The University of Wisconsin volleyball team has added two new players to its roster for the 2009 season.
In a statement, Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite announced Clare Liston and Ashley Wiedmeyer won spots after attending an open tryout in April. Both players will become immediately eligible to play this fall. Liston and Wiedmeyer will be walk-ons when they join the roster this summer.
“We were pleased to find players of Clare and Ashley’s caliber at the tryouts, and we’re glad they’ll be joining our team,” Waite said in the release. “Both come from strong club volleyball backgrounds, which will help them transition easily into our training sessions, and both clubs are well respected nationally. Both Clare and Ashley’s coaches gave them strong recommendations.”
Liston, a sophomore outside hitter from River Forest, Ill., has spent the last two seasons on the UW Club Volleyball team. As a prep volleyball player, she earned honorable mention all-state honors for Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill. She started all four years for the Friars and was named captain her senior year.
For Liston, as an outside hitter, one of the biggest challenges will be getting her game to a high enough level to compete with some of the best and tallest players in the conference. For example, the Big Ten’s leading scorer from 2008, Penn State’s Christa Harmotto, stands at 6 feet 2 inches and many other teams have players at comparable heights.
“The speed of the game and the size of the players [is the biggest difference],” Waite said. “Especially playing in the Big Ten, when you are playing at the net, players touching over 10 feet.”
Wiedmeyer, a defensive specialist from West Bend, Wis., will enter the season with sophomore eligibility. As a senior at West Bend High School, she was named to the first-team all-county roster. She started all four years. Wiedmeyer also participated in the 2004 Junior Olympics as a member of the Milwaukee sting and finished fifth.
Despite not having played at the level she was in high school, Waite is not worried that Wiedmeyer will have lost any of the skills that impressed him enough to add her to the roster.
“I don’t think there will be a drop-off,” Waite said. “I think she has been playing in different leagues. … She has a great passion for [the game] and they will need to show that next year.”
Both players missed the team’s spring workouts but will participate in summer workouts and will be ready to play in the team’s season opener at the InnTowner Invitational this August. During next season, the Liston and Wiedmeyer may not work their way into the rotation right away, but they will prove to both be assets for their team either as everyday players or on the scout team.
“Only time will tell,” Waite said. “We have to get them into our preseason practices. We wouldn’t add players to our team if we didn’t see them contributing.”