March 8, 2013
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By: Dan Wallace
IOWA CITY, Iowa — For a team featuring only one senior, the University of Iowa volleyball team was forced to look elsewhere for leadership this past season. Enter Rachael Bedell. While many people may be quick to look at the team captains for guidance and direction, many players looked at Bedell, a junior outside hitter. Bedell didn’t need to be vocal to be an effective leader.
“This year I tried to show by example a lot on and off the court,” said Bedell.
With the lack of seniors on the roster, it forced Bedell to be more of a leader for the young squad.
“I know we had a really young team and that we only had one senior,” said Bedell. “The junior class had to step up a little bit more than in the past because we didn’t have the amount of seniors as we had in the past.”
Being a junior, Bedell had more experience over some of the younger players, and the results showed up on the stat sheet.
Bedell played in all but five sets in 2012 and finished second on the team in kills (339) and led the Hawkeyes in the category during Big Ten play (202). She set career bests in kills and digs (186).
“The freshman to sophomore transition can be a hard one,” said Bedell, who has played in 84 career matches and 260 sets. “You are coming from being a freshman and being new on the team to now being a returner. Now you have to have sufficiency on the court and know what you are supposed to be doing when you are out there.”
Bedell worked closely with the younger players on this year’s team — a team in which four freshmen saw playing time.
As offseason training is set to get underway once classes resume, Bedell is optimistic that having such a young team last year will have its advantages moving forward in 2013.
“Having one senior can be difficult, but it can also be an advantage because we only lose one player,” said Bedell. “The core part of our team will be back.”
Bedell is confident that the Hawkeyes — a team that will return 15 players — have what it takes to compete in the Big Ten in 2013. Close losses are an area that Bedell thinks will change as 2013 rolls around. With Bedell’s leadership already in place, who’s to think that the Hawkeyes can’t compete with the league’s best next year?
“If we can stat consistent, we can chip our way through the Big Ten.”