Replacing an All-American

With the graduation of Leslie Clark, the Blue Raiders will feature a new face at setter in 2010

August 23, 2010 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - For the first time since 2006, the Middle Tennessee volleyball team will be featuring a new setter in the line-up due to the graduation of four-year starter and school career assists leader Leslie Clark. Blue Raider head coach Matt Peck will look to his young setting corps of redshirt-sophomore Courtney Wilson, redshirt-freshman Morgan Peterson and incoming freshman Angela Peyton to replace her.

Clark boasted of a career beyond comparison at Middle Tennessee. The Olathe, Kan., native collected 5,692 assists in her career, 1,672 more than second place on the list. She was named an All-American in 2008 and earned First Team All-Sun Belt accolades in each of her final three seasons. Her career rate of 12.16 assists per set is also a school record.

With less than a week to go to the opener, Peterson put on a show in the Blue and White scrimmage, dishing out a match-high 41 assists.

"I think Morgan did well on Saturday," said Peck. "I think the year of redshirting for Morgan made a huge difference. She also did an outstanding job leading the team."

Peck said that he expects all three to earn significant playing time throughout the season, as he looks for every setter on the roster to contribute for the 2010 campaign.

"The nice thing about Courtney and Angela is that they've made training camp extremely competitive," said Peck. "They are also going to be on the court this year, there's no doubt about that. Both Courtney and Angela bring different things to the table. Angela's defense is outstanding and Courtney connects with the hitters a little bit better. I see a very bright future for Angela and I think Courtney will make contributions this year as well. I couldn't be happier to have three setters who can run our offense because it makes practice very, very competitive."


Q&A with Morgan Peterson and Courtney Wilson

With the graduation of Leslie Clark, what did you learn in watching her play and playing behind her?

Wilson: "Leslie was awesome to play with because she really took the time out to show you the ropes and give you pointers. She was an amazing setter, and she's a great leader. It's been fun to play behind her."

Peterson: "Leslie was great, and she would always help us out whenever we needed help. In the games, we would just watch her and try to learn as much as we could because she was a four-year starter."

Both of you sat out a year with a redshirt as freshmen, how do you think that helped you as a player?

Wilson: "Coming in from high school, college is a totally different tempo. That year gives you the time to learn and soak it in. It also gives you the chance to get to know the players a little bit better so the next year you can step right in and get going with the offense."

Peterson: "Plus, the tempo here is a lot faster than everybody else's. So that year really helped me get the tempo and the offense down."

How have you responded to coming into camp with open competition for the setter role?

Peterson: "It makes us better. With the amount of competition we're all trying to be the best. I think it's a good thing for our team because the setting has gone up because of the competition.

Wilson: "There's three of us, so if one of us has a bad day, we all know there's someone who can take over. It's been fun though, nothing dramatic."

What are your expectations for this season?

Peterson: "I want to win conference again, win another ring and get past the second round. As far as personal goals, I want to try to be as good as Leslie."

Wilson: "I definitely want another ring and I want to get to the Sweet 16. Personally, I want to get to know my hitters a little bit better and push our team to their very best."

What are your thoughts on training camp so far?

Peterson: "It's been a bit tougher than last year, simply because I have more of a role. Last year, I knew I was redshirting, so I was just trying to learn the system. This year, I've tried to step up and be more confident."

Wilson: "This one, by far, is the best one. My first training camp was really hard, but as I've gotten closer to the team, it's been a bit easier as we've adjusted to our playing roles. I think this is my favorite camp by far."


Middle Tennessee will now prepare for the season opener at the Illinois State Farm Classic in Champaign, Ill. The Blue Raiders will be facing South Carolina, Brigham Young and sixth-ranked Illinois with the tournament beginning play on Friday.

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