2015 MIAC Volleyball Camp Tour- St. Kate's

By: Kelsey Whaley

As I mentioned earlier, I was able to see two teams while at Macalester. After taking in the games between Augsburg and UW-Stout, I returned to the main gym to watch St. Kate’s and Macalester square off against each other, making St. Kate’s my fifth stop on the Volleyball Camp Tour.

While every other team in the MIAC started practice last week, St. Kate’s only started on Saturday. That meant they only had four practices under their belt before hitting the court. That’s kind of like jumping into the lake before the ice is totally melted. Still, the Wildcats handled their opponents well and were more focused on coming together as a team than on whether or not they won during the day.

Here are my six observations from St. Kate’s scrimmages at Macalester:

  1. Three Sets Up- The Wildcats have three setters on their team that could all see playing
    St. Kate's junior setter Maria Davis makes a set during the
    scrimmage against Macalester.
    time. The three are lead by junior Maria Davis, who is the only returning player at that position. Two setters graduated from St. Kate’s last year, but Davis seemed up to the challenge of taking over in the scrimmages. In addition, head coach Corey Phelps and his staff were able to recruit two new setters for the year. All three of them have a chance to get significant playing time at the position.
  2. Strong Serve Receive- St. Kate’s has a trio of passers who are very strong in serve receive. Each of them made several clean passes that allowed the setter to put the offense in motion. Serve receive is not always a strength among teams, and several would prefer to be serving rather than served at. The Wildcats, though, have a core group of passers that are fully capable of making a good pass every time they are in that position.
  3. Tough Servers- Remember how I said some teams would rather be serving than
    St. Kate's players celebrate after scoring against
    served at? While St. Kate’s is a strong team on serve receive, they are also strong behind the service line. Their servers challenge opponents to make the same passes they do off tough serves. While they may have been a little rusty, the players were still trying to make challenging serves and hit seams between passers.
  4. Good Out of System- Even great passers have bad days, but if they’re on a team who can still run an offense out of system, their bad days don’t always seem so bad. The St. Kate’s passers are strong in serve receive, but like all teams, sometimes they misread a serve or make a bad pass. The Wildcats’ setters can still run the offense even when the initial pass isn’t perfect. Plus, their hitters are highly adaptable and can adjust to their set on the fly.
  5. Clean Hitters- The Wildcat hitters are extremely clean when they make contact with the ball. Their arm swings are high and produce a significant amount of topspin. This topspin
    Head Coach Corey Phelps talks to his team during a time out
    causes the ball to move, which should make it hard for the opponent’s defense to make reads. Once they work some kinks out, St. Kate’s has the potential to have a really powerful, clean, fast paced offense, especially with the setters and hitters they have at their disposal.
  6. All In- The Wildcats give it their all every point they play. As I mentioned earlier, they were only four days into practice when I saw them at Macalester, but they were already coming together and working as a team to win each and every point. Technically they may not have been as sound as other teams, but they were starting to gel as individuals. The players were working together and communicating before and after every play. As they get used to the system and practice more, that cohesiveness should show through in their skills.

Thanks to Coach Phelps and his staff for letting me include them in this years volleyball tour! St. Kate’s will open their season on the road at the University Minnesota-Morris tournament Labor Day weekend. Their first home game will be on September 23rd against St. Thomas.

Where to Next?

Up next, I head to the College of Saint Benedict to check out the Blazers. They were one of the top teams in the MIAC in 2014 and want to stay that way in 2015. The question, though, is whether or not they will be able to overcome losing five seniors. Make sure to tune into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where I’ll be posting live from Saint Ben's. Also, make sure to check out Matt’s Football Camp Tour to read even more about your favorite MIAC programs!

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