FDLTCC Thunder are ready for actionThe Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College volleyball team will play its first tournament of the season this weekend at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids before starting conference play at home next week.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College volleyball team will play its first tournament of the season this weekend at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids before starting conference play at home next week.
The Thunder are entered in the eight-team event in a four-team pool with the host team, Vermilion and Gogebic Community College of Michigan. They begin play at 9 a.m. Saturday against Itasca.
Coach Loran Wappes said he will get a good look at his players before the Sept. 14 conference opener at home against Vermilion.
“We have more experience this year than we did last year,” Wappes said. “We also have a lot of local players on our team.”
There are 11 players on the roster this fall, with seven from the Carlton County area. The team captains are second-year libero Rachel Sanda (Cloquet), second-year middle hitter Holly Nelson (Wrenshall) and second-year setter Rita Aspinwall (Elk River).
The Thunder went 0-15 last year and are looking to improve on their total of two wins from 2009, the program’s first season.
The seven local players are:
Katrina Anderson (Carlton) – “Katrina is a returning middle hitter,” Wappes said. “She is a starting player, a good, solid player and we can count on her to play.”
Dayna Elmer (Cromwell) – “Dayna is listed as a setter, but she is a very aggressive defensive player,” Wappes said. “She will either play as a libero or as a back row specialist.”
Amber Gregg (Cloquet) – “Amber is a very strong outside hitter,” Wappes said. “She was our leading attacker last season and can play all over the floor.”
Kalee Harp (Cromwell) – “Kalee is a defensive specialist and very quick,” Wappes said. “She played softball last spring and is a first-year player for us, which means she can play for us next season too. She is aggressive on defense and is a good addition.”
Holly Nelson (Wrenshall) – “Holly was second in the conference in blocks last year and will play in the middle of our front row,” Wappes said. “She is a big blocking presence for us and gets a lot of kills too. She is very important to our team.”
Rachel Sanda (Cloquet) – “Rachel is perhaps our best all-around player,” Wappes said. “I’ve toyed with the idea of putting her in the front row because she’s our best outside hitter but she’s probably our best defensive player too. So the question is, do we want her to hit or play in the back row and control the ball? She has the ability to play at a four-year school.”
Jenna Shanda (Barnum) – “Jenna is a very versatile player,” Wappes said. “We have her playing either the right side or outside, and she is surprisingly good at passing the ball, though that might not surprise her. She’s also one of our better serve receivers, so we’re trying to find a spot for her in the lineup.”
This year’s schedule is quite odd in terms of balance. The Thunder play their first three matches at home against Vermilion on Sept. 14, Hibbing on Sept. 16 and Rainy River on Sept. 17 before playing their entire road schedule in nine consecutive road matches and tournaments from Sept. 21 through Oct. 8.
The Thunder then return home for their final four matches of the season, concluding Oct. 19 against Mesabi Range.