It's hard to argue with what the senior class of 2009 has done for the Ball State University women's volleyball program. All three stand tall at the outside and opposite side positions for the Cardinals and have delivered special moments for fans over the last four years.
"This is a class I take a lot of pride in. They supported and gave everything to our transition when I came here," coach Dave Boos said. "Each player is special and completely different. I don't know Ball State volleyball without them. Next year is going to have a completely different personality without them."
Julie Breivogel entered her final season as a Cardinal ranked 10th all time with 995 kills. Early in the season, Breivogel passed the 1,000 kill mark and to date has 1,218 kills. Breivogel came close to her career high of 24 kills on a couple occasions, posting 20 and 18 kills the last couple weeks of the Mid-American Conference season. Breivogel has also tallied 160 blocks and 133 block assists in the Ball State red and white.
"It was weird walking into the locker room [Sunday]. It was decorated for us [seniors]. I can't believe it's finally here. I'm not sure if you're ever ready to quit playing," Breivogel said. "I'll miss playing with everyone. I really enjoy it."
Elaina Kakatolis has been a force at the net her entire Cardinal career. The fifth-year senior (redshirted her freshman season) broke into the top 20 in blocks and block assists this season and has notched 245 blocks in her four years. She's also posted 226 block assists. Offensively, Kakatolis posted 20 kills against the University of Texas at Arlington on Sept. 15, 2007. Kakatolis has thrown down 742 kills in her career. Her redshirt freshman year started her Cardinal career with a bang, tallying 308 kills total.
"It still hasn't hit me yet. It probably won't for a while, but I have mixed emotions about almost being done," Kakatolis said. "I've been here forever."
Alisha Green's senior season was one of transition. Green moved from the middle blocker position to the outside hitter spot. While the transition was not the smoothest, Green managed to settle in. Green has also been a force on the defensive side. In her first year at Ball State after transferring from the University of Tampa, Green registered a team-leading 90 blocks. For her Ball State career, Green sits at 582 kills, 131 blocks and 93 block assists. In her collegiate career, Green owns 1346 kills.
"It hasn't hit me yet because I'm still looking forward. The season isn't over yet," Green said. "Our class has contributed a lot. With the locker room and the pregame ceremony, I felt really important and appreciated."
While the contributions of the senior class hasn't translated into the type of success they would like, the class of 2009 has secured a 41-79 record over all, and a 23-39 record in the MAC.
"We'll always remember the big wins. The ones where we were the underdog and just went out and played our game and won," Breivogel said. "Wins like last year at Northern Illinois where we came back from being down 9-2 in the fifth set to win."
The senior class also will have the distinction of being a part of the transition from all-time winningest Ball State women's volleyball coach Randy Litchfield to coach Dave Boos. The change in coaches was more than just that; there was a total change in playing style and philosophy.
Additionally, the rise of Ohio University and Western Michigan University made the task of regaining MAC supremacy very tough. All of that, however, pales in comparison to the heart, sweat and tears that the seniors left out on the floor.
"Transferring here and having fun and getting along with everyone has been great," Green said. "We're a family."