2013 Volleyball Season Outlook: Setters
Player Preview – Erin McNorton
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the third installment of a four-part series, the 2013 Kansas volleyball season outlook keeps rolling with an in-depth look at the setters.
Returning: Sr. Erin McNorton, Sr. Kara Wehrs
Gained: RS Fr. Maggie Anderson
Key Losses: None
Much like the outside hitting crew, the Jayhawk setters have veteran-like experience heading into 2013. Head coach Ray Bechard, who works closely with the setters, welcomes back a pair of seniors with full-time starting experience in Erin McNorton and Kara Wehrs to run what was one of the most efficient offenses in the Big 12 last fall.
An unassuming leader, McNorton studied under Wehrs and former setter Nicole Tate during her freshman and sophomore seasons. When she earned her first career start on opening day of the 2012 season, McNorton simply took off. Her 1,443 assists in 2012 didn’t merely lead the Big 12 setters – she alone totaled more assists than five Big 12 teams. A Dallas, Texas native, McNorton led the Jayhawk offense to the fourth-best attack percentage in school history (.238) and ranked seventh in the NCAA in assists per set (11.73). Named to the 2013 All-Big 12 Preseason Team, McNorton is the front runner for the starting role.
Kansas, however, has a luxury that many teams don’t in that Bechard has a two-year starter on the depth chart, making a 6-2 option possible. One of the most athletic players on the team, Wehrs earned the starting role as a freshman and held it down for two years alongside Tate before McNorton received the opportunity in 2012. With the ability to train with both, the setters compete to make each other better.
Of all the improvements shown last fall and into the 2013 spring season, Bechard may have been most impressed with Anderson and her willingness to learn and support her teammates. Her presence also adds a lot of depth to the setter crew.
Head coach Ray Bechard
On the setters:
“We’ve got a pretty full group of setters. It’s great to have Erin (McNorton) back. It’s also great to have Kara (Wehrs), who has started a ton of matches in her career here. Maggie (Anderson) might have made more gains than anyone we had last spring. So our side A, side B will be in good hands. Kara gives us an opportunity to get in a little bit of 6-2 with her ability to impact the net with her blocking and hitting, so we’ll have some versatility in that position.”
On not wanting to be a “surprise team” anymore and the team breeding that mentality:
“You have to experience being successful to continue to build that culture. This spring, I didn’t sense any level of satisfaction. I think there is a certain excitement of we’ve been there and we can do it again. They broke some new ground last year and they kind of know what that feels like.”
Kansas head coaches Ray Bechard, Mark Francis and Stanley Redwine will preview the 2013 seasons for volleyball, soccer and cross country at the fall sports media day on Aug. 21 at 1:30 p.m. inside the Allen Fieldhouse media room. Select student-athletes from each team will also be made available to speak with the media following the coaches. Lunch will be provided for those media members in attendance.
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