Lady Blues look to serve up victory in 2009

Eric Smith

Junior Molly Smith has played two years of volleyball for the Washburn Lady Blues, coming into her own as one of the team’s top defensive players. And while as an underclassman she played in every one of the 78 matches, she knows that this year, she will have to play the part of role model as well.

“We have a lot of pressure on our shoulders to be leaders,” said Smith.”It’s definitely up to the upperclassmen to set the example for the younger players and to let them know that while competing here at Washburn, we want to win. It’s going to be a lot of work.”

And with just one senior in setter Kate Hampson and five juniors for the Lady Blues, the team is dominated by freshmen and sophomores, at seven and six respectively.

“We have a lot of incoming freshmen that are really talented,” said Smith. “People are going to be fighting for a spot to play.”

The Lady Blues ended the 2008 season ranked No. 13 nationally with their second straight 30-win season and their fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance.

And it will take some work to replace three seniors including All-American Monica Miesner.This past Sunday was a good start as it was testing day for the Washburn women.

The team was examined on sprints and jumping. The first day of practice for the season began Monday with a morning and afternoon practice.

“This first week we have two-a-days, and we’re just kind of seeing how we all gel together and see how people do,” Smith said. “[The first practice] went well. We just did basic drills to get back into volleyball shape. It was pretty simple stuff. I’m sure as the week goes on, it will get more intense.”

While practice will continue and the team will get more acquainted with each other, the first scrimmage of the season is approaching quickly on Aug. 22 versus Rockhurst. The first tournament of the season will come the following week, Aug. 28 and 29, at the Colorado School of Mines Oredigger Volleyball Classic.