Editors Note: This article is part two of a three-part preview looking at each position of the Central Michigan volleyball program as it prepares for the 2012 season.
MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan attack looks to be as strong as ever in 2012, as the Chippewas return a core group of veterans up front at the outside hitter and middle blocker positions.
Despite having to replace four-time All-MAC selection Kaitlyn Schultz, the Chippewas return four seniors, a junior and two sophomores. The veteran leadership and experience gained from last year's Mid-American Conference Tournament run will be key in the success of the program.
Leading the attack will be the team's kills leader from a year ago in sophomore outside hitter Kaitlyn McIntyre. A 2011 MAC All-Freshman team selection, McIntyre led CMU and set a new freshman single-season record with 409 kills. The kills were also the sixth-most in the program since the NCAA implemented rally scoring in 2011.
Seniors Lindsey Dulude, Katie Schuette and Val DeWeerd return at outside hitter, while fellow senior Jocelyn VerVelde will be key in providing depth at the middle blocker position. The group of veterans is led by the second generation Chippewa in Dulude, who has a chance to cement her name in the record books of CMU volleyball history.
The Midland, Mich., native enters her senior season ranked fifth in service aces/set (0.26), sixth in digs/set (2.16), seventh in kills (737) and attacks (2,283), ninth in service aces (82) and tenth in total digs (686).
Junior Danielle Gotham, the team leader in blocks with 116 in 2011, will look to be the heir apparent in the middle for the Maroon and Gold as they look to replace the production lost from Schultz. Gotham was key in the MAC Tournament run as she finished with 21 kills and 17 blocks.
A trio of underclassmen will provide depth behind Gotham and Vervelde in sophomore Hallie Enderle and freshmen Angelique White and Kalle Mulford. Enderle appeared in 19 matches in her rookie campaign, finishing the season with 39 kills and 14 blocks, but is expected to be a key contributor this season.
Like their fellow freshman Jordan Timmer at the setter position, White and Mulford join the Chippewas as PrepVolleyball Senior Aces and Under Armour High School All-American Watch List selections.
Be sure to check back to CMUChippewas.com Wednesday for part three of the CMU Volleyball season preview leading up to the team's Maroon and Gold Scrimmage Saturday at 3 p.m.