Under the guidance of third year head coach Jodi Lindsay the Caltech women's volleyball squad is looking for continued improvement as the program builds momentum.
The Beavers will bring back some solid offense along the front row while looking to replace players who have graduated from the program. The team begins the year with six players that played in at least 75 percent of the Beavers matches the previous season.
"There are returning players at certain positions who will be vital to the program's development. We also have to fill some vacancies quickly if we are going to build energy throughout the season," Lindsay said.
With the loss of Teri Juarez's 92 kills and team leading 147 digs to graduation, Paige Logan will be asked to provide a strong offensive punch along the front lines. The junior was the team leader in kills last season after posting 103 kills and a .168 hitting percentage while playing in 57 of the team's 68 sets. Logan was also the team leader in blocks with 35.
"If Paige remains aggressive and she can get quality sets, she could have an outstanding year," Lindsay said. "There's no doubt that her offensive production is a key component to our success."
Katie Ching returns for her sophomore campaign after producing 59 kills and 94 digs in 2011. Both numbers were the third best marks for the Beavers. The native of Littleton, CO, also tallied 13 services aces which was also the third highest tally on the squad.
Rebekah Kitto is another impact offensive cog returning to the front lines. The junior was fourth on the team in total kills (28) last year while recording 20 total blocks as a middle blocker. Another player who contributed along the front lines in 2011is Joy Lu. The right side hitter played in 42 sets last season and has the potential to be more of a contributor this year.
"I anticipate Katie playing at the outside hitter spot once again. Even though she is a bit shorter than most players at her position, her outstanding jumping abilities help make-up for her lack of height," Lindsay said. "Rebekah is continually taking steps forward in our program. She is a great athlete who will be looked upon to bring a steady offense and solid blocking in the front row."
Also returning for Caltech is junior Rachel Hess. The native of Lancaster, PA dished out 100 assists and produced 61 digs while playing in all but four sets during her 2011 campaign. Megan Jackson will also vie for playing time along the back row as well as a setter after missing last season during her study abroad experience. As a team in 2011, the Beavers had 286 assists which was a third best tally in school history.
"Starting positions are up for grabs during preseason practice. I am glad we have some experience returning in that spot but we still have some question marks," Lindsay said.
Caltech's season kicks off with a road trip to Hope International on Sept. 1 before hosting West Coast Baptist three days later in their home opener. The Beavers begin SCIAC play with a home double-header against Occidental and Pomona-Pitzer on Sept. 15.