When the Yale volleyball team hits the court this fall, the freshmen will not be the only new faces in the mix.
Joining head coach Erin Appleman in her second season with the Bulldogs will be Kevin Laseau and Susan Kelly, who replace last year’s assistants, David Foster and Ashlie Case, respectively.
A veteran coach on the national club volleyball circuit, Laseau said there were a number of things to adjust to during his inaugural season at Yale.
“This first season is all about getting acclimated to running a college program,” Lasseau said. “Dealing with all of the logistics — preseason, classes, freshman meetings during practices — these are the things that I will have to learn to adjust to as a coach this year.”
Appleman first came across Laseau when she coached at Penn State. While a coach for the 1999 National Champion Nittany Lions, Appleman recruited a number of Laseau’s players from the Munciana (Ind.) Volley Club, where he served as an assistant coach and later head coach. Laseau, who has been involved with national club volleyball for more than twenty years, helped lead the Munciana 16-open squad to a national title in 1997 as well as three bronze medals in 1989, 2000 and 2001.
“Kevin [Laseau] has a good knowledge about the game from his many years of involvement,” Appleman said. “He is an excellent trainer with a forte for passing and defense, and he will add a lot of depth to our staff this season.”
In addition to the added experience Laseau will bring to the coaching staff, Kelly also offers a substantial background in the game that could be of help to the Bulldogs. Kelly comes to Yale from DePauw University, where she served as assistant coach for the past two seasons. Prior to her position with the Tigers, she served as the head coach for Connecticut College for the 2001 season.
“Susan [Kelly] brings a high level of energy to our program,” Appleman said. “She has an incredible love for the game, and this will be a huge benefit for our players.”
Setter Jacqueline Becker ’06 said the team seems to be responding well to the new coaching staff.
“They bring a lot of experience to our team and really gel nicely with our team,” Becker said. “They have really been pushing us to get better during preseason, and I think they will play a major role on the success of our team this season.”
Kelly and Laseau will get the chance to demonstrate just what kind of effect their presence will have on the Elis this year on Sept. 10 when they kick off the 2004 season against the University of California-Irvine.