Volleyball Looks to the 2019 Season

Photo Credit: Owls Communication
Photo Credit: Owls Communication

COLUMBUS, Miss. - The Owls women's volleyball team had highs and lows during the 2018 season. The W adds eight freshmen to the roster to help fill in the gaps and looks to improve on its previous seasons. 

Volleyball closed its 2018 with a 4-23 record with a 3-2 road victory over Judson College and a 3-1 victory at home for the season sweep. The Owls also defeated Southwestern Adventist for a 3-0 shutout and upset NCAA DIII opponent Lane College 3-0 on the road.

Adjustments were made at the start of the season with junior outside hitter Mary Grace Prine transitioning to the role of a setter. Right out of the gate, Prine made an immediate impact and was named USCAA Setter of the Week and September's Renasant Athlete of the Month. During the opening weekend tournament at Belhaven University, Prine contributed 27 assists and closed the season with 45 kills, 245 total attacks, 153 digs, and 227 assists.

Other standout Owls volleyball players were Haley McMurphey, Courtney Poole, and Cicely Goldhorn. McMurphey, Poole, and Goldhorn each received USCAA Player of the Week recognition.

Seven players were named to the USCAA Volleyball All-Academic Team. McMurphey, Mitchell, Megan Parks, Prine, Loren Schmitt, Savannah Thomas, and Tori Weir maintained GPAs greater than 3.5 to receive the academic honor.

Outlook for 2019

"I am very excited for this year as I believe it's a pivotal year for our returning juniors and seniors," stated head coach Roxanne Hernandez. "We spent our spring season evaluating what we did well and working on what we need to continue to improve upon moving forward. I believe the expectations and standards set in our gym will play a huge role in our growth, especially with the sizable amount of freshman that will be joining us. I'm certain that with a commitment to our progress, both physically and from a mental toughness side, we will see even more success this season. I believe our returners are ready to start seeing improvements from a statistical side as well, with hopes in giving ourselves the opportunity for a post-season appearance."

Incoming Class

The Owls add eight freshmen athletes to the 2019 roster. Taniya Cavett, Iyana Canada, Abby Martin, Jermia Davis, Harleigh Carter, Lindsey Walker, Brooklyn Navarre, and Lacey Evans will make their college career debut during the upcoming season as members of The W volleyball team.

"I think our offensive efforts from the pins will be complimented well with the incoming hitters that are joining us," explained Hernandez. "Harleigh and Lacey show a lot of potential from the OH position while Lindsey and Taniya have shown versatility from the left and right. I'm excited to see what offensive lineup combinations we can run with newcomers and returners.

Brooklyn has played as an OH and DS so we look forward to seeing her strengths from both sides. Where Iyana and Abby are smaller in stature they make up for in athleticism and hard work, which I believe will pair well with our middle offense.

Mia will join us as a freshman setter and I think she will develop well into that position.

While positions can always change, I am confident that our strengths and weaknesses will be enhanced/balanced well with the potential and heart of this incoming class."