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Volleyball: New recruits look to bolster the lineup next season

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Freshman Lindsey Gosh leads a recruting class expected to do big things in 2012-13. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Much of the discussion surrounding the women’s volleyball team since the 2011 season ended has been about how it would replace former All-Americans Ashley Beyer and Ciara Jones. Coach Bond Shymansky continues to add players to the lineup for the 2012 season in hopes of finding the right combination.

The Golden Eagles signed Estonia’s Eva-Lotta Raat last week. Raat expects to compete with freshman Lindsey Gosh and sophomore Casey Read for the outside hitter positions.

Raat will be the first European volleyball player to compete at Marquette as the Parnumaa, Estonia native projects to be a six-rotation player.

“She’s a really unique player,” Shymansky said. “She has played for so many years against grown women in an elite league in the Baltic region. She has high-level experience, and it’s going to be important for her to get educated and comfortable in how we do what we do.”

Raat chose Marquette over Hawaii and the College of Charleston and will have four years of eligibility when she arrives in Milwaukee.

Shymansky said fans should not expect more foreign players to enter the program given the success the team has had recruiting on American soil. Rather, it was an opportunity for the team to get a player that will be able to help the program.

Gosh figures to be the leader for the starting outside hitter position as the team heads toward summer. As a left-hander, she expects to give teams difficulties with her approach.

“She was on the court a lot in the spring,” assistant coach Michaela Franklin said. “She was a player that improved a lot in the spring season and was able to get more comfortable on the court.”

Assistant coach Craig Dyer, who Shymansky calls the team’s offensive coordinator, said Gosh gives the team some options offensively. Dyer said the Oconomowoc, Wis. native could run in front of the setter making it difficult for teams to move their block.

One player that may be setting to the outside hitters is newly signed Elizabeth Koberstein, a transfer from Kentucky. Koberstein was a top-20 recruit out of Madison West High School in Madison, Wis.

“She will quickly adapt to our style of offense,” Shymansky said. “It was really what she was born to do. She’s the run-and-shoot kind of quarterback and has no fear with what she’s doing.”

Koberstein was on campus last week playing in an open gym with her new teammates. Current players had nothing but positive feedback. The players will not have contact with any of the coaches over the summer due to NCAA rules, but with the new faces, competition will be heated once fall rolls around.

“You have to do a good job recruiting to replace those kind of kids,” Dyer said. “I feel the players we have on our roster and the additions certainly will have a good dogfight to see who’s going to be on the court.”

Shymansky’s team had to overcome the loss of two All-Americans last year with the Golden Eagles churning out a historically good season. In 2012, the team’s expectations should be to reach its second NCAA Tournament appearance.

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