Laura Golden '07
Senior co-captain Laura Golden is ready to lead the Jeffs in their 2006 endeavors.

Volleyball Ready for Action in 2006


September 8, 2006

A LOOK BACK: 2005

The Amherst College volleyball team notched its 13th straight posteseason appearance in 2005. Amherst's success rested largely on a 5-1 start and three separate three-match win streaks. High points for the team last season included NESCAC victories over Bowdoin, Hamilton, Bates and Trinity Colleges. The Jeffs went 9-5 in the month of October, with Little Three victories against visiting rivals Williams College, 3-2, and on the road at Wesleyan University, 3-1. The comeback win against Williams ended an 11-match head-to-head winless streak for the Jeffs dating back to 2001. With a 17-11 (6-4 NESCAC) record, Amherst finished in a five-way tie for third place in the conference standings. The Jeffs snagged the No. 7 seed in the NESCAC postseason tournament, where they fell in a hard-fought contest to Tufts University, the second seed. They finished first in the NESCAC in blocking (2.57 bpg) and fourth in hitting percentage (.217) and kills (13.58 kpg).

KEY LOSSES
The Amherst volleyball program bids goodbye to a trio of remarkable student-athletes in 2006, with senior tri-captains Sara Bruggeman, Natalie Soud and Kate Raddock all departing through graduation. Bruggeman was a solid contributor on the team for four years, with 425 career kills, 82 digs and 290 blocks. Soud was also a key player on the team with very balanced numbers, ending her career at Amherst with 293 kills and 122 blocks. Raddock, a defensive specialist, closed out her career with a phenomenal 1,104 career digs. The class of 2006 excelled on the court and in the classroom, where all three received Academic All-NESCAC honors.

KEY RETURNEES
The Jeffs will be led this season by a tandem of senior captains in Kristin Quinn and Laura Golden. Quinn, an outside hitter, earned numerous accolades during her three seasons at Amherst, including 2003 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, 2004 First-Team All-NESCAC and 2005 Second-Team All-NESCAC. In addition, Quinn finished last season ranked 35th in the nation and second in NESCAC in hitting percentage (.365) and seventh in the NESCAC in kills (3.13 kpg). Golden, a defensive specialist, returns for her final year of action, with 228 games experience under her belt. The captains will lead two very capable classes of returning players including key returning juniors Julie Berkley, Jaclyn DeMais, and Whitney Kouvaris. Berkley, on pace for 1,000 career digs, looks to expand her role on the team this year, while the team hopes for more of the same from standouts DeMais and Kouvaris. DeMais finished last season fifth in the NESCAC in kills per game (3.57) and was a Second-Team All-NESCAC selection, while Kouvaris finished eighteenth in the conference in kills per game (2.66). Setter Sara Heller leads a quintet of returning sophomore players this season including Claire Holton-Basaldua, Alison Munzer, and Hannah Wirth.  Heller earned All-Tournament honors last season at the Western New England College Invitational, and finished sixth in the NESCAC with 9.85 assists per game. 

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