The Albion College volleyball team has a new coach and a new look this season.
Kristin Slamer – De St. Aubin has started her first season as head coach for the Albion volleyball team. Slamer – De St. Aubin was formerly the assistant coach for Northern Michigan University and the head coach of Loy Norrix high school. Having formerly played volleyball for the Brits, coach Slamer – St. Aubin is excited to steer the program in the right direction.
“It took us a little while to develop chemistry in terms of how we train and how we interact on and off the court,” coach Slamer – De St. Aubin said. “A big goal for us was to develop a new team culture between the new coaching staff and all of the players, especially the first year girls.”
The Britons signed a strong recruiting class over the summer, bringing in 11 first year players. Five of those first-year players have earned spots in the varsity rotation.
Halle Thom, Okemos first-year has been a key addition for Albion. Thom leads the team in kills with 154 and has a kills-per set average of 2.33.
“The transition from high school volleyball to college volleyball wasn’t very difficult for me because I played during the summer, so I was pretty used to high intensity games,” Thom said. “I like playing under pressure because it hypes me up and I feel like that helps my game.
Upperclassmen have helped new players get acclimated to the pace of collegiate level volleyball. Haley Gitre, Commerce Township junior has lead by example with her lock down defensive plays and looks to act as a role model for the new players. Gitre ranks third in the MIAA in digs with 273 and has a digs-per set average of 4.14, ranking second in the conference.
Senior leadership is a big factor in whether the Britons will be successful both now and in the future. Players are stepping up everywhere regardless of what class they are in.
Lauren Deluyck, West Bloomfield senior, believes that being a role model on and off the court contributes to good team culture, which leads to good chemistry.
“I like to play the role of an emotional leader on the court I try to keep my emotions in check and bring everybody up when we’re down,” Deluyck said. “We had a lot of really good talent come in this year. I didn’t think anyone was lacking in ability so I wanted to help them get used to the high intensity of collegiate volleyball.”
Despite their current 2-18 record, the Brits seem to have made a lot of progress this season. The new coaching staff and impressive first-year class have assimilated nicely into the new and building program, an indicator that there could be good things to come for the program.
“We are trying to figure out what it takes to be successful,” coach Slamer – De St. Aubin said. “Not just in terms of our record but playing consistently and incorporating what we learn in practice onto the court.”
Photo courtesy of Albion College Sports Information