Prospective, and Speculative, Volleyball Lineup
Case posted a run-down of the expected Women's Soccer line-up for the fall. That seems like a pretty good idea for the beginning of the official "Summer Slump". So let's take a look at the Volleyball. There's been some roster news for Volleyball since we last talked about it here, so there may be some names in here that you don't recognize.
Let's start with the obvious and we'll work our way through the more speculative ones as we go.
Melanie is expected to be the only Senior on the team this year, barring further transfer news. She has been a mainstay of the Cardinal line-up since the opening weekend of her freshman year where she won MVP of the Bowling Green Tournament in Bowling Green, OH. If you have followed Cardinal Volleyball anytime in the past three years, you know Melanie. She's an outside hitter with a wicked cross that can dent the floor. She's also a very competent 6 rotation player giving her the chance to rack up some digs as well as swing out of the pipe from the back-row, perhaps even in the same play. Mel is a no-brainer for one of the starting outside hitter roles.
With Molly Sauer graduating, I don't think there's much doubt that Alexis Hamilton gets the Libero jersey. Red-shirting last year with an ACL tear immediately before the start of the season, that puts the only question mark on the beginning of her reign as Libero...will she be back 100% for the start of the season? Or at least enough to take the role? If you haven't seen Hamilton play, she's a dynamo on the court. She throws herself all over the court with reckless abandon and regularly reaches and betters balls that I thought were dead.
I think you'll see Claire Chaussee also swinging from the outside more than you saw last year. Claire will be a sophomore and can also bring the thunder, both swinging at the net as well as from the service line. We saw some service control issues last year, let's hope she's spent some time in the gym bringing some discipline to the power. Big power serves are always high risk/high reward, but let's hope we shift more to the reward side this year. Chaussee is more effective at the net, but even swinging away she does have some control challenges. This isn't uncommon for young players, but it is always an open question of how much they improve through their career.
Transferring in from TCU, I think we see Tori Dilfer running the team at setter. There could be a little bit of a position battle with Shannon Shields coming in from Arizona, but until I see evidence otherwise, I suspect Tori gets the nod. Tori will be playing for Team USA at the World University Games next month, so she'll be getting practice against high level opponents and should come in to Cardinal Arena ready to play at her best.
We're getting into a bit more speculative predictions here, but I still feel like I'm on pretty solid ground by saying the Mia Stander will be one of the DSes that we see on the court. With Alexis Hamilton going down last year with the ACL tear, and Kelly O'Neal battling back issues all season, Mia Stander and Akela Juhl were called on to step up and handle the DS role. Alexis returns and takes the Libero role, Kelly doesn't. I think Mia was the better of the two between her and Akela and gets the bulk of the time in the role this year.
Now we start getting into seriously speculative territory...
An incoming freshman from Assumption High School here locally. A product of the Ron Kordes/Assumption/KIVA world, I've only seen a very minimal amount of Alexa's play, but have heard good things. I think, maybe, she edges out Akela for the 2nd DS role.
Volleyball lineups usually include two middle hitters/blockers. This whole role is completely a coin-toss bracket in my estimation.
Piper Roe is headed off to Anaheim to play for one of the US Collegiate National Teams.
Emily Scott played in the other middle position some last year when now-graduated Jasmine Bennett was unavailable due to injury, and competed with Piper for time in the position when Bennett was healthy.
Anna Stevenson transfers in to UofL from Auburn and will be a Junior when she hits the Cardinal Arena court. Averaging nearly a block per set, her videos look pretty good.
Amaya Tillman is a highly lauded incoming freshman. Will she be able to adjust quickly to the speed of collegiate level quick sets? If so, she could definitely compete for time in this role.
If forced at gunpoint to predict how the middle roles will play out. I'll say that Anna Stevenson gets regular time, Emily and Piper split the other position, with Amaya making occasional appearances.
What About the Right Side?
Oh who knows. Opposite hitting is similarly up in the air. You rarely see more than one dedicated right side hitter in a lineup, but you could see Aiko Jones in that role, or perhaps incoming freshman Nena Mbonu. Otherwise, you can add another general outside hitter and spread the right side duties among them with all of the same names in the mix.
There are still a couple of names we haven't mentioned on the current roster. Amber Stivrins is a freshman, but enrolled in January, and Jamie Vasilou. Amber will probably see the court some, but don't expect her to be a major contributor this year. Her time will come. Jamie Vasilou was a manager last year, but has earned a spot as a walk-on setter this year. I wouldn't expect her to get many sets being a likely third in the setter lineup behind Dilfer and incoming freshman Shannon Shields.
So there are lots of new faces with some positions that are only questionable because of the prospective of some of that amazing new talent arriving. Regardless I expect the action in Cardinal Arena...sorry, L&N Federal Credit Union Arena...to be fun and exciting, and I think we'll see another year of good UofL Volleyball play among the top teams of the ACC.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Three of us made it to Mellwood to grace the airways, despite my bungling on the controls. Case, Jared, and I held down the fort my Paulie was away.
Case brought a quiz, and Jared and I came out with a better score than anyone expected. Baseball, WNBA, and more were on the topic list.
Check it out: