Weekly Feature

2014-09-10 / Sports

Thunder hope experience puts them atop standings

Volleyball preview

One of the main strengths of this year’s Mount St. Mary’s volleyball team is experience. They have six experienced seniors returning to the lineup after finishing last season in fourth place of the Monsignor Martin Association.

Leading the way for Mount St. Mary’s are a pair of returning senior co-captains in outside hitter Elise Kreuz and middle blocker Julie Fleming.

Kreuz has started since her freshman year and has been named the team’s most valuable player each of the past two seasons.

She was selected Second Team All-Catholic as a sophomore and last season she was First Team All-Catholic.

“She is a constant leader on the court and one of the most consistent and aggressive players I have coached,” said head coach Brittany Schukraft.

Fleming is a three-year starter and is now the team’s most dominant middle in regards to hitting and blocking. Last season, she was named as the team’s most improved player.

“We rely heavily on her defensively in the back row as well,” Schukraft said.

The Thunder have added sophomore Emily Trotman as a starting middle when Fleming comes off the court. She was pulled up late in the season last year.

So far this season, Trotman has registered 10 blocks and nine kills.

“I feel offensively we can attack the ball anywhere on the court,” Schukraft said. “We are playing more aggressive volleyball than we were last season. Overall, we are just being very smart about what we do with the volleyball compared to last season.”

The Thunder will have to remain extra aggressive this season if they hope to upend perennial Monsignor Martin powerhouse, St. Mary’s.

Mount St. Mary’s started the regular season with a loss to Nardin on Thursday.

But the following day, the Thunder persevered to win a tough five-set match against Lockport at home 19-25, 26-24, 25-18, 16-25, 25-23.

Fleming led the team with eight kills.

“Our main goal is consistency,” Schukraft said. “Performing at a consistent level of play, whether we are playing against an inexperienced team or experienced team, is a high priority of ours.”

email: brandonk@beenews.com

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