Heading into her fifth season, Kalamazoo Valley Community College Volleyball Head Coach Jennifer Buikema's Lady Cougars look to have the strongest freshmen class yet. Buikema is counting on the experience of her four returning sophomores, as well as developing the skills of the 10 standout freshmen from the surrounding Kalamazoo area.
The Cougars will look for leadership from returning defensive specialist, captain and 2017 All-Western Conference 2nd Team and All-Freshman Team Award recipient, Alana Sundermann and co-captain Colleen Whitman, who adds consistency to the team's serve receive and defense. The Cougars also return sophomore outside hitter Camryn Hamlin, who adds power and aggressiveness to the offense and middle/right side hitter Sara Egly, who is coming off of a shoulder injury. Both have the capabilities to add consistency and depth to the Cougar line up.
Kalamazoo Valley adds 10 freshmen to the 2018 roster including four players who helped lead their individual high school teams to the state quarterfinals. The Cougars will be relying on outside hitter from Shelby High School, McKenna Peters, to bring both power and aggressiveness to the offense. Niles High School setter Carly Barton and defensive specialist Breannan Love bring a one-two punch as they have played for years together on the same high school and club teams. Kirstin Finnila, outside hitter from St. Philip Catholic Central, is out with a season ending injury, but will be a huge supporter from the bench as she works to get her strength back for next season.
The Cougars also will look to freshman setter Kayla Yore from Coloma High School, who is a great athlete with powerful setting ability and who will also be dual sporting in softball. Madison McGuire from Bangor High School, is an outstanding setter, hitter and defensive player and will also be dual sporting in women's basketball. Kalamazoo Valley adds a middle hitter from Portage Northern's strong volleyball program, Ella Lewis, who brings power to the offense and great blocking ability, as well as a middle hitter from Holt High School, Payton Polakowski, who can hit any tempo ball from all three positions. Sturgis High School's outside/rightside hitter Hannah Bronstetter adds aggressiveness on offense and exceptional blocking ability, while Erica Jourden, defensive specialist from Allendale High School, is quick to the ball and will be a force on defense.