With six straight trips to the NCAA tournament in tow, head coach Jason Miller welcomes an eager squad of familiar and fresh faces to Seiberling Gymnasium for the 2013 season.
The team’s two seniors -- Amber Welfle, a middle hitter from Norwalk, and Alexa Frank, a setter from Tiffin -- will assume the leadership roles.
With a full year to play, Welfle and Frank have already etched their names among the career leaders in kills (Welfle has 900, good for ninth place) and sets (Frank sits seventh with 1,283). But perhaps their most important job will happen off the court.
Their task? To help assimilate the incoming freshmen into the culture of Heidelberg volleyball.
“When you have more freshmen than returners, you tend to feel both excited and nervous,” said Miller, starting his 14th season. “The quicker Amber, Alexa and the upperclassmen can lead, show and teach the ways of Heidelberg volleyball, the more success we will have – both this year and beyond.”
The 2012 team ended with a 19-15 record against a rigorous schedule. Despite recording the fewest wins since 2005, the returning players remained committed to the program.
“We had a great set of practices in the spring,” said Miller. “The girls worked very hard and we saw marked improvement in several key areas.”
As the enthusiastic and talented freshmen mesh with the seasoned upperclassmen, the 2013 season promises to be an entertaining campaign. Miller’s team will again face nationally recognized opponents, not shying away from tough contests.
“I’m really excited to get in the gym and get started,” said Miller.
As the summer winds down and final preparations are made for the upcoming school year, the 2012 team received one final honor. On Tuesday, the American Volleyball Coaches Association named the volleyball team as a recipient AVCA Team Academic Award. The award is given to teams with a collective GPA of higher than 3.30.
Miller’s team has received the honor in four of the past five seasons.