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Huskies motivated for a bounce-back season

Northeastern volleyball opens 2015 play on Friday, facing both New Mexico State (12 p.m. EDT) and No. 16 Arizona State (7 p.m. EDT) in the Falcon Classic in Colorado. The Huskies’ home opener is Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Cabot Center—and team captain Jamie Bredahl has challenged fans to pack the building in an attempt to amass the program’s largest-ever home crowd.

Last season, the team finished with a losing record (10-20) following four straight seasons with at least 19 wins. Here, Bredahl discusses the expectations for this season, the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and her goals as team captain.

Last season’s team played a tough schedule, including 10 teams in the RPI Top 100, and finished with a record of 10-20. What can you take from the experience of last season and apply to this season?
Coach [Ken Nichols] says that you can’t forget past lessons, or history repeats itself. I think we can take a lot from last season. One of our biggest ghosts from last season was not being able to finish games. Going into this season, we’ve been working in our two-a-days on how to be competitive when it comes to that time in the match—when it’s 20-20 and the pressure is high, how are we going to win those matches this season?

Looking back on last season, our record has really put some fire under us to have a comeback year.

What are your expectations for the team this season?
I hope that we are able to push each other more this year. Last year, team chemistry wasn’t the issue. We’re a very close-knit team. Everyone gets along great off the court, but it’s almost to a fault—we get along so well that people are scared to push each other.  As captain, I want the team to use our closeness to our advantage and feel that we can say things without hurting people’s feelings or disrupting our mental game.

My goal ever since I stepped onto Northeastern’s campus is to make it to the NCAA tournament.

You mentioned your captaincy. Last season’s senior co-captains—Natalia Skiba and Alexa Armstrong—have left. What’s your biggest area of focus now that you’ve stepped into their role?
I’m really excited to take on this role. It’s almost nerdy to say, but I love all the organization it takes and the time management. I have a really good relationship with coach so it makes it easy to be that middleman between coach and the players.

In addition to the nine returners, the team this season has three freshmen—Gabrielle Eyl, Laynie Whitehead, and Sherrie Wang. What will this trio bring to the team?
All three have already surprised me. Gabby and Laynie are very vocal and will serve as the spark that we need to jumpstart us. Gabby is going to be a big player for us. And Sherrie comes from a great program and has all the skills. There’s a good balance.

What are you most excited for this season?
I’m most excited to have a winning record again. I’ve been on plenty of good teams; all of us have. I don’t know what happened last year, so for me the most exciting thing would be to see that all our hard work is paying off, and that we’re going to make a difference in our game and win those close sets, and flip our record from last season.

Tuesday, Sept. 1, is the home opener against New Hampshire. What’s your message to Huskies fans?
Fan support is very important in athletics no matter what sport you play. Fans can really make the difference. So we’re really looking forward to fans coming out and supporting us.

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