By Joey Bennett
TERRE HAUTE — Kristen Seaton didn’t exactly want to sit out last season as a redshirt volleyball player for the Pepperdine Waves, but nagging foot injuries forced the Terre Haute South grad to take the year off and recover on the sidelines.
It may turn out to be the best thing she ever did.
Seaton played in 27 matches as a freshman, starting 12, and averaged 1.88 kills, 0.78 dig, 0.61 block, and 0.32 ace per game. She recorded a season-high 12 kills against Arkansas and Loyola Marymount, and had highs of six service aces, five blocks and five digs.
She had six kills and four digs in the NCAA Tournament first-round match at USC, in which she played against former South teammate Katelyn Bishop.
Still, as well as Seaton did, she was being limited by what her feet would let her do.
“The beginning was just stress fractures in my foot and then they turned into repeated fractures and stress reactions,” she said. “Through testing, assessment and intensive rehab, we’ve been able to find the cause of the stress and find ways to change and prevent it from happening anymore. I feel incredibly lucky to have the staff of doctors and medical experts working with me the past year.”
Seaton now proclaims her feet “fully recovered,” and she has been playing regularly since January in offseason workouts.
“We played in our first-ever sand volleyball tournament the first weekend in April,” Seaton said. “I didn’t play in the sand because of my foot therapy. I did get to play the role of an assistant coach that day, which was totally cool to look at the game from a different perspective.”
The following weekend, Seaton was able to get back on the court in an indoor tournament at UC Santa Barbara.
“That was my first time playing in a jersey in 17 months, so it felt really nice getting back into the game,” Seaton said. “We wrapped up the spring season with a tournament at Cal State Northridge. All three tournaments went well, so now it’s just focusing on staying healthy for the fall season.”
Pepperdine Coach Nina Matthies has high hopes for Seaton, and is pleased with her recovery.
“Kristen had a great freshman season,” Matthies said. “She learned a lot and was a great contributor to our team her freshman year. Coming back from the injury, she’s had a tremendous spring.
“She played really well after she was finally cleared for our last two indoor tournaments.”
Matthies sees a big role on the right side of the court for the 6-5 left-hander.
“After having a year off, it’s going to take a little bit for her to get back into the swing of things and competing every day,” Matthies noted. “But she’s gotten stronger both mentally and physically, and I think the extra year might help her mature into a great player. She could end up being one of the best players in the country and could be our next All-American.”
Seaton agrees that she is a better athlete physically than ever before, and can’t wait until the team’s season-opening trip to Fort Collins, Colo., from Aug. 28-30.
“I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and I’m playing pain free for the first time in a few years,” she said. “Working through the summer and keeping on track with the doctors and rehab will prepare me for a great fall season. I couldn’t be more excited and ready to play!”
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n Bits and pieces — Freshman softball player Whitney Davis of North Vermillion has been named an All-American Scholar by Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. All-American Scholars must have a 3.3 or better GPA and be selected by a dean, a professor, athletic director or coach.
Davis has not yet declared a major.
Davis was also named a second-team member of the All-American Independent team as a first baseman for schools not affiliated with conferences. Casey native Sandy Montgomery was named the National Independent Coach of the Year.
SIUE is now a member of the Ohio Valley Conference and will begin competing in the OVC this school year.
n Pruett also honored — Linton-Stockton graduate Rachael Pruett has been named to the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team for the second year in a row as a member of Ball State’s women’s golf team.
Pruett, an exercise science major, will be a junior this fall. She has a two-year cumulative grade-point average of 3.751.
Pruett competed in all 34 competitive rounds for the Cardinals in the fall and spring seasons, finishing with a 78.88 scoring average. She improved her scoring average from her freshman year by 2.3 strokes.
Pruett managed eight top-20 finishes, including one top-5 showing.
She was named the team’s Most Improved Player at the end-of-the-year banquet in May.
n Telezyn to Indianapolis — Recent Terre Haute South grad Amy Telezyn draws excellent praise from her new coach, Jody Butera of the University of Indianapolis.
“Amy is a very smart defender who always challenges attackers,” Butera said. “She will bring a great deal of talent on defense and make other players around her better.”
Telezyn was a four-time all-county honoree at South, led South to back-to-back sectional titles her last two years of high school, and was all-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference her junior and senior years.
She was named to the all-tournament team at the 2007 AAU Nationals as her team recorded a third-place finish.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches and coaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.