Penn State player Kaitlyn Hord will have a unique opportunity to improve on her skillset as she was selected to train with the USA Volleyball Women’s Collegiate National Team this summer.
Hord’s stellar 2021 season was a big reason why Penn State was able to make it to the NCAA Regional Semi-Final: She had a .421 hit percentage with 147 kills on the year.
Finishing up her junior year and heading into her fourth and final season, Hord will look to advance her skills even more while training at the USAV's Anaheim training center with some of the best coaches in the country.
Hord was one of 28 players chosen to train in Anaheim. Of the group, only seven hail from Big Ten schools.
This past season, Hord excelled as Penn State’s middle blocker, tallying multiple games with high play and pushing Penn State to its 9-5 record in the regular season.
The veteran presence Hord was able to bring to the table certainly made it easier for Russ Rose and the team to handle the obscure and cancellation-riddled season.
With a starting roster made up of some new faces and a handful of incoming freshmen, Hord’s ability to lead her team and maintain consistent play allowed for the Nittany Lions to have a solid season.
Injuries and cancellations caused multiple roster changes and moves, which to the outside public, would make it seem as if the season would have gone astray.
This was not the case.
Strong coaching by Rose as well as veteran leadership by players such as Hord and Jonni Parker allowed for the team to secure a first round bye into the NCAA Tournament.
Hord has improved each year since arriving at Penn State, starting with categories such as kills, hit percentage and assists.
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Going into the training camp, which lasts for one week in June, Hord will look to improve on some of the areas that could still be considered holes in her skillset.
She decreased her errors from freshman to sophomore year, lessening from 45 to 44. Continuing this trend will be a key goal of hers throughout training.
However, an unusual stat for Hord shows her 2021 season high for digs came at only two.
Joining the Collegiate National Team this summer and training with highly-established coaches will likely help Hord with her positioning and ability to be in the right spots, resulting in an increase in her digs per game moving forward.
Otherwise, Hord’s game has few flaws, but having the opportunity to learn at the national level certainly can’t hurt her performance.
Garnering experience with national-level talent will likely push Hord to the next level and prime her to lead the Nittany Lions on another successful run.
Another significant step from the veteran middle blocker could fuel Penn State to a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament after being bounced in the semi-finals in 2021.
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