Volleyball hopes to win more championships

Have you ever wondered why one player wears a different colored jersey than the rest of their team in volleyball? Have you enjoyed beach volleyball during the Olympics and wished to see the indoor game as well? Portland State has one of the top volleyball programs in the Pacific Northwest and provides a great competitive atmosphere for new fans and veterans of the game to enjoy.

Portland State volleyball enters the 2014 season as reigning co-Big Sky Conference champions and ready to continue with the strong, successful play that has defined the team for the last decade. Last year they tied North Dakota for the best conference record at 17–3 and made it to the tournament championship matchup before falling to Idaho State in the crowning game. They have also lost several key players to graduation, including Big Sky MVP Garyn Schlatter.

The 2014 squad will feature a mix of experienced players and fresh faces with five seniors and five freshmen on the roster. Two time defending Big Sky Libero—the position with the different colored jersey—of the Year Kasi Clark headlines the team as both a vocal leader and versatile player. Watching her hustle and poise was one of last year’s highlights, so look to Clark to have a big final season as a Viking.

The others playing their last year in green and white are middle blockers Anna DeMots, Leigh-Anne Haataja and Katie O’Brien, and outside hitter Cheyne Corrado. The incoming players include MBs Sarah Liva and Emani Jackson, OHs Roni LaPierre and Lauren Nicholson, and setter Erin Clark. Also returning to the team will be second year setter Valerie Hughes and red-shirt sophomore Shelby Miyashiro.

This year’s success will certainly depend on how quickly the new players can adjust to the collegiate game and head coach Michael Seeman’s style. Coach will have no option but to play his first year players for stretches. Seeman is entering his eighth season at the helm and has led PSU to its greatest run for the sport of volleyball in school history.

His overall record is 143–69 (.675) with an impressive conference record of 98–22 (.817). His team has won the Big Sky regular season five times and the tournament twice. Seeman’s Vikings have earned a reputation as a team that is tough to beat on their home floor, going 74–15 (.831) at the Peter W. Stott Center. His players have also gotten it done it the classroom with 50 PSU players being selected to the Big Sky Fall All-Academic Team over the years.

Going to a volleyball game at the Stott Center can be one of the best on-campus events during the fall. Not only is PSU a talented team with high character players, but it’s a great place to meet fellow students and get to know more about campus culture. A PSU student ID card gets you in the door for free where you can enjoy all the amenities of a college sporting experience: cheap on greasy food, bathrooms with a permanent locker-room smell, parents cheering their kid while shouting questionable remarks at the opponents, and young student-athletes doing what they love. Even for a casual sports fan who doesn’t know all the rules, the volleyball experience is worth it. The girls play hard and by rights should be one of the university’s most celebrated units.

A coaches preseason ranking should be out in mid-August, and PSU can be expected to sit near the top. The first match of the year will be August 29 against the University of Washington. Circle September 15 on your calendars because the University of Oregon will be in town for an in-state rivalry game, also the first home game this season. Conference play begins October 2 in a home matchup with Weber State.