The Northern Kentucky volleyball team will begin the season Friday when they face Indiana University in the Indiana Invitational. The Norse will then play Marshall University and the University of Evansville in a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Norse are coming off a 14-16 season and made it to the semifinals in the Horizon League tournament. The team comes into the 2016 season as the fourth-ranked team in the Horizon League preseason poll.
The Norse will be lead by senior Taylor Snyder, who made over 1,000 assists last season, and sophomore Haley Libs, who won Freshman of the Year honors in the Horizon League and led the team in kills last season. They also return four other starters, including Keely Creamer who was second on the team in kills in 2015.
The Hoosiers return four starters from their 2015 season, where they went 16-16 on the season. The Hoosier offense averaged 13.05 kills per set last season, while holding opponents to just 11.87. Allison Hammond topped the team in kills last season with 2.76 kills per set and recorded 27 aces when serving.
This will be the first time these two teams have met since 1981, when the Norse beat the Hoosiers in three sets.
Evansville went just 8-24 last season, only recording two wins in Missouri Valley Conference. The Norse beat the Purple Aces in three sets in their matchup last season and lead the all-time series 7-2.
Evansville has five member of their team listed at 6-foot-2 or taller, which could give the Norse some issues on Saturday. The Aces do not have a senior on the roster and only three juniors, making them an inexperienced team.
Marshall finished the 2015 season with a 16-14 record and went 7-9 in Conference USA action. The team returns every starter but one to the 2016 roster, including Ally Kiekover and Cassie Weaver, who recorded 329 and 387 kills respectively in 2015. Allie Kellerman also dug 555 balls last season for Marshall.
The Norse haven’t played Marshall since the 1980s, but have a 4-0 record all time against them.
Stayed tuned to the Northerner for more coverage and results all throughout the season. For a look at the entire season outlook and analysis, check out the Fall Sport Preview.