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Volleyball looks to build young team

Courtesy of Cobber SID

The basketball teams have taken over Memorial Auditorium, and the volleyball team has wrapped up their 2017 season. They played their last game of the season on Saturday, Oct. 28, finishing the match with a 3-1 loss to the College of Saint Benedict. The volleyball team finished the season 7-15 overall and 4-7 in conference play, good for eighth place.

While this is the worst finish for the Cobber volleyball team in the last 20 years, head coach Tim Mosser says he has had one of his most enjoyable seasons.

“The girls got along really well this year,” Mosser said. “They worked hard and stayed competitive in each set and throughout the season.”

The Cobbers were .500 at home, going 4-4 in games at Memorial. However, Concordia didn’t fair as well on the road, finishing with a record of 1-7 in away games and 2-4 on neutral courts.

Many of the matches that did not go the way of the Cobbers came down to the last few points, Mosser said.

“We finish those games, we rank higher in the MIAC and we’re in playoffs,” Mosser said.

With fifteen freshmen on the roster, senior Stephanie Baker, who led the team in digs with a total of 298, felt this was a learning year for the team.

“We had a tough time adjusting initially because we had so many girls who had never played with each [other] before,” Baker said. “Struggles came early on because we are so young, but later in the season we saw a lot of flashes of potential.”

The Cobbers took down Gustavus, ranked 11th,  with four games left in the season, showing Baker the potential this team had.

Junior Haley Cuppett, who lead the team in kills with 211 on the season, saw the positives and negatives of such a youthful team. The lone senior heading into next season, Cuppett knows the work ethic needed for this young team to find success.

“It’s great to see a big freshman class coming in and to hopefully see those leaders grow over time with more experience and time,” Cuppett said.

The team has gotten good results from young freshmen on the team like Jill Klaphake, who led the team in assists with 380 and service attempts with 23. Sophomore Brianna Carney was also a key young contributor, leading the team in blocks with 64 and closely trailing Cuppett for the lead in kills with 169.

At the start of the season, Mosser added a junior varsity team to the program for the first time since 2008 in an attempt to continue developing the large number of young players in the program. He hopes to see development from these young players continue over the offseason.

“With the enthusiasm and leadership we have, our expectations are growing,” Mosser said. “They’re very self-motivated. They’re doing their 6 a.m. lifts and putting in that time during the offseason that we need to see to find success next season.”

Cuppett sees success in the future, as well.

“If we work hard this offseason, I think we have a good chance at playoffs next season,” Cuppett said. “We’ll only be getting better with more experience and time playing together.”

With the team losing two seniors and with only one upcoming senior, younger players will be given bigger roles early on in their career.

“Our seniors will be missed, but we have good depth and younger girls who are ready to step up into their roles,” Mosser said.

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