The losses of setter Megan McMahon and outside hitter/middle blocker Caroline Lemke leave big holes in both Elon University women’s volleyball’s offense and defense.  Although head women’s volleyball coach Mary Tendler said she will miss their leadership and what they could do on the court for the team, she feels good about the players she has now.

“They are ready to take on bigger roles and get more playing time and help the team win,” Tendler said. “As a coach, it’s fun, we can find out strengths and put together a team.”

But in order to figure out who will make up the best team, senior captain Ali Deatsch said it may take some experimenting.

[box]"Bex" Is Medical and Athletic Megan McMahon, during her time at Elon, was both a volleyball player and preparing for medical school. Get her story here.[divider_flat] [/box]

“I think coach will be giving everyone a chance and seeing what flows so we can figure out what gives our team the best foot forward,” she said. Senior outside hitter/middle blocker Carly Ledbetter said experimenting means players may try new positions. And she said no one’s spot is guaranteed.

“Before conference, you are looking to see who will fill a position,” Ledbetter said. “While we are young, we are talented and have a lot of depth. Everyone is competing for a spot whether you have played that position before.”

Sophomore Kris Harris and senior Alli Nogi, who played middle last year, have been getting experience as right side hitters, and right side junior captain Cali Estes will be setting a bit this season.

With the addition of the four freshmen, the team will look significantly different from last year.

“It’s going to be really difficult for other teams to scout us because they haven’t seen these players yet,” Tendler said. “They don’t know some of our other players so I’m looking forward to having a new look to our team.”

Ledbetter also sees the new players on the team having a big role this season.

“We are so excited about the freshmen,” she said. “We already have such a great team chemistry. It’s always hard to have new people come in and blend the team but I think they are going to contribute a lot.”

[box]Freshman Excited One of the incoming freshmen that coach Tendler is looking to replace McMahon and Lemke is Megan Gravley. Get to know her.[divider_flat] [/box]

Helping the team mesh is one of the seniors’ goals this year.

Deatsch said it was important to everyone that the best team is out on the court

“We have talked a lot about communication and as seniors we have had some discussions among the five of us to make sure everyone feels welcome,” she said. “That’s something that is important to us. We are a team no matter who is on the court. We are a unit as opposed to individual players.”

Still, players will have to earn their spot for positions and playing time this year as Tendler decides on the final line-up.

“We are making some decisions on where (players) are going to be best for our offense and defense,” she said. “But they do have a lot of competition with the four freshmen that came in so everybody does have to earn their playing time.”