Senior duo to lead volleyball team

Joey Simon

Junior Sarah Wilber serves the ball during a scrimmage with other teammates at Tuesday’s practice.

Credit: Jason Hall

There’s a lot of modeling going on with the Kent State volleyball team.

No guys, not that type of modeling. As coach Mora Kanim explained, the freshmen Flashes like to model their play after the upperclassmen, and with seniors Anne Butts and Danielle Holt leading the Flashes this season, the freshmen may want to watch the two and strike a pose.

“To have a veteran core you know you can always rely on is a nice feeling to have, for the players and the coaches,” Kanim said.

Kanim added that having Butts and Holt, along with three other returning starters and five other lettermen, will help the five incoming freshmen get acclimated, not only to the increased level of play, but also to the college way of life.

“It’s easy the first couple of weeks,” Kanim said, “because the freshmen can get acclimated from practice. But it’s very important to have upperclassmen who can who can ease them into things once school starts.”

This is why, Kanim said, it’s so important that Holt and Butts show leadership in more than one way.

“They lead both ways,” said Kanim, referring to leading vocally and by example. “They both do a good job being role models on and off the court, too. They’re players you can come to with any type of problem.”

Holt was an All-Mid-American Conference second-team selection in 2004 as she was fifth in kills and fourth in points in the MAC. Butts, a setter, ranked ninth in the league in assists. Kanim said she also will look for contributions from Ashley Feutz and Vaiva Laniauskas, both of whom were redshirted last season, but will be viable players for the Flashes this season. Kanim said that while the two were redshirted last year, they know the system and are assets to the Flashes.

“They understand the system and how things work and that’s invaluable to have,” Kanim said of the duo. “We know how much they bring to the table. They understand the expectations of the program.”

And while the Flashes were picked to finish third in the MAC preseason poll, Kanim and the Flashes have much higher expectations than that.

“Our goal is to win the MAC tournament and go to the NCAA (tournament),” she said. “If we progress the way we think we’ll progress, I think we’ll be able to reach those goals.”

That progression, Kanim said, will be gauged on how fast the team picks up on some new nuances she’s implemented.

“When we get it,” Kanim said of the nuances, “it’s going to be phenomenal, and I think the girls understand that, so they’re working as hard as they can to get there.”

Contact Sports editor Joey Simon at [email protected].