Volleyball believes record doesn’t reflect their gameplay

Becca Langys, Photo Editor

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DAYTON, Ohio — The Western Illinois women’s volleyball team is headed to the Wright State Invitational in Dayton for their third tournament appearance of the season. The Leathernecks are scheduled to play in three games this weekend, with opponents including the University of Toledo, Wright State and Indiana State.

The Purple and Gold are entering this weekend with a 3-4 record. The Leathernecks are coming off a loss against Drake University, but their record does not reflect their gameplay. The team has displayed huge amounts of drive and talent this season thus far, and they will continue pushing towards getting more wins during the upcoming weekend. The new additions to the Leatherneck roster have been largely impactful on the quality of play that Western has been displaying.

Freshman Libero Gabby DePersio has stood out for her impressive defensive skills. Although she is the shortest on the team, sizing up to only 5-foot-3-inches, she is arguably one of the most talented players on the Leatherneck roster. DePersio has 94 total digs this season so far.

Freshman middle-hitter Elle Shult is another standout freshman on Western’s roster. Shult has raked up 30 kills and 13 blocks for the Leathernecks. This Leatherneck is 6-foot-3-inches, making her the tallest player in the lineup. Shult adds not only height, but also skill to the team.

Another Leatherneck freshman that has been largely impactful is setter Jessie Connell. Connell is currently the assist-leader for the Leathernecks, raking up a total of 149 assists this season so far. Connell also leads the team with 13 service aces, and she contributes defensively with 42 total digs.

Outside-Hitter Aubrey Putman is the fourth and final freshman that has been added to the Leatherneck roster for the 2019 season. Putman has raked up 37 kills for the Western so far this season. Defensively, Putman has contributed with her 49 total digs earned.

Looking at the upcoming weekend, the Leathernecks look to line up pretty closely to their three opponents that they are scheduled to face off with. Toledo University will enter the tournament with a 4-2 overall record, Wright State with a 5-1 record and Indiana State with an 0-6 record. Western should be evenly matched this weekend, which will be a good opportunity for them to prove themselves on the court. Several times this season, the Leathernecks have fallen short of their potential, coming out with a few losses, and they look to improve upon that.

This is arguably one of the stronger rosters that the Western Illinois women’s volleyball team has had in the last few years, although their record so far does not reflect that. The Leathernecks are still being led by a few upperclassmen including junior outside-hitter Emma Norris, senior outside-hitter JoJo Kruize and senior outside-hitter Mackenzie Steckler. These Leathernecks have displayed strong leadership on the court for the younger players, setting an impeccable example for them. They are an integral part of the program.

The Leathernecks are scheduled to play at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13 and at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 14.

Twitter: @beccalangysxo

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