Nickel steps up as Centre head coach

These athletes comprise the 2017 Centre volleyball team: (front row, from left) Alyssa Espinoza, Jayden Hallowell, Kate Basore, Emily Schlesener, Samantha Espinoza; (back row) Gracie Luna, Emma David, Lacey Wingerd, Emily Silhan, Cailey Barney, Grace Knepp, Athena Salamone. <p>
These athletes comprise the 2017 Centre volleyball team: (front row, from left) Alyssa Espinoza, Jayden Hallowell, Kate Basore, Emily Schlesener, Samantha Espinoza; (back row) Gracie Luna, Emma David, Lacey Wingerd, Emily Silhan, Cailey Barney, Grace Knepp, Athena Salamone. <p>
Karen Nickel, who is in her 12th year at Centre, has taken over the reins of the Cougar volleyball program this season after serving as assistant coach under Yvonne Bur­hoop for seven years.

Two returning senior starters highlight Centre’s 12-player roster: middle hitter and blocker Kate Basore and right side hitter and blocker Emily Schlesener.

Three additional players return: juniors Grace Knepp (setter) and Athena Salamone (middle hitter and blocker) and sophomore Emma David (middle hitter).

The Cougars will rely on several newcomers as well, including senior libero Jayden Hallowell, sophomore right side hitter Gracie Luna, and freshmen Cailey Barney, Alyssa Espinoza, Samantha Espinoza, Emily Silhan and Lacey Wingerd.

“This year, we will focus on goals on and off the court and try to improve as a team,” Nickel said.

“We have strong seniors, passers and hitters. We have worked as a team to have positive attitudes on and off the court. Our weakness is that we have a young team and a limited bench. I figure in league we will be in the middle of (the) pack.” 

The Cougars opened the season at the Inman triangular Tuesday and will travel to the Rural Vista triangular Monday.