Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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August 28, 2011

Cougars set for today’s home opener

IUK coaches, players eager to get rolling in inaugural volleyball campaign

Kokomo — Tired and sweaty at the end of practice Thursday, the 10 players on the new Indiana University Kokomo women’s volleyball squad didn’t want to end just yet. They asked to stay for just a few more minutes to play “chaos,” a 5-on-5 scrimmage with no rest between points, just constant action.

“It’s intense,” said Rachael Williams, the team’s setter.

That’s what they want. The intensity of the feeling is one of the big payoffs of playing on the squad. Williams and libero Emily West talked about the challenges and joys of playing on the start-up program, which heralds IU Kokomo’s venture into sports programs this season.

“Em is a libero, I’m a setter, and like, all the hitters are the ones that get the recognition because they pound it, but it starts with a pass, and a set, and the best thing is when Shelby [Spall] nails it down and we all get excited.”

Sitting next to her, West understood completely.

“Yep. I just love the feeling of all of us, sweat pouring down our faces, coming in and just screaming [after a point] out of sheer joy,” the freshman from Peru said.

There are a lot of difficult things about being on the ground floor of a sports program, but the reward is playing, and all the possibilities that come with it. The Cougars have 10 players on the squad and no seniors as they build for the future.

“Just give credit to the girls for appreciating the opportunity to play,” coach Kristen Snoddy said. “To some extent, you could say it’s a real challenge, but on the other hand some of these girls who haven’t played for a few years and thought they weren’t ever going to get an opportunity to play volleyball are now finding themselves playing at the college level. I think their attitudes have made it much less difficult than it could have been.”

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