Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

August 23, 2013

Fall preview Senior-laden Indians ready for next step

RYAN CZACHORSKI
Daily News

---- — ALTAMONT — Altamont volleyball coach Tim Dooling sent out his volleyball roster Wednesday afternoon with 12 players listed on the roster.

The reason that's notable? All 12 Lady Indians are seniors, giving Altamont one of the oldest and most experienced rosters around.

Coming off a 12-18 season and a 4-6 record in the NTC, the experienced Indians are looking to take a shot at a conference championship.

"We just have to go one set at a time, one game at a time, one point at a time," Dooling said. "We have a number of the same people back, but we're switching positions here and there. I'm not putting together the same (lineup) on the floor.

While the roster contains the 12 seniors and just the 12 seniors, Dooling said he does expect juniors and underclassmen to help out during the season, but hasn't identified those players at this early stage of the 2013 season.

Altamont brings back Gabby Alwardt and Lauren White in the middle, with Amelia Kopplin, Deidre Ledbetter and Lauren Ohnesorge returning on the outside. Macy Wendling and Madison Ohnesorge return at setter, and Chandra Smith comes back as a defensive specialist.

The Indians have a libero to replace and some help on the right side block to figure out, but the team's strength is their size.

Six of the 12 players are listed at 5-foot-8 or taller, with Kopplin measuring up at 5-foot-10 and Alwardt listed at 5-foot-11.

Still, Dooling doesn't automatically equate their height to defensive strength, especially in the blocking game.

"It could be (the strength)," he said. "Blocking is much more about quickness and jumping. You need to have people that are quick and quick jumping.

"We're working towards that, you can always get quicker. Some of the quickness isn't physical speed, it's the ability to react. It's a recognition thing, recognizing what's going on in a situation."

Altamont fell in the semifinals of the Vandalia regional last year to the hosting Vandals, and won the bronze flight of the NTC tournament.

They'll get to an early start in the tournament game, taking part in next week's Roxana tournament with games against Gillespie and East Alton Wood River Monday night.

Dooling talked up the importance of playing in a tournament early to round out the Indians' tournament chops, and liked the set up in Roxana. Altamont plays its first two games Monday and comes back Saturday for the end of the tournament, allowing them to make adjustments.

"It gives us time to work on things," he said. "That's the tough things about tourneys, you play the first two games and you can't do anything (to adjust)."

It's Dooling's fourth year at Altamont, and his roster reflects the first class he coached at the high school.

"I've had the majority of them for four years," he said. "It's basically the same people that went out four years ago. I think we had 15 or 16 come out that year."

Those seniors will get to work in Roxana Monday, and they host Carlyle at 6:15 p.m. Thursday for a game between their Roxana tournament stay.

ROSTER

Seniors: Gabby Alwardt, Molly Hougham, Telsa Johnson, Amelia Kopplin, Deidre Ledbetter, Destiny Miller, Lauren Ohnesorge, Madison Ohnesorge, Chandra Smith, Macy Wendling, Lauren White, Abigail Wolff