The University of South Dakota volleyball team is adding eight new players to the roster for the 2011-2012 season.
Joining the Coyotes this fall will be Lindsey Sathre, Katie Bunkers, Kiana Case, Kyle Everett, Riley Haug, Melissa Firtko, Bailey Lupardus and Kendall Kritenbrink. Firko and Kritenbirk signed with the Coyotes in November.
Coach Matt Houk said he expects the new players to come in and be high effort players who will learn from their coaches and upperclassmen.
“They know they have a hard road ahead of them,” he said. “They have to do what it takes to be successful in our program.”
Sophomore Kim Bulaga said the new additions will bring depth to the team because they can play so many different positions.
“We have the potential to be very good,” Bulaga said. “We have so much talent here now and so much coming in. I’m excited to see the possibilities of next year.”
Sathre, a 5-foot-10 middle blocker from Maple Grove, Minn., transfers to South Dakota after spending the past two seasons at Michigan Tech. At Osseo High School, Sathre was a two-time All-Area and two-time All-Conference selection.
Bunkers,a defensive specialist who was also named first team All-Conference in 2009 and 2010 at Columbus Lakeview in Columbus, Neb., is the current record holder for digs in a season at Columbus Lakeview with 413. Bunkers was also named an academic All-State in volleyball in 2010.
Case, a defensive specialist, was team MVP and was a first-team All-Conference selection at Southern Cal High School. In her career, Case finished with 306 digs, 119 ace serves.
Houk said the addition of so many defense specialists being added to the team will improve the team’s talents.
“They will help improve our ball control and give us depth at that specific position,” Houk said.
Everett,a libero and an Osseo Senior High graduate. Everett was named to the All-Conference and the All-Area teams her junior and senior season.
Haug,a libero, was also a two-time all-conference selection and was Nebraska’s Class B prep leader in digs in 2009 and 2010. She was also the Class B leader in service aces from 2007-10 and the Gretna, Neb. all-time record holder with 1,286 digs. Haug set the single-season school record with 576 digs.
Firtko,a 6-foot-4 middle hitter, is in the midst of a career at William Horlick High School in Racine, Wis. She was an All-Southeast Conference first team selection in 2010 after earning second-team all-conference honors the previous three years. She is a three-time all-county second team selection. She was named team MVP in 2010 when she compiled 402 kills, 118 blocks, 265 digs and 89 service aces. For her career, she has 773 kills, 339 blocks, 730 digs and 265 assists.
Houk said Firtko’s height will provide an advantage to the team.
“At 6’4, Firtko will be a really good defensive player and blocker for us next season,” Houk said.
Lupardus of Camdenton, Mo.,a 5-foot-10 setter, spent the 2010 fall season at Iowa Western Community College. She averaged 4.0 assists per set as one of the two setters and finished with 689 set assists and 225 digs last season.
Kritenbrink, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, is the younger sister of current Coyote volleyball player Kristin Kritenbrink. Kritenbrink currently plays at Daniel J. Gross Catholic School in Omaha, Neb.
Kritenbrink said getting used to a whole new team will be difficult but she knows she will adapt well.
“I hope to come in and work really hard during the preseason and earn a starting position as an outside hitter,” Kritenbrink said.
In 2009, Kritenbrink was first-team All-State and All-Conference and also was part of the state championship team. In 2010, she helped Omaha Gross reach the state tournament. She also earned all-conference honors as a freshman when she was second-team All-State.