As schools come back in session, college sports are back in season. And, while the fervor that the U.S. has for college sports is undeniable, it may be skewed towards a few certain sports. While Miami University boasts the array of division-one varsity sports, some of its sports may be overlooked, and such is the case of volleyball.
Officially starting their season at the Bradley Invitational in Peoria, Illinois on Aug. 26, what can supporters look forward to in this year’s edition of the fast-paced single-touch sport?
Background on the program
Since its inception in 1974, Miami vVolleyball has only ever had four coaches. Elaine Heiber took charge in the first two seasons before Diana Ford took over for the next three years. In 1979, Peggy Bradley became the head coach and was succeeded in 1984 by Carolyn Condit, who has remained the head coach till today.
With almost 40 years at the helm, Condit has led Miami to nine Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship wins, including four-year reigns between 1995 and 1998 as well as between 2016 and 2019.
Having finished third and fifth respectively in the last two years, the RedHawks are hoping for a breakout season in 2022.
An acclimated 2021 freshman class
In 2021, Miami volleyball welcomed seven first-years to the team: Outside hitter Brooke Jackson, middle hitters Brooke Cirigliano and Sylvia Koenig, setters Lydia Harper and Gracie Norris, libero Margo Lawson and defensive specialist Caroline Cermack.
On top of the substantial intake, junior Karolina Kugiel had to medically retire, and junior Lindsay Taylor transferred out. Over the spring Gaby Harper and Sophie Riemersma, two of the three players to surpass the 100-set mark in 2021, graduated.
Fortunately, now that the RedHawks have undergone a full off-season, including a spring trip that pitched them against Purdue University, the team has gotten time to gel.
Refreshed off-the-court lineup
It has been a while since Miami volleyball underwent a change in staff members.
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During the spring semester of 2022, assistant coach Mike Owen, who has been with the team since 2019, left and Greg Manos came in to take his place. A former member of the Indiana University Men’s Volleyball team, Manos supplemented the program with an analytical mindset for tactics and scouting while working alongside Condit and fellow assistant coach Tania Schatow, who has occupied the position since 2018.
Another change in non-playing personnel was the departure of Jaclyn Schweiger from the director of Volleyball Operations. In came Jacob Calai, a recent sport management graduate at Eastern Michigan University. Having been an intern with Miami Volleyball since the fall of 2021, Calai’s familiarity with the program bolstered his reputation for being named the departmental Student of the Year, an award bestowed upon a unanimous decision.
The 2022 squad will witness the leadership zenith of duo seniors: Jacquelyn Krumnauer and Allyson Severance.
In the 2021 season, libero Krumnauer recorded double figures in digs against the University of Cincinnati and also posted a career-high of three service aces in the same matchup.
On another hand, Severance, while designated as an outside hitter, proved in 2021 that she was a jack-of-all-trades by excelling defensively and offensively, surpassing her own career highs with 17 digs against Bowling Green and tying her high of 14 kills also against Cincinnati.
Miami Volleyball welcomed five new recruits for this year. Hailing from Milford High School, defensive specialist Emily Morgan was an AVCA honorable mention and currently holds her high school’s record for games played (339), digs (1,400) and service aces (207). Another incoming Ohio native is middle hitter Amyah Cooper who earned All-Three Rivers Athletic Conference second team honors as a senior at Whitmer High School.
Among the three out-of-state freshmen, middle hitter Gentry Warrick, a four-time all-conference selection during her time at Linton Stockton High School, comes from the neighboring state of Indiana.
Next, setter Hayden Hicks arrives from Frisco, Texas with an offensive player of the year and a most valuable player (MVP) of the year awards under her belt, both of which were earned within her first two years at Independence High School.
Finally, outside hitter Ellie Hanson made a move from Tesoro High School in California. In her senior year, Hanson was tabbed the Sea View League MVP, setting the school record for kills in a match (33) and in a season (713).
Having had an already large portion of players being first-years, the five-player recruiting class of 2022 created an intriguing dynamic as Miami intends to challenge for major honors.
With so many unknown factors in play, why not come out and judge their performances for yourself? And, if you prefer a scientific approach that requires a minimum of three trials, don't miss the Miami/Best Western Invitational, held at Millett Hall, where the RedHawks will play Marshall University, Bellarmine University and Middle Tennessee State University on Friday, Sept. 2 and Saturday, Sept. 3.