Volleyball: Sattora, Forrest named captains for 2014 season

By Max Sullivan
On April 29, 2014

Virtually the same volleyball team that won a conference championship last season will take the court in 2014. Only two players are graduating with the senior class.

Not to say the Wildcats didn't gain much from seniors and co-captains Morgan Thatcher and Destiny Tolliver. Both stand tall at 6-foot-2. The duo possessed the only left hand shots on the team. Finally, both finished the season well decorated. Thatcher was a first team all-America East player and Tolliver a second teamer

As a result of losing the seniors, the team was determined to find an identity for the coming fall.

"We relied heavily this past year on Morgan and Destiny as leaders, on and off the court, just setting such a great example. They've really kept the tone for our fall season this past year," sophomore Madison Lightfoot said. "So, this spring was really important for us to figure out, 'Okay, who's going to step up, who's going to take on which role, what identity are we going to take on this next year?'"

The answers lie in 14 returning players from the 2013 conference champion team, a number head coach Jill Hirschinger said was unusually high. Sometimes she only has seven players to work with. This year, she has more than enough depth to find the right players. 

Among the returning players, many were near the top of the conference in various statistics. Sophomore Tori Forrest was fourth in the conference in kills per set with 2.91. Junior Taylor Dunklau was fourth in assists per set with 9.54 and sixth in service aces per set with .31. Lightfoot was third in the conference in digs with 4.51.

"It's a whole team thing, so all of us have our roles," Dunklau said. "Everyone has their own personality, a cog in the machine. We all work together, so I think [the seniors] definitely helped, but it was a team thing."

The two exiting captains gained a reputation for being the yin to the other's yang, Tolliver's reservation to Thatcher's outspoken nature. Likewise, incoming co-captains Katie Sattora and Forrest effectively compliment each other, their teammates said. 

Forrest maintains an all-business demeanor. She knows what she wants her team to do, and she's willing to do what it takes to accomplish it, even if it means showing some grit.

"[Some] people need someone to be in their face and say, 'Hey, you need to step it up, we need to get this done,' and I think Tori has more of that type of leadership," Lightfoot said.

 In contrast to Forrest's seriousness, Sattora tends to be upbeat and relaxed.

"Katie's just lighthearted and fun, and she can put a positive spin on anything," Lightfoot said. "And when some people on our team are down, they need that."

"They're a good match," Thatcher said. "Torri wants to be business and wants to win another championship, whereas Katie is like, 'Well, I want to win another championship, but I want everyone to smile while we're doing it.'"

Lightfoot said she thinks it's important that two captains be on different ends of the leadership spectrum, like Sattora and Forrest are.

"They complement each other perfectly," Lightfoot said. "If we had two captains that were exactly the same, it would be redundant, and it wouldn't be necessary to have two, but I think that it's amazing how they both bring something different to the table."

Hirschinger has confidence in her newest leaders, elected by the team to their positions. She said that, "Both of them have shown great leadership."

Hirschinger sends her captains to leadership development programs run by Dr. Karen Collins, the athletic department's sports psychologist who teaches Kinesiology at the university. In addition, she has her players apply to leadership camps, in which they go through a week-long leadership training. 

"We try to look for different avenues where you can develop leadership, and all of my captains have gone through the leadership development program," Hirschinger said.

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