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Archers Focused, Ready for Improved 2012 Season

August 17, 2012

Meghan Buerk  
Meghan Buerk, in white, is one of three veterans returning to the Archers volleyball squad in

















A year ago, Meghan Buerk, Kelly Hart and Jada Oliver were newcomers to a veteran-laden program, eager to simply get their feet wet in collegiate volleyball at St. Louis Community College.

This fall, that trio represents the only returners of the Archers’ 11-player roster, and will be counted on for increased production on the court, as well as an enhanced focus on their presence and leadership off of it.

Part of that leadership has been creating a welcoming environment for the eight new members of the program, and establishing a greater focus on performance and detail in practice.

Kelly Hart  
Kelly Hart

For Hart (North County Christian), the transition from inexperienced freshman to on-court leader was a welcome one. Creating a more intense atmosphere during practice has the sophomore ready for improvement not only in team chemistry, but also on the court.

“You just have to really take charge get everyone on board,” Hart said.  “We have a lot of newcomers, and I think we’re a bit more focused this year.”

The change in focus has been a welcome sight for head coach Johnna Kinney, who is eager to see if the relationships formed on the court can translate into a competitive program in 2012.

“They’ve really had to step up and take that leadership role, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Kinney said of her three returning players. “Because of their leadership, there is a focus and intensity that was not here a year ago.”

Despite the graduation of a large sophomore class from a year ago, Buerk (Lindbergh) and Hart represent two of the Archers’ most consistent performers. As freshmen, the duo led STLCC in hitting efficiency and were second and fifth, respectively, in kills. Joining Buerk and Hart in the frontcourt will be sophomore transfer Alex McGlamery (Thurston, Ore.) who will provide size and blocking ability, an area in which the Archers struggled a year ago.

Jada Oliver  
Jada Oliver

Oliver (Lutheran North), who primarily provided defense off the bench last season, will be counted on for an expanded role with considerably more court time in 2012. With a year of experience behind her, the sophomore setter is looking to deliver on increased expectations, and is benefitting from a second year under Kinney.

“One year in, I knew where I needed to grow. I know what my flaws were,” Oliver said. “The coaches now know who I am, and where I need to improve, and I’ve been able to do that.”

Road Warriors

It’s not unusual for Kinney to construct a schedule that is heavy on road games, particularly early in the season. Kinney has typically preferred to see her team gel on the road in the season’s first weeks, before the grind of games against regional opponents in the second half of the year.

The Archers, however, will be downright nomadic in 2012, as they will play just two home games and the pre-Region XVI Tournament during the regular season. Kinney attributes the scheduling quirk to increased focus on playing in tournaments, which will allow the Archers the maximum amount of contests to better prepare them for regional competition.

The Archers begin their travels Aug. 29, when they open the regular season at Lewis and Clark Community College.