Preview video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4q3DRfGwIM
2015 record: 6-23 (1-10 Heart, 11th)
Starters returning/lost: 4/3
Letterwinners returning/lost: 13/6
Savanna Hartman Sr. Morgan Hill, Calif.
(Letterwinner, 254 kills)
Shawni Wills Sr. Oskaloosa, Iowa
(Letterwinner, 169 kills, 173 digs)
Claire Simmons So. Williamsburg, Iowa
(Letterwinner, 227 kills, 241 digs)
Ashley Miller So. Kalona, Iowa
(Letterwinner, 177 digs)
Kathleen Steffen So. Vinton, Iowa
Lilly Martinez Jr. Oakland, Calif.
Raquel Toy Fr. Elizabeth, Colo.
Nesreen Iskandrani Fr. Lawrence, Kan.
With the foundation set, a versatile William Penn volleyball team will seek to make a move up the league ladder in 2016.
Head Coach Jennifer Carlson and her Statesmen were just 6-23 last year (1-10 Heart), but the skipper believes a lot was done to set the groundwork for a bright future on the court.
WPU’s depth is its strongest in years, led by returning all-Heart of America Athletic Conference performer Savanna Hartman (Sr., Morgan Hill, Calif., Psychology). Several other letterwinners are also back to bolster a squad filled with individuals who are capable of finding success at numerous positions.
Right Side Hitter
The most versatile of everyone in the navy and gold, Hartman is among a trio who will pace the right side. She managed 254 kills a year ago and is expected to see time on the other pin as well as in the middle.
Fellow senior Shawni Wills (Oskaloosa, Iowa, Biology) is set to go out with a bang as well after posting a 169-kill, 173-dig campaign in 2015.
Karissa Wilcoxson (Jr., Ottumwa, Iowa, Education) is poised to break into the varsity lineup as well.
Claire Simmons (So., Williamsburg, Iowa, Psychology) has done great work to build on a productive freshman year that included 227 kills and 241 digs.
Newcomer Raquel Toy (Fr., Elizabeth, Colo., Undecided) has looked solid in preseason camp and should also earn swings.
Lilly Martinez (Jr., Oakland, Calif., Psychology) finally makes her Statesmen debut after redshirting last season and is ready to headline the middle attack.
Nicole Harrison (Sr., San Diego, Calif., Biology), with 46 kills, and Sawyer Woodworth (Sr., Parsons, Kan., Physical Education) are pushing for time, while freshman newcomer Nesreen Iskandrani (Lawrence, Kan., History/Government) is turning heads with her athleticism.
Haley Smith (So., Adrian, Mich., Elementary Education) has the inside track at the setter slot by recording 88 assists in 2015, while returner Katelyn Crothers (So., Mishawaka, Ind., Biology) and newcomer Kathleen Steffen (So., Vinton, Iowa, Biology) are right in the mix.
Ashley Miller (So., Kalona, Iowa, Exercise Science) has continued to improve and will be leading a deep corps of defensive players. She had 177 digs, while Haley Vampran(So., Fort Worth, Texas, Exercise Science) is also near the top with 37 digs last year.
2015 redshirt Rafaela Macias (Jr., Hanford, Calif., Physical Education) is throwing her proverbial hat in the ring as are Brittany Weikel (Sr., Remsen, Iowa, Undecided) andIsabella Potter (So., Spokane, Wash., Undecided).
William Penn will takes its first collective steps onto the court on August 19-20 with three matches at the Huntington Tournament. Three more tournaments and a handful of other single matches will cap the non-conference slate as the Statesmen ready themselves for work in the Heart.
Evangel and MidAmerica Nazarene both made deep runs at last year’s NAIA Nationals. The rest of the league, which appears to get stronger each season, will make for tough battles each time out for WPU.
Story provided by Wade Steinlage