The Texas Lutheran volleyball team is back on campus and gearing up for the 2018 season under first-year head coach Phyllis Fowler (left).
(Seguin) - Texas Lutheran Women's Volleyball started its preseason practice last Friday at Tostengard Activity Center - Susan Duke Court with a squad size of 18.
First-year Head Coach Phyllis Fowler has seven incoming freshmen and 11 returning players.
"It was energizing to see the gym come to life with so much enthusiasm and excitement this week," said Fowler. "The girls are working hard, working on their skills and their game, yes, but also getting to really know one another with seven freshmen rounding out the roster this season."
TLU brings back one senior, four juniors and six sophomores.
Position starters returning to the squad include: junior right side hitter Bryten Mitchan (San Antonio/Highlands), sophomore middle blocker Cailey Young (New Braunfels/New Braunfels), junior middle blocker Kelsi Menn (San Antonio/Roosevelt), junior libero Jaci Chambers (Baytown/Goose Creek Memorial), and sophomore setters Kionasina Nu'u (New Braunfels/Canyon) and Kelly Jurden (Brenham/Brenham).
TLU also returns senior right side hitter Christie Cosper (San Antonio/East Central), junior middle blocker Kelsey Hamrick (Liberty Hill/Liberty Hill), sophomore defensive specialist Remy Corbin (Austin/Westwood), sophomore defensive specialist Jennifer Rodriguez (San Antonio/McCullom) and sophomore outside hitter Hannah Roalson (Katy/Tompkins).
"I believe we have the right upper classmen in place to show these talented freshmen the way," said Fowler, who was hired on May 22 of this year. "We are focusing on getting better at the small things, knowing that it will make a big difference down the road."
Fowler is a familiar coach to many area volleyball fans and players after leading New Braunfels High School to a pair of Class 4A State Volleyball Championships and after guiding Navarro High School to a Class 4A State Semifinal in 2016. Fowler was a head volleyball coach at the high school level for 27 seasons, and she has 36 years of coaching experience overall. Fowler's high school volleyball coaching record was 733-316, a .699 winning percentage.
Fowler coached New Braunfels High School to state tournament appearances in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2005. The Unicorns won state titles in 2000 and 2005 and finished as the state runner-up in 2002.
Seven first-year players are also new to the squad. The Bulldogs have three new middle blockers and three new outside/right side hitters in Anna Bettersworth (6-0, New Braunfels/Canyon Lake), Trisha Pittman (5-11, Corpus Christi/Tuloso-Midway), Peyton Sulak (5-10, Needville/Needville), Savhannah Kitchens (6-0, Inez/Industrial), Kacie Hall (6-0, Buda/Hays), and Madison Weisinger (6-0, Friendswood/Friendswood).
The 2018 recruiting class also includes one setter - Megan Wilke (5-8, Seguin/Seguin).
The Bulldogs open the 2018 season on Sept. 1 at the University of Texas at Dallas Tournament with an 11 a.m. match against Heidelberg (Oho).
TLU has five home matches and 25 road matches in 2018. All TLU home volleyball games take place in Tostengard Activity Center on Susan Duke Court.
The Bulldogs' home-opener is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 4 against Howard Payne University.