2008 bleedCrimson.net Aggie Volleyball Preview :: Outside Hitter

Written by: Jordan Bostic and Sam Wasson

Outside hitters are very important to any volleyball team. They will take the most swings of any of the attackers and have to be able to make good shots when balls are set poorly. In a 6-2 offense, both outside hitters (L-1 and L-2) need to be able to play both the front row and the back row. As a result, outside hitters are usually the most well-rounded players on the team. They have to be able to terminate a perfect set, better a not-so-perfect set, block, serve, play defense and pass serve receive. It’s a big job, and any offense will struggle without solid outside hitters.

The left side may be the deepest spot for the Aggies as they return last year's leader in kills, 2007 First Team All-WAC and 2008 Preseason All-WAC senior Lindsey Yon (435). Also coming back is 2007 Second Team All-WAC and 2008 Preseason All-WAC hitter Krista Altermatt, a junior, who finished third on the team with 356 kills. Heading into last season, Yon was recovering from a bad arm injury and did not work out the entire summer. She was cleared to play just before the Aggies began fall practice. "It took her a while to get going, and as the season wore on she wore down [physically]," explained Jordan. "But now physically she's in the best shape she's been in in a long time." The fact that Yon played the entire season at approximately 75 to 80 percent of her capability and still led the team in kills should strike fear in the hearts of Aggie opponents, and Coach Jordan expects her to have her best season this year. "The exciting thing about Lindsey is she's so far ahead at this time than she was at this same time a year ago. She's prepared to have her best season."

Krista Altermatt had a standout season as a sophomore as she saw a lot of playing time. "Krista's a really polished player," said Coach Jordan. "She passes really well, which is probably her biggest asset. She's a very smart attacker. She handles the ball well. She's very skilled and really knows how to play the game." Altermatt suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the deciding fifth game of the championship match of the WAC tournament against Hawai'I, but has rehabbed the injury and showed no ill effects in the spring alumni match.

Behind Altermatt is a pair of talented sophomores in Whitney Phillips and Alex Steinmetz. Both players got playing time as freshmen with Steinmetz playing in 43 games while Phillips appeared in 49 games. "Whitney is one of our better athletes at that position. She's a little smaller at 5'10" but she's a good jumper and has a great arm," said Jordan. "Alex has actually gotten taller and is now every bit of 6'2". She's got a great arm, and she hits the ball great out of a pipe set," Jordan said. "She [Steinmetz] can play the left or the right, and if she passes well she's definitely going to play a lot more."

Phillips could be poised for a breakout sophomore campaign. She had a solid match against LSU in the NCAA tournament, tallying a team high 15 kills and adding 10 digs as a replacement for the injured Altermatt. "She had a real good outing against LSU, but she got some freshman jitters in the fifth game," said Jordan.

The Aggies also have a freshman left side hitter Bethany Self (Portales, N.M.) coming to campus who Jordan anticipates will likely redshirt this season.

Also See: Coach and Program, Schedule and System | Setter | Outside Hitter | Middle Blocker | Right-Side Attacker | Libero and Defensive Specialist | Outlook | View the entire preview on a single page