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BVT Volleyball Looks to Reload

Blackstone Valley Tech's girls' volleyball team graduated a strong core from 2011, but a mix of fresh faces and returning nucleus should make for another successful season for a Beaver program that earned a play-off berth last year. Headlining the class of 2012 was Marissa Bunnewith, who brought her talents and her 6'1" frame to the collegiate volleyball ranks at St. Rose. Setter Caitlin Carrington and middle hitter Val Bishop also graduated in the Spring, so head coach Barbara King turns to a new group for leadership, tri-captains Alana Thirsk, Kellie Schroeder, and Kristen Brewer.
"We have some good players who will be able to fill the shoes of the ones we lost," said King. "I think our captains have done a good job working with the younger kids, following the example set for them by the previous class."
Thirsk will step into the front row this season as the middle hitter. King says Schroeder is capable of playing all over the court. "(Schroeder) has been playing non stop since the end of last season," said King. "She played in the Bay State games and worked as a manager with the boys' team so she played with them during practices. She didn't always get a lot of time because of the seniors I had last year but this year, I won't take her off the court."
Brewer will be back as the setter. She set for the Beavers last season and also had the chance to hone her game in the off-season at the Bay State games. King said she will move Brewer to right side hitter from time to time to allow a couple of younger players a chance to set. Dominique Campbell is another hitter who should provide a spark to the offense. Sophomore Katie Kelly is one of the younger players on the team, but has King excited.
"Katie is a natural volleyball player, everything seems to come quickly to her," said King. "She was a middle hitter on JV but will play on the right side for us. She can serve, she can set, she can pass from the back row, she is going to be a good all-around player."
After the first couple weeks of practice and a six-team play date last weekend, the head coach can pin point her team's strengths and weaknesses heading into the season. "We will be strong with hitting and serving, but we need to work on staying focused and keeping our heads up," said King. "We have a tendency to get down on ourselves and we need to keep playing until the whistle blows."
King anticipates her team will be one of the strongest, if not the strongest, in the league. She expects some of the best tests on the schedule to come from some of the out-of-league opponents like Millbury, Holliston, and Bellingham. The Beavers open up Saturday morning against Tri-County and, as the cliché goes, will be taking it one game at a time.
"We haven't sat down and talked about big goals just yet," said King. "We just want to get in there and get going and work on getting through that first game."




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