By Ray Hamill — The Humboldt State women’s volleyball team will be looking to set the tone early when the Jacks begin the new season with four games in three days in three different locations, beginning on Thursday.
Last year, the Jacks struggled to a disappointing 3-21 record, and head coach Kelly Wood and her players will be looking for a better campaign in 2018.
Wood says her returning players are extra motivated this year because of that disappointment, and that they have been eager for the chance to put it behind them for much of the offseason.
“I think it started last January, when we all came back from the Christmas vacation,” Wood said. “And we sat down with all the players individually, and discussed how we’re going to make a change and how we’re going to bounce back.”
The coach added that her players were “highly motivated.”
Among the new faces this season is junior JC transfer Emma Flewell, a middle blocker from Folsom Lake College, as well as Summer Hansen, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter who transferred from Cal State LA.
Sophomore middle blocker Hannah Cantrell, a former Division-I player, also returns to the lineup after suffering through an injury-plagued season last fall.
“She had an outstanding spring, she’s a phenomenal blocker for us,” the head coach said of Cantrell. “She’s one to watch for this season. She’s come a really long way. She’s back to who she was prior to her injury.”
The coach, however, expects the returning players to play a big role on this year’s team.
“We’ve got some really good freshmen. I’ve been really happy with the group of freshmen we brought in, but it’s the returning group that’s going to set the tone. and has that chip on their shoulder after a rough season last year,” the coach said.
The Jacks open the season against Pacific Union in Rohnert Park Thursday at 2 p.m.
They also play at Notre Dame de Namur on Friday at 9 a.m., followed by games against Georgia College (10:30 a.m.) and Academy of Art (3 p.m.) in Turlock on Saturday.