Volleyball set for season opener


File Photo

Shiah Sanders awaits the ball in a home series at Western Hall.

Brendan Reidy , Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill— IT. IS. HERE. Western Illinois Volleyball is ready to kick off this weekend for their first matchup of the season.

The Leathernecks will host a tournament at Western Hall to kick off the season. They will play Fairleigh Dickerson, Tennessee Tech, and Evansville University throughout the weekend. Western will start the tournament playing Fairleigh Dickerson Friday at 7 p.m.

The Leathernecks have some notable talent returning for the fall season. Leading the team is Shiah Sanders who is their starting right-side hitter. Last year, Sanders made big strides in making her game more complete.

In the 2017 season, she had career highs in all offensive and defensive categories.

Most notably in digs and kills with 204 and 148, respectively. Another player to keep an eye on this season will be Mackenzie Steckler who was on the list of players to look out for in the Summit League. She will be the starting middle for Western this season and is looking to surpass the impressive number of blocks she posted last season (105).

The Fairleigh Dickerson University Knights had a rough season last year, going 5-24. The Knights are led by Andrea Nolan who is in her second year as head coach, and is looking to make some tremendous improvement. Dickerson will turn to sophomore Magdalena Maksimovic who had 207 kills last season.

Evansville went 10-20 in the 2017 season, and is looking to get off to a hot start in 2018. The team will bring back electric hitter Rachel Tam who lit up the court with 306 kills. The Purple Aces will also bring back the passing machine who Allana McInnis who led the squad with 836 assists.

Tennessee Tech finished last season with a 4-24 record, and are looking to bounce back in the Leatherneck Classic.

The Golden Eagles have a very young roster, but will be looking to make big strides this season under head coach Jeanette Waldo.

Tennessee Tech will be bringing back two key defensive cogs from last year’s defense in Kirsten Brugere and Rachel Thomas. Both players will be key assets for the Golden Eagles if they want to finish the Leatherneck classic on top.

The Leathernecks want to get the 2018 season off to a hot start, but they will need to do all the little things well to make sure they can win the tournament they are hosting. They will have to play pristine defense because their opponents are all very scrappy and will be looking to get points at any opportunity they receive.

The Leathernecks will also have to buy into the senior leadership of the team spearheaded by Sanders. If Western can accomplish all these objectives, they should have no problem defeating the opposition. Buckle up Leatherneck fans, this will be a very exciting season for the Western volleyball team.

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