Aug. 12, 2014
DENVER - DU volleyball coaching staff, led by head coach Jesse Mahoney, conducted the first of their 2014-15 season practices on Saturday, Aug. 9.
"Our staff is very excited by what we've seen even in the first day," said Mahoney. "We are deep and talented at each position. Our challenge will be to get everyone up to speed and comfortable in our offensive and defensive systems. Today was a great first step."
The practice was not only an opportunity for returning players to be reacquainted with one another, but also to integrate the newcomers. The Pioneers have added six freshmen to their roster in addition to two transfers from Pepperdine and Penn State.
Assistant coach Katelin Batten concentrated on the defensive specialists/liberos, and finished practice very optimistic about the squad's future.
"Kate, Cassidy and Taylor did a great job on the first day adapting to new feedback and making changes quickly," Batten said. "I am excited about this core group of defensive players because they are coming in at such a high level. Kate Acker (Waukesha, Wis.) made big strides defensively and in the passing lanes during the spring, and it is showing."
Acker will be returning to the Pioneers after having a solid junior season, leading the team with 420 digs and setting multiple career highs. The coaching staff will look for her to continue her play this year and lend her experience to freshmen Cassidy Rooke (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Taylor Loyd (Centennial, Colo.).
Assistant coach Tom Hogan, coming off coaching the gold medal-winning team at the NORCECA Championships this July, focused on offensive tactcs and liked what he saw from the group.
"Our offense has a lot of depth with many options, and we look forward to developing that potential," Hogan said.
DU volleyball will continue honing its skills on the court, and from Aug. 15-20 will travel down to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in preparation for the season's start on Friday, Aug. 29 against Jackson State.