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Cardinals Relying on Mix of Veterans and Newcomers to Keep the Team a Winner in 2015

Cardinals Relying on Mix of Veterans and Newcomers to Keep the Team a Winner in 2015

Returning the bulk of its kills from a 13-10 campaign in 2014, Wesleyan volleyball is in good shape in the attack area with five strong veteran hitters, but the Cardinals must find a replacement for four-year starting setter Claire Larson '15 to set up the attack.  Wesleyan also returns two-year starting libero Rachel Savage '17, who led the squad in digs with 4.3 per set a year ago, as well as top blocked Naja Lewis '17, who averaged nearly a block a set in 2014. Wesleyan will be under new leadership in 2015 as Ben Somera, who posted a 75-21 record in three seasons at New England Division III powerhouse Roger Williams from 2012-14, takes over control of the team after the retirement of 30-year head coach Gale Lackey.

Back to pace the offense after averaging 3.21 kills per set a year ago is Sarah Swenson '18.  Next in kills were Caroline Diemer '18 (1.50) and Sarah Small '18 (1.30 KPS, team-best .306 hitting percentage) with Abby Southam '16 also back (1.25 KPS). Lewis was also a force on attack with 1.05 KPS and a .206 efficiency.

Savage will be a key player in the Cardinals' fortunes, having led the team in digs each of the last two seasons while serving as the primary serve receiver.  She also has ability as a setter.  Wesleyan returns 94 percent of its solo blocks and 83 percent of its assisted blocks from last season behind the work of Lewis, Small, Swenson and Southam.

Joining Swenson, Lewis, Southam, Diemer, Small and Savage as returnees are Heidi Westerman '17 and Arianna D'Andrea '18.  Southam is the lone senior on the 2015 squad.  Adding to the team's depth will be six newcomers who are expected to contribute in all facets of play.

Wesleyan begins action on the road Thurs., Sept. 10, visiting St. Joseph (CT) before opening the home slate Fri., Sept. 11 against Worcester St.  NESCAC play gets underway Fri., Sept. 18 with the first of two matches in Maine, facing Bates, followed by Colby on Sat., Sept. 19.