2008
Newcomers will need to contribute for volleyball success

Newcomers will need to contribute for volleyball success
August 28, 2008

Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
(630) 829-6143
dbeyer@ben.edu

For Benedictine University head coach Jennifer Wildes (Fourth season), 2008 has already been an emotional rollercoaster ride even before the first ball has been hit over the nets. Wildes has spent the off-season replacing the gaping holes left to her roster by graduation and injuries. The result is that her 2008 Eagles team will enter the year with three returning starters and eight leterwinners overall. Benedictine lost a pair of All-Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) players – two-year starting setter Angela Vitto and middle-hitter Danielle Mikos – to graduation. Four other letterwinners did not return. “There is no doubt that we have some large voids which we will need to address,” said Wildes, who has earned 20 or more wins every season at the Eagles’ helm. “You can’t take away three starters and several key reserves and not have it impact your team. “The challenge facing our team – as well as our coaching staff – will be to intergrate the new players into our system as soon as possible. We are going to need contributions from our entire roster if we want to be successful in 2008. That means our freshmen are going to have to be ‘game ready’ and the veteran players will need to assume even larger leadership roles.” Even with the three returning starters, Benedictine’s roster will still sports just two seniors– Amanda Distasio (Chicago, Ill./Mother McAuley H.S.) and Sierra Griffin (Lisle, Ill./Lisle H.S.). Both came off of the Eagles’ bench in 2007. Heading the cast of returning starters is sophomore Kayla Leyden (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward H.S.). Leyden was an allregion honorable mention pick and the NAC “Rookie of the Year” last season. Also returning to the front line starters are juniors Sarah Porod (Berwyn, Ill./Morton West H.S.) and Sarah Ruzicka (Quincy, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.). Both have seen significant playing time during their first two collegiate seasons and will be relied upon heavily in 2008. Giving depth will be returning junior letterwinners Jessica Judge (Denver, Colo./Cherry Creek H.S.), Kate McGuire (Bridgeview, Ill./Argo Community H.S.) and Celia Porod (Berwyn, Ill./Morton West H.S.). “We have some hurdles to clear no doubt,” reflected Wildes. “However, we do have the nucleus of talent around which to build a team that can keep our program among the NAC’s upper echelon once again in 2008.”

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.