The 2006 season marks the second go around for Head Coach Steven Gream. In his rookie season in which Gream had to replace all but two players, the first year coach continued the tradition of winning volleyball with Union’s eighth straight winning season. This year, the expectations continue to rise as Union returns all six starters, plus the addition of four players of which will challenge the returners for starting jobs.
The senior class is big with six players. These ladies will be called to lead this group on a charge to regain the conference title and advance deep into the NAIA postseason. Lindsay Holmes and Purity Ogolla both return for their fourth and final season at Union. Ogolla will handle the setting duties again this season, while Holmes will fill the opposite position. Edith Mendoza, Elena Villagomez, and Monica Schirmer filled three of the four top spots in kills last season. Kristen Kolter joins the volleyball for one season. She now becomes a two-sport athlete as she is an All-Conference softball player.
Four players make up the junior portion of this very experienced roster. Lindsey Wallach is the only junior returning from last season. Kelly Huffines played for Union as a freshman and was very productive in the kills category. Huffines sat out last season but returns for her junior campaign. Newcomers, Cassi Hobbs and Kristin Michael with both add experienced depth to the defensive game for Union, with Hobbs starting at the Libero position.
The lone sophomore, Amanda Hutchison, returns after a very successful freshman season. She was an All-Conference, All-Region, and TranSouth Freshman of the Year last season while leading Union in kills. Despite being the youngest player on the team, Hutchison will no doubt be one of the major contributors to any success for Union in 2006.
Union failed to make the region tournament for the first time in the eight-year history of the program. However, when you have to replace your entire starting lineup and 95% of your offense, just surviving is a positive. This year, the Lady Bulldogs are back with the goal of advancing deep into the NAIA postseason.