The volleyball team welcomed back former players for its annual alumni match Saturday, and in the spirit of the match it was difficult not to notice there are just two seniors on this season’s roster.
The two most-seasoned veterans on this year’s team are setter Nirelle Hampton and middle blocker Devon Kirk.
Hampton said she has higher expectations for herself as one part of a senior duo.
“There is a little added pressure being a senior,” Hampton said. “But I can go all out because it is my last season.”
These two seniors will have to replace three seniors that finished out their careers in purple and white last year – LeMeita Smith, Calli Corley and Loren Berry. Berry and Corley played in this year’s alumni match.
“LeMeita was our only all-conference player in the Mountain West, and Calli was a phenomenal defensive player,” head coach Prentice Lewis said. “But I think Katelyn Blackwood and our freshman Sarah Joeckel can come in and fill those shoes well with communication and by stepping in.”
Lewis said these two athletes are still a work in progress, but they are doing their best to make the team better.
“Both players have a way to go, but they are definitely filling that void,” Lewis said.
Hampton said she knows she needs to step up to fill a void in the experience department.
“I am trying to help all of the freshmen get acquainted with the way we run games here and with college volleyball in general,” said Hampton, who led the team with 1,383 sets last season.
“There isn’t just one match that is going to be a pivotal turning point,” Lewis said. “Every match and every set is going to be extremely important to this team.”
The coach said the team is gelling well and can’t wait to see what happens.
“With seven freshmen and seven returners, we have a lot of maturity and a lot of young athletes,” Lewis said. “They mix together really well. We are going to have to see how the chips fall.”
The team will begin its regular season Friday at home against Louisiana Tech.
FOR YOUR INFO/B.
Volleyball Matches this weekend
The volleyball team will play host for the TCU Molten/Nike Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
Friday: TCU vs. Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m.
Saturday: TCU vs. University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1 p.m.
Saturday: TCU vs. Belmont, 7 p.m.
All games will be in the Special Events Gym of the Rec Center