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PSU Volleyball Picked Ninth in MIAA Coaches Poll - KOAM TV 7

PSU Volleyball Picked Ninth in MIAA Coaches Poll

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

The Pittsburg State Volleyball team has been picked to finish ninth in the MIAA, according to the Coaches Pre-Season Poll released today (August 13).

Central Missouri was picked to win the league this year, with nine first place votes. Washburn was picked second and also had two first-place votes. Nebraska-Kearney picked up the third spot and had one first place votes. The Gorillas ninth place pick put them finishing ahead of Southwest Baptist, Missouri Southern and Lindenwood. 

In their second season under head coach Jenny Mueller, the Gorillas will have a whole new look for the 2015 season. The team has only one four-year player in senior setter Hayley Hansford who will be relied on for leadership with a host of young players on the team. Joining her as seniors are fellow setter Taylyn Schwartz, who was involved in the program last year, but had to sit out after transferring from Central Oklahoma, and rightside hitter Lexi Fulghum, who saw limited action in 2014. 

The junior class also has three returning players. Ashlen Schwartz saw the most time on the court last season, having played in 26 or the 30 matches as either a libero or defensive specialist. Taylor Wright is another defensive specialist who has seen court time in her first two seasons. She also has a good swing in the back court and some scoring ability. Maggie Highberger is a verstile attacker with scoring ability off the attack and the block. She also has a dynamic serve. She played in 25 matches last season with 17 starts and is the top returning scorer.

The sophomore class returns two players in setter Carolina (Cal) VanBuskirk and Chandler Templin. Both saw some limited court time as freshman last season and have been working to gain more confidence in the Pitt State system. 

After losing last-season's top five point-scorers, scoring ability and blocking was a priority for the Gorilla coaching staff in their recruiting. Those needs were immediately filled by three junior college transfers. Shelbey Baker is a outside hitter from Fort Scott Community College who enrolled at Pitt State in the spring, so went through the spring practice period with the team and has showed some promise. Lana DaSilva comes from Cowley Community College where she was a junior college All-American last season. In her two seasons she helped the Tigers to a National Championship in 2013 and the third-place national finish in 2014. The Sao Vicente, Brasil native is strong at the net with both her blocking and attacking skills and the ability to score a lot of points. Erin Woolford comes from Mineral Area College where she earned all-region honors. She averaged 1.48 blocks per set and had a .360 attack percentage.

Seven freshman also joint the Gorilla squad with middle blockers Taylor Unke and Madi Denton, outside/rightside hitters, Lauren Regier and Noelle Dooley and defensive specialists Didi Mouer, Kajohna (KJ) Davis and Lauren Maisberger.

The Gorillas will hold an open scrimmage and autograph day at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 29 in John Lance Arena. The team opens the season on September 4 at the Washburn Invitational in Topeka, Kan. against Augustana. The team will place in three tournaments on the road before its home opener on Friday, September 25 against Lindenwood at 7 p.m.

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