Central Lakes College Raiders volleyball coach Jane Peterson has thrown the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," out the door.
Peterson, who coached the Raiders to a 29-9 record, MCCC state and Region 13 titles and third place in last year's NJCAA Division III national tournament, is moving All-American middle hitter Lane tenCate to an outside hitter position.
As a freshman middle hitter, the 5-foot-10 tenCate recorded 550 kills, averaging 4.2 a game, had 120 blocks, 290 digs and 61 ace serves. She was named All-North Division, All-MCCC, All-Region 13 and All-American.
Why move tenCate to outside hitter?
"Lane fits the outside hitter role well," Peterson said, "by the way she moves, because she's quick and she has a big, hard swing. I don't know if it's going to work or not but we'll try it. Lane understands that I'm trying to make the best team I can.
"I look at the rest of the players I have and I want to get them into the game."
Peterson will do just that as CLC travels to Chicago, Ill., to compete in the College of DuPage tournament Friday and Saturday.
Two other important pieces of last year's team also return, middle hitter Shannon McCarthy and utility player Dana tenCate.
The 5-11 McCarthy was second on the team with 364 kills, averaging 2.8 kills per game, and led the team with 125 blocks. Dana tenCate did a little bit of everything last year and will be asked to the same this year, including setting. But the area where Dana tenCate has stood out is her leadership ability.
Inside the numbers: Raiders volleyball
275 -- Number of career coaching wins by Jane Peterson
32 -- Most wins in a season (2000)
14 -- Number of seasons Peterson has been head coach at CLC
4 -- The number of Region 13B titles won by CLC
3 -- The number of MCCC state championships won by CLC
2 -- The number of NJCAA Division III national titles won by CLC
AUGUST 27, 28-at College of DuPage, Chicago
SEPTEMBER 2-at North Dakota State College of Science 6 p.m.
10-VERMILION 6:30 p.m.
11-MESABI 12 p.m.
15-at Northland 6:30 p.m.
18-at Ridgewater Tournament
22-ITASCA 6:30 p.m.
24-at Hibbing 6:30 p.m.
25-at Rainy River 12 p.m.
29-at Fergus Falls 4 p.m.
29-at North Dakota State College of Science 6 p.m.
OCTOBER 1-RAINY RIVER 6:30 p.m.
2-HIBBING 12 p.m.
8-at Mesabi 6:30 p.m.
9-at Vermilion 12 p.m.
13-NORTHLAND 6:30 p.m.
19-at Itasca 6:30 p.m.
23-Playoff date if nec.
The biggest reason for the switch is that Peterson has a bevy of talented middle hitters at her disposal.
Besides McCarthy, Peterson has freshmen Jillian Maki and Andrea Almsted, both of whom will be imposing figures in the middle. Maki, who's from Annandale, stands 6-1 while Park Center graduate Almsted is 6-0.
"Jillian and Andrea are both very good middle hitters," said Peterson. "They're not quite as quick as Lane and not as athletic. But they could be very good at middle hitter. It's a wonderful problem to have because I have so many players that can do so many different things."
Another freshman that will vie for playing time is Courtney Stach of Bertha-Hewitt. The 5-10 Stach will play both middle and outside hitter positions and has impressed Peterson with her work ethic.
"I don't know if I've ever coached someone that's more coachable than Courtney," Peterson said. "You tell her to do something and she just does it."
One of the most important players on the floor is the setter, the person in charge of getting the ball to the hitters. CLC graduated All-North Division and All-MCCC setter Abby Leach.
But Peterson is confident freshman Amy Flieschhaker of Albany will be able to fill that void.
"Amy has a great understanding of the game," Peterson said. "She's someone who can see the court and has great court awareness. She's got great, strong hands. Hopefully, we'll be able to run a faster offense than we have in the past because we have all these athletic players who can run around and make plays."
Rainy River and Fergus Falls should both be formidable opponents for the Raiders as they look to get back to their fourth national tournament in five years. And, with as much talent as the Raiders have, all signs point to accomplishing that goal.
"We have such a skilled team and it's the most athletic team I've ever had," Peterson said. "It's also the tallest team I've ever coached and those are two good things. We have every component to be a good team. It's very exciting to think about the potential this team has."
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
Sophomores -- Lane tenCate 5-10 middle/outside hitter (Ogilvie), Shannon McCarthy 5-11 middle hitter (Hinckley), Dana tenCate 5-7 utility (Ogilvie)
Freshman -- Amy Flieschhaker 5-9 setter (Albany), Jillian Maki 6-1 middle hitter (Annandale), Courtney Stach 5-10 middle/outside hitter (Bertha-Hewitt), Melissa Lease 5-1 defensive specialist/libero (Onamia), Maggie Wizner 5-5 outside hitter (Blackduck), Andrea Almsted 6-0 middle hitter (Brooklyn Park), Katy Goldsmith 5-2 defensive specialist/libero (Isle), Jean Koester 5-10 outside hitter (Upsala)
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