The Cougar volleyball team opens the home court hosting Sioux Falls College and North Central College for the University of Minnesota, Morris Triangular today (Wednesday) at the P.E. Center.
Under the direction of new head coach Chad Braegelmann, a young Cougar team will be working hard to improve on last season's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference record of 4-10.
"We need to make the conference tournament," said Braegelmann. "With our academic record and being a part of the University of Minnesota system, that's the minimum standard."
The Cougars lost five seniors from last season's team.
"We do have to replace some talent," said Braegelmann. "We have a lot of starters back and we have a couple of freshmen that will help us, too."
Returning starter Briana Czer has three years of experience with the Cougars.
"We are looking for big things from Briana this fall," said Braegelmann. "She had a very strong season last year, earning Honorable Mention All-Conference honors, and really developed as a leader.
"Her front-row experience will be key to our success."
Alison Pippo is the only other senior on the roster. She led the team last fall in hitting percentage and blocks.
"We are looking for Alison to be an anchor in the middle for us," Braegelmann said. "Her blocking prowess will be a key to our success and we are looking to find ways to get her more swings."
Other returning starters include Casey Stott and Sam Pfannenstein.
"Casey will bring some much needed experience to our outside hitter position," Braegelmann said. "Sam was a starting setter for us in our 6-2 offense and excelled as a setter."
Also back this season is Heather Pennie. Pennie was the previous head coach and is Braegelmann's assistant this season.