The 2016 women’s volleyball team is looking to stay healthy after an injury-plagued 2015 season. The team lost outside hitter Nika Mostahinic for the 2015 season and libber0 Maggie DiPronio for a majority of the schedule as well.
Head Coach Sheera Sirola believes the team’s depth benefited, despite the injuries it faced.
“The two main injuries we had last year were freak accidents. You never know, so far everybody looks to be in good shape,” said Sirola. “The girls that jumped in last year to fill their shoes now have the nervousness out of their system so they know what we expect
when we put them in.”
DiPronio’s 2015 season was disappointing after the Texas native’s strong freshman start in 2014. She posted a team-leading 308 digs and 60 assists as a freshman in 2014. She played in 109 sets averaging almost three digs per set and was top-20 in the Summit League in digs. The team finished with a 14-16 overall record and finished sixth during the Summit League regular season.
Due to her injuries, DiPronio was only able to play in 69 sets during 2015, but she hopes those injuries are behind her and she can focus on this year.
“I think [those injuries] have made me come back stronger this year. Having that feeling of only being able to watch and not play. It’s a privilege to be out on that court,” said DiPronio. “I think I learned every minute you get to be on the court is an opportunity.”
Depth looks to be a strength for Sirola’s squad this season. Ten of the 15 members of the team are underclassmen: five sophomores who played significant time last season and five freshmen looking to make an impact.
“We are going to be younger this year, but I feel like we have a good core of juniors and seniors who are going to be the driving force and the [underclassmen] will follow them and help them fit into their parts,” said Sirola. “It’s like having a puzzle. Those freshmen are going to have to find out where they fit in our puzzle.”
The volleyball team opens the season with four tournaments beginning next Friday, Aug. 26 when the Golden Eagles take on in-state rival Oklahoma as part of the Nike Invitational in Norman, Oklahoma. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m