2012 Season Outlook: Setters

Aug. 21, 2012

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the second of a four-part series, the Kansas volleyball season outlook continues with a look at the Jayhawk setters.

Returned: Jr. Erin McNorton, Jr. Kara Wehrs
Gained: Fr. Maggie Anderson
Lost: Nicole Tate

Nicole Tate, who graduated on KU’s top-five list in career assists, took hold of the starting setter role for the home stretch of the season last year, but not before Kara Wehrs made 18 starts at the setting position. This year, Wehrs will once again take the reins and direct the floor.

Bechard describes Wehrs as a dynamic athlete that is capable of leading her team with the help of fellow junior setter Erin McNorton. The two balance each other with strengths in different areas and will likely be used together and interchangeably throughout the season. Wehrs led the team with 563 assists last year, while McNorton chipped in 120 assists and seven aces without the benefit of a start.

Freshman Maggie Anderson will also work into the mix as she picks up strength and adjusts to the speed of the game. A native of Lincoln, Neb., Anderson nearly reached the 1,000-assist mark when she recorded 924 during her junior season at Lincoln Southwest High school. The 5-8 setter holds the record at LSHS with 145 career service aces.

Head coach Ray Bechard
On the plan for the setters:
“We play some of our best volleyball with Kara (Wehrs) setting. Last year, when we needed someone to settle us down a bit (Nicole) Tate provided that for us. With the athleticism Kara provides, have the opportunity to play at a higher level at a position that is very tough to manage. We’re going to challenge Erin McNorton, too, because she’s had the role of back-up for a while so we want her to step up a little bit and challenge her for an opportunity to play. If we have a two-setter system or if there are times where we need Kara to do some other things for us, Erin needs to be ready to roll. Kara will be ready to go. I think there will be a certain amount of relief (for Kara), not looking over her shoulder. We’re giving her the keys to the car and telling her to co-pilot with Erin to drive us down the road in the right direction.”

On using multiple setters:
“We will use a couple for sure. As Maggie (Anderson) develops, we feel like we’ve got a good core there depending on what we need. Kara gives us a more physical presence, while there’s things that Erin does with her serving and her connection with the middles that will help us move in and out of a one-setter, two-setter system.”