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Bobcat freshman looking for big off-season after rough fall

By Kane O'Neill, KTVM Sports, koneill@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 04 2014 10:47:05 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 04 2014 10:47:39 PM MST

It was a tough year for Montana State's volleyball team. They finished the year with a 6-25 overall record and went just 4-16 in conference play.

The Bobcats were also one of the youngest teams with freshman making up more than half of their roster. The team has been busy with off-season workouts in full swing and are pleased with their development this spring.

"We're actually able to teach some skills," said head coach Kyle Weindel. "Last fall we integrated so many new players it was just kind of, roll the balls out and let's play. Now we're taking a step back and building some of the skills. It's kind of like working backwards."

Despite their inexperience, two freshman led the team in almost every statistical category. One of those freshman was Kennadie Clute, who was named the Co-Big Sky freshman of the year.

"We can all agree we didn't have the best season and we all want to be more successful," said Clute. "We're all working hard to get where we know we can be."

Kennadie led the Big Sky in kills with 513 and 560.5 points in her first year. She was also the top freshman in all of Division 1 volleyball in kills, however she isn't letting that go to her head.

"I've heard 'you're gonna have the sophomore slump' a lot of times," said Clute. "Who knows what accomplishments I can get. I'm just hoping to be as successful as I was and as long as I play well and do my best I'm fine."

Loni Kreun was the Bobcats other freshman star, scorching 339 kills and 274 digs this fall.

"It's a whole different game in college than high school," said Kreun. "Everyone's four years older than you and you have to play against girls that are older and have been playing at the college level."

With another year under his young stars belts, coach Weindel is excited to see what these two will serve the Big Sky next season.

"I can't say enough about Loni," Weindel said. "She's kind of our quiet assassin where she does everything well. She serves well, she digs, she passes. Kennadie is motivated that she was Co-big sky freshman of the year. I know that upset her. They've really come in motivated and hungry to get better which we see on a daily basis."

The Bobcats had 7 freshman on their roster this season, all of those will now be sophomores with a year of experience in their pocket which the Bobcats says will be a huge advantage next season.

"Half of our team are freshman," said Loni. "So it's like a brand new team. Now that we know each other and have played with each other, it will help a lot next season."

"A lot of the top teams in the Big Sky have lost a lot of players," said Weindel. "I'm optimistic just by default we'll get better and we'll get more wins. We're more experienced that many teams across the net, even thought we're still sophomores and a couple juniors."