2014 record: 2-30 (0-6 MCC, 7th)
Starters returning/lost: 3/3
Letterwinners returning/lost: 6/5
Danielle Breeher Sr. St. Louis, Mo.
(Honorable-mention all-MCC, 410 digs)
Shawni Wills Jr. Oskaloosa, Iowa
(Letterwinner, 162 kills)
Leyra Jusino Sr. Bayamon, P.R.
(Letterwinner, 766 assists)
Savanna Hartman Jr. Morgan Hill, Calif.
Ashley Miller Fr. Kalona, Iowa
Katelyn Crothers Fr. Mishawaka, Ind.
Claire Simmons Fr. Williamsburg, Iowa
Tremendous recruiting will hopefully put the Statesmen volleyball team back on the map as the 2015 season starts this weekend.
The WPU coaching staff, headed by Jennifer Carlson, worked tirelessly in the offseason to bring in a slew of new talent as the navy and gold look to improve upon its 2014 campaign (2-30 overall, 0-7 MCC). The Statesmen will need to get better in all facets as their new league–the Heart of America Athletic Conference–is considered one of the top in the NAIA.
Several starters return to the court to bolster the squad in the early weeks as the newcomers find their way. Seniors
Leyra Jusino (Bayamon, P.R., General Biology) and Danielle Breeher (St. Louis, Mo., Biology) join Shawni Wills (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Biology) to provide that leadership. Breeher is coming off an all-league campaign last fall.
Right Side Hitter
Wills posted 162 kills last year, but her role likely will be heightened in 2015, leading to bigger stat lines. Natalie Sieck (Sr., Ankeny, Iowa, Sociology) is also back and will battle with Kiera Macpherson (Fr., West Chicago, Ill., General Mathematics) for playing time behind Wills.
It appears a new arm will be swinging on the other pole as Savanna Hartman (Jr., Morgan Hill, Calif., Psychology), Claire Simmons (Fr., Williamsburg, Iowa, Psychology), and Hannah Dustin (So., Albia, Iowa, Exercise Science) compete to take the starting nod. Several others have shown promise in early practices as well.
Erika Getz (Sr., Parsons, Kan., Physical Education) has the inside track on the inside position due to her year in the system, but will be pushed by Justine Arguelles (Fr., Ventura, Calif., Biology), Nicole Harrison (Jr., San Diego, Calif., Biology), and Lilly Martinez (Jr., Oakland, Calif., Psychology).
Getz tallied 106 winners with 38 blocks (team best) in 2014.
Arguably the most important position on the floor is also the deepest for WPU with Jusino headlining the field after managing 766 assists a year ago. Emily McHugh (Sr., Plainfield, Ill., Pre-Law & Psychology) has also manned the position over her first three collegiate seasons to provide the navy and gold with additional quality experience.
Karissa Wilcoxson (So., Ottumwa, Iowa, Education), Haley Smith (Fr., Adrian, Mich., Elementary Education), and Katelyn Crothers (Fr., Mishawaka, Ind., Biology) seek to improve in their initial William Penn seasons.
Breeher’s steadiness on the back line will likely earn her the defensive spot, but Ashley Miller (Fr., Kalona, Iowa) has also turned heads in the preseason. Breeher had 410 digs as a junior.
WPU’s 2015 slate will begin Saturday with a triangular at Mount Mercy, while other big non-conference tournaments include going to Northwestern and St. Mary (Neb.) before venturing into Heart play.
Evangel and fellow new Heart member Grand View are coming off national tournament trips in 2014. EU edged GVU in the preseason standings, while the Statesmen will have their work cut out for them in the final standings slot.
Story provided by Wade Steinlage