NEWBERRY — Coach Todd Hay and the Newberry College Wolves’ volleyball team will kick off the season on Labor Day weekend.
The Wolves will travel to tournaments at King and Francis Marion before hosting 11 South Atlantic Conference matches and traveling to 11 SAC matches.
Hay is entering his fifth season as Newberry’s head coach. He welcomes a new assistant into the fold, Callie Youngman, after Newberry received a Division II Coaching Enhancement Grant this past May.
Newberry returns 15 letterwinners and welcomes six newcomers into the fold. Highlighting the returning players is senior Logan Hayward who was named Honorable Mention all-SAC for the 2015-16 season.
She led the team with 286 kills, averaging 2.80 per set. Hayward was second on the team with 352 digs and posted 14 double-doubles last season. She also recorded double-digit kills in 17 matches and double-digit digs in 19 matches.
“Logan Hayward and Madison Darby-McClure are two seniors that will look to produce in their final year. We need for them to step up and perform at a higher level and lead by example,” said Hay.
The Wolves will be much more experienced all around the court, which should be a strength for Newberry.
“I feel that the biggest improvement will simply be experience,” said Hay. “Having started five to six freshmen per match last season, there was definitely a learning curve that had to run its course. We have those players back and have added some solid depth in our freshmen class. Competition for playing time at several positions should be a good benefit for our team.”
Other returning players to watch include Maggie Marsh, Kensley Jordan and Mary Siebert. Marsh led the team with 682 assists, averaging 6.89 per set after playing all 27 matches as a freshman.
Jordan led the squad in digs with 481, averaging 4.72 per set. She also led in service aces with 30 and recorded 75 assists. Siebert also played in all 27 matches as she recorded 196 kills, averaging 1.92 per set, good for second on the team.
Hay is also very fond of the incoming freshman class.
“All of our freshmen have come in and played hard. They are adjusting to our style of play, different defenses, and different set tempos. Keep an eye on Andie Meredith on the right and Toni-Anne Whitlow on the left. They should provide added power and size to our frontline. Sidney Diaz in the back row has also come in ready to play and done some really nice things during the first week,” said Hay.
Nine of the first 12 matches are away from Eleazer Arena. This will present a challenge for the Wolves, but they will wrap up the regular season with the last two matches at home.
The top eight teams will make the SAC Championship, to which Newberry hopes to return after barely missing the postseason last season.
The Wolves open up competition at the King University Tournament Sept. 2-3 where they will face UVa-Wise, Shorter, the host Tornado and Erskine. The home opener is Sept. 13 against in-state rival Anderson.
This release was provided by Newberry College.