Volleyball Primed For Another Title Run
By Travis Johnson
The class of 2006 was a special group for the Women’s Volleyball team, featuring three Honorable Mention All-Americans who led the team to a perfect 9-0 record in the NEWMAC.
Like any great college team, and the Engineers have been excellent over the past decade, MIT has reloaded by giving veterans increased playing time and bringing in a talented class of freshmen.
Amanda J. Morris ’08, plays the role of John David Booty, the amusingly named USC quarterback who spent the last two seasons behind a Heisman trophy winner and will finally start as a junior. She will take over setting duties from Austin Zimmerman ’06, who did not win a Heisman but dished a ridiculous 3,632 assists as a four-year starting setter.
The incoming freshmen are expected to play a big role, particularly as hitters for Morris to set up. In their first tournament, Katrina M. Ellison ’10, Barden E. Cleeland ’10, and Alexandra T. May ’10 all played big roles, with Cleeland and May actually leading the Engineers in kills during the championship match.
MIT will rely on returning starters Frances M. Rogoz ’07 and Briana J. Stephenson ’07 to lead its offense and Carrie M. Buchanan ’08 to anchor the defense.
As usual, the team’s goal is to win the NEWMAC title and go deep into the national championship. The Engineers won the NEWMAC regular season last year and the conference tournament the year before. They got an at-large bid to the NCAA regional tournament last year, but lost in the second round to Colby college.
Look for the Engineers to be in a tight conference race against Smith, Coast Guard, and Springfield. Their first in-conference test will be at Smith on September 12 and should be a good indicator of how well the team will do this year.
With a bunch of weapons surrounding Morris, how far the team goes will depend in part on her ability to deliver in tight situations as Zimmerman did. That kind of skill can only be built through experience; this season’s games will tell how well Morris can perform under pressure. Coach Paul Dill is optimistic, saying there “should be very little transition as Amanda has already gained significant experience as a backup setter for two seasons.”