As spring sports have wrapped up, I've started to field some questions about what the Volleyball team is going to look like this fall. We talked a bit about the schedule that was posted a few weeks ago (far earlier than usual, for Volleyball...some credit goes to the ACC for being on the ball for that, I suspect), but the roster has now been updated, and there are some changes, not all completely expected, but none too terribly shocking either, I don't believe.
First off, last year we had an effective roster of 13 people. The website lists 15, but we had one mid-season departure from the team and Javoni Faucette sat out the whole season because of injuries. This year, we're looking at a roster of at least 16, and to my knowledge, everyone is completely healthy. I also hear of another likely transfer that isn't yet official and thus isn't listed, and likely won't be added, presumably, until after she arrives on campus for the summer.
We graduated two; Tara Gowan, an outside hitter; and Courtney Robison, a defensive specialist. Javoni Faucette has apparently not been able to fully recover from her injuries and is not returning, and Brooke Betts has decided to pursue the sport elsewhere. That leaves a returning core of ten players. Outside hitters Laura Blab, Maya McClendon, and Janelle Jenkins will be returning (Jenkins has occasionally played at middle when needed). Our phenomenal duo of middle blockers, Tess Clark and Maggie DeJong will also be returning. At setter, we have the services of both Katie George and Lindsay Palmer again, though should Katie win Miss USA in July, its unlikely she will return to play volleyball, in my estimation. On defense, the trio of Roxanne McVey, Gabbie Wiley, and Eleni Georgiafandis will still be providing a solid core, Lindsay Palmer can be counted on to fill in on defense as well, when Katie is setting.
There were two transfers that joined the team in January that we've spoken about some before. Both outside hitters - Ashley Pettibone transferred from Golden West College and will be a sophomore, and Erin Fairs comes to us from USF and will be a senior. I don't expect to see Ashley on the court a tremendous amount this year, but count on Erin to be a major component of what looks to be a fairly potent, if not terribly tall, offense. Erin also will likely play full rotation, so expect to see her digging and passing as well as providing an offensive outlet as a back-row attacker.
There are four incoming freshmen. First is Molly Sauer, a hometown favorite, coming to UofL from Assumption and KIVA, Molly is listed as a Libero and will bolster the defensive core that we have returning. The roster has Molly, Roxanne, and Eleni all listed as Libero, with Gabbie as a DS, but I would expect Molly to be the one that ends up wearing the different colored jersey.
Next among the freshmen are a pair from Texas. Aniah Philo is from Rockwall, TX, in the Dallas area. Morgan Miller comes to us from Magnolia, TX (and is remarkably difficult to google due to at least two other notable Morgan Miller's, including one who is a volleyball player, and another who has had some success in the beauty pageant world from Magnolia, AR). Magnolia is outside of Houston, and incidentally, this is the same hometown as Roxanne McVey, though they did attend different high schools. Aniah is an Outside Hitter, and Morgan is listed as both a setter and a right side hitter. While I haven't seen either play, as the only player listed as a right side hitter, I would think it likely that Morgan would get some playing time in that position.
Lastly, Jasmine Bennett comes to us from McCracken County High School in the Paducah area. Jasmine is the daughter of Winston Bennett and will be wearing jersey number 25 like her father did during his basketball career. I have not had the opportunity to see Jasmine play, but I would be surprised, as a middle blocker, if she can crack into significant playing time over Tess or Maggie this year.
As always, while its not really in our core mission, I would be remiss in not noting the results of the NCAA Baseball Selection show. We knew already that Louisville had been selected as a host site for the Baseball Regionals, but the selection show revealed that we will be the overall 3 seed in the tournament, which means that we will also host a SuperRegional...presuming, of course, that we emerge victorious from Regional play.
In the Regional, we will be hosting Morehead State, who will be our first opponent, along with Bradley who is the Regional 2 seed, and Michigan. The format for the NCAA Baseball tournament is the same as Softball, with double-elimination Regionals, a best of 3 Super Regional, and the College World Series with essentially parallel double elimination and a best of three championship series.
Action gets started Friday at 2pm, with the Cards taking the field at a scheduled 6pm. NCAA action is ticketed, unlike most UofL Baseball games. Tickets can be bought starting Thursday through the UofL ticket office.