The 2017 Tiger Volleyball team plans to improve from a season ago. The 2016 team recorded a 12-22 record in Coach Justin Hoskins first year. Coming into year two Coach Hoskins has a roster of 11 freshman that will try to make a name for themselves in a very tough conference.
If anyone knows how to turn around a program it is coach Hoskins, prior to coaching at MCC, Hoskins took Brunswick from a 1 win season in 2013 to 7 wins in 2014 and then 20 wins in 2015. When asked about what this team will need to do to see that kind of turnaround Hoskins stated, "Building a program is all about mindset and commitment. In order for our program to get to the level where we can be nationally competitive, we need to have complete buy-in from everybody involved with the team. We've completely flipped our roster from last season and I feel like we brought in a lot of talent. Now if our girls commit to the process and are persistent in striving to get a little bit better each day, I think this group can turn our program around."
With no sophomores on the team this season, Hoskins will be looking for freshman to rise up in a leadership role. "Leadership is something that is going to be very important on this team," Stated Hoskins. "With no sophomores to look to for guidance, a few girls have really stepped up to be vocal leaders as well as leaders by example in practice. A few of the girls who have really started to become vocal leaders are Celeste Barron-Nicoletti, Jesenia Colbert, and Tiana Bolar."
While the team is young, the coach still has high expectations from his athletes, "We have a very young team this year as all 11 of our girls are freshmen. To me, that is exciting. We are already playing some good volleyball in our scrimmages and at practice, but I don't think we have begun to scratch the surface of our potential. Of course we're going to have some growing pains, but I'm looking forward to the progress that we make throughout the season and hopefully we can be playing some great volleyball come tournament time."
At this time, the Tiger roster is in flux as multiple players will be moving in and out of the lineup. Early in the season, there will be many combinations used and Hoskins will be working out the lineup that works the best. For the home opener, Hoskins anticipates a regular rotation of 8 girls with Jelena Dukić setting, Lilliana Spulveda Vera and Jesenia Colbert hitting outside, Kaci Allgood and Darrien Nelson running middles, Alex Wilmore on the right side, and Celeste Barron-Nicoletti along with Tiana Bolar serving as defensive specialists. Olivia Newville is a utility hitter who will see some time across the front row and still has a chance to earn a starting spot as the season progresses while Katey Choate and Kierstin Rosipal are defensive specialist who are both expected to contribute for Tigers in the back row.
The Tigers will start its season at home on August 22 before starting conference play. The conference consist of Iowa Western and Indian Hills so every conference match will be extremely important. The Tigers will play each team at home and on the road starting with Iowa Western on the road on September 5 and then again at home on October 4. On September 27, the Tigers will host Indian Hills and then travel to Indian Hills on October 18.