of making the team stronger and quicker," Getzin said. "She has provided them with a great base for summer work. A majority of the team will be here for the summer and can continue to work on their conditioning for the upcoming season."
In addition to the tournaments across the region, the Lady Rebels also gave back to the community as the team hosted a six-week volleyball clinic for youth in the local community.
Thirty-five youths from the Oxford and Batesville area came to work with the Lady Rebel volleyball team over the course of the spring and learn about the sport and improve their skills on the court.
"Giving back to our community is a great thing," Getzin said. "Anytime we can share what we have learned on the court with the younger players in our area, I think it helps us grow as individuals and players ourselves. It will definitely help us grow as a team."