Women’s volleyball team gets ready to compete for the ODAC championship

Guilford+College+Volleyball+Head+Coach+Emily+Gann+talks+to+her+players+at+the+start+of+practice+in+the+Ragan-Brown+Fieldhouse+in+Greensboro%2C+North+Carolina+on+Aug.+31%2C+2017.%2F%2F+Photos+By+Andrew+Walker%2F+The+Guilfordian
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Women’s volleyball team gets ready to compete for the ODAC championship

Guilford College Volleyball Head Coach Emily Gann talks to her players at the start of practice in the Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse in Greensboro, North Carolina on Aug. 31, 2017.// Photos By Andrew Walker/ The Guilfordian

Guilford College Volleyball Head Coach Emily Gann talks to her players at the start of practice in the Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse in Greensboro, North Carolina on Aug. 31, 2017.// Photos By Andrew Walker/ The Guilfordian

Andrew Walker

Guilford College Volleyball Head Coach Emily Gann talks to her players at the start of practice in the Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse in Greensboro, North Carolina on Aug. 31, 2017.// Photos By Andrew Walker/ The Guilfordian

Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker

Guilford College Volleyball Head Coach Emily Gann talks to her players at the start of practice in the Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse in Greensboro, North Carolina on Aug. 31, 2017.// Photos By Andrew Walker/ The Guilfordian

Returning 13 players from a playoff team last year, the Guilford College volleyball team will look to build on their success from last year.  The team had a 12-14 overall record in 2016, 6-5 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play.

“I think that last year was a really good building program,” said sophomore setter Tina Eucker. “We were really young, we were really athletic, and I think we showed the potential we had.”

This year, the team is very young, with most of the team being first-years or sophomores. The team returned eight sophomores, including a few that played started in their first year.

“The sophomore class is huge for us,” said head coach Emily Gann. “They have that experience under their belt. They’re going to play crucial roles.”

Eucker along with sophomore outside hitter and defensive specialist Christian Ritter not only contribute in their first year, but put themselves in the Guilford College volleyball record books. Eucker had the sixth most assists per set and fourth most assists in a season. Ritter had the second most digs in a season with 461.

While the senior class is only three players, they are important to the success of the team this year. Right side hitter Casey Davis and middle blocker Heather Crawford both have been with the program for four years and have created a tight bond.

“This year’s going to be very sad when it comes to an end, but I’m excited to see where the season takes us,” said Davis.

Last season, Davis was selected Second-Team All-ODAC and led the team in kills and points.

“Casey and Heather came in with so much energy as (first-years) and were on the court immediately, “said Gann.  “They offered us so much depth at that point but then came in to a team with only ten players and have had to kind of lead from the beginning.”

The third senior for the Quakers is middle blocker Jessica Sheek. She transferred from Averett College in 2015 and immediately helped the team. Sheek lead the team last year with 48 total blocks.

“They’ve had a definite uphill climb while they’ve been here at Guilford with our program and they’ve helped build this,” said Gann. “They helped get these girls here in the recruiting process.”

This season, Guilford was ranked sixth in the ODAC preseason poll, but the team is looking to finish in the top four.

“I think that it just shows that the conference noticed what we did last year, maybe a little skeptical if we can repeat that,” said Gann. “But I think they’re going to be surprised when they see how well we do come out.”

“I definitely think we were under ranked for the ODAC (preseason poll), “said Crawford. “I think we’re ready to go out and prove some people wrong, which is exciting.”

First-year McKinley Durham is slated to be the libero to start the season.

“We’re going to rely a lot on these three seniors to help lead us through and take the young bunch along with them,” said Gann.

The Quakers first home match of the season in Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse is tomorrow at 11:00 am against Pfeiffer University before a 1:00pm match against John Wesley University.