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Volleyball roster breakdown: a young team in search of growth and results

Freshmen and sophomores lead the charge in 2019

After talking about offseason and schedule of the volleyball team starting its season in a few days, this is the moment to dive into this year’s roster.

Coach Tony Graystone will be able to count on 22 players, mainly freshmen and sophomores, as follows:

  • Senior: 4
  • Junior: 3
  • Sophomore: 9
  • Freshman: 6 (analysis of these players: part 1 - part 2)

The team will be relatively young but will include for the major part players coach Graystone recruited and wanted to be in Lubbock, so he’ll have the possibility to completely develop his game system.

And now, let’s break into every position.

SETTERS:

This is probably the position with the biggest question marks entering the season, as former standout starter Missy Owens ended her eligibility and joined the coaching staff.

The player on which coach Graystone relies the most is sophomore Alex Kirby, and she’ll probably take the starting duties at the beginning of the year. She has limited experience but the indications coming from this offseason show a player who improved a lot and is ready to take the rein on the court.

If Alex will eventually struggle, two players can replace her, sophomores Tatum Rohme (who transferred from Arizona State, where she almost didn’t play in her freshman season) and Audrey Smith.

It will be interesting to see if true freshman Lauren Dodson will have playing time in 2019. She’s a highly touted recruit who earned many honors at the high school level, but with this amount of competition, she could be redshirted.

Alex Kirby, setter

MIDDLE BLOCKERS:

High quality, low quantity: this could be the synthesis talking about our middle blockers. The squad has valuable players who showed important things in past years, but they are only three. If the unit will suffer some injuries (and this happened in 2018, as we will see in a while), this could be a hard and exhausting season.

The most experienced player is junior Allison White: she was having a fantastic sophomore year, but an injury benched her, so she missed the second-half of Big 12 play. Now she’s back and will be once again a reliable anchor in the middle of the front row.

Alongside with Jones, we’ll mainly find sophomore Karrington Jones. The latter stepped up when her teammate went down with the injury and showed interesting blocking abilities. She wasn’t consistent in the killing, but now she had an entire offseason to improve and find timings with setters.

The unit is completed by true freshman Cadi Boyer. She’s the tallest member of the team at 6’3 and will be immediately thrown into the fray by coach Graystone. Maybe the first period will be traumatic, but she has every possibility to become a great player.

Allison White, middle blocker

OUTSIDE HITTERS:

This is probably the cornerstone of the team. Depth and quality can be found here, and coach Graystone won’t miss alternative solutions during the season.

Seniors Emily Hill (All-Big 12 second teamer in 2018) and Chandler Atwood will lead the charge. Hill had a solid season as a six-rotation outside hitter and she’s expected to be solid once again, providing a good amount of points. Atwood had a rough 2018 due to a couple of injuries, but if healthy she can be a reliable and powerful hitter, with plenty of experience.

The player who’ll catalyze the general attention will be sophomore Brooke Kanas. Last year she had an enormous impact on the team and ended the season earning 2018 All-Big 12 Freshman Team honors. She also spent part of the summer with the U.S. National Team.

Behind those three starters, there are many potential contributors: among others, true freshman Caitlin Dugan rose through the depth chart with an impressive offseason, and redshirt sophomore Hannah Allison made significant improvements. Other players in this position are junior Haley Harman, sophomore Haley Killinger and true freshman Kylie Trefflich.

Chandler Atwood, outside hitter

LIBEROS / DEFENSIVE SPECIALISTS:

The back row is particularly important in the modern era, and the Red Raiders are stacked also in this unit. The starting libero will be junior Emerson Solano, one of the leaders of the team. She had important stats in 2018 and she’ll have the duty to command the row in 2019.

Alongside with her, we’ll find two experienced players in seniors Kylie Rittiman and Maggie Sagers. The first became an important player in 2018, while the latter was recovering from a knee injury she suffered in 2017 and had limited playing time.

The group will be completed by four younger players who will find some action during the season and will increase their experience for the upcoming seasons. They are sophomores Kiari Gier and Katy Northcut, and freshmen Lindsey Dodson and Audrey Tuttle. The latter, in particular, was an important recruit and already made a name for herself during the offseason.

Emerson Solano, libero