LL Cool J famously said, "Don't call it a comeback", and I think I'm going to paraphrase that to be my theme for the column today.
Don't Call It a Rebuilding
First, of course, we can't forget the third graduate from the wide-net squad, Roxanne McVey. I think pretty much everyone is confident that our defensive stance in Volleyball is in good hands with Molly Sauer, Gabbie Wiley, and Eleni Georgiafandis. Roxanne was, her senior year, a solid passer, and an asset to the team, but I think we're in good hands in the back row.
Katie George, a powerhouse of a competitor in whatever she does...witness her tour-de-force of Louisville media since her graduation...and could reasonably have been considered among the top tier of setters in the college game. I'm not worried about our setting position, though. We've got Kali Eaken, possibly supplemented by the rock steady hand of Lindsay Palmer to run the setting position. We even have Morgan Miller, who can slide into the setting position and hold her own as well, though I suspect she'll be too busy swinging on the outside and from the back row.
The biggest challenge for the Cardinals will be in generating offense. In addition to the graduation of Erin Fairs, Maya McClendon and Aniah Philo have transferred to other schools. This seriously decimates the offensive firepower available to the Cards, but help is on the way. The three incoming freshmen are all hitters (a left side, a right side, and a middle), Jasmine Bennett has been doing some pretty good things in the middle, from what I've been hearing, meaning that Maggie DeJong is likely going to move to an outside hitting position (and maybe even see her playing some defense in the back row!). Coline Coessens, as mentioned, is an outside hitter, bolstering the crew and the aforementioned Morgan Miller shares a lot in common with Janelle Jenkins...mostly that you can put her anywhere on the court and she'll do well. That's a pretty solid hitting capability with that mix.
So, no, I don't think it will really be a rebuilding year. The line-up with take on a fairly different look from last year, and I think, even moreso than in the past, you'll see players in multiple different positions and playing multiple roles.
Truthfully, the sport that I think is most likely to have a rebuilding year is Lacrosse, but we can talk about that as we approach that season...maybe sometime over the winter.