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Volleyball: Red Wolves roll to weekend sweep
August 25, 2013IU EAST BROADCAST SPORTS
RICHMOND, Ind. - With the incoming freshmen class consisting of 10 new faces for the IU East Red Wolves volleyball team, players have had little time to become accustomed to first-year head coach Adam Stevenson's style of play. No better way to build confidence in your locker room than to win six of seven sets over the weekend, and that's just what Stevenson's team did on Aug. 24 with wins against Midway College and Indiana University Northwest.
Final scores: IU East defeated Midway 25-13, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19. The Red Wolves later beat IU Northwest 25-21, 25-13, 25-9.
The level of encouragement and enthusiasm is clear from the back row, which just so happens to be where much of the experience among the young Wolves is located. Stevenson praised his upperclassmen after the two weekend games about their leadership among the many newcomers.
"Meagan (Stoker) and Cinder (Weber) are definitely key back there." Stevenson claimed of the senior and junior. The leadership was definitely present as they extended a 5-0 run through a timeout against IU Northwest, and sparked fire in the offense after a couple struggling starts.
"I'm a defensive-minded coach." Stevenson stated shortly after the Red Wolves' 3-0 Saturday afternoon sweep of IU Northwest. "We had many different lineups and chances to see where girls best fit."
IU East was short sophomore outside hitter Mallory Livingston (Union City, Ohio/Mississinawa Valley High School) for the weekend due to injury, which in turn allowed more playing time for the rest of the squad. Stevenson added that he's comfortable with how the lineup is looking going into the heart of the schedule, and is hoping for a quick recovery for Livingston, along with good health among the rest of the Wolves.
Stevenson's team saw season and career highs in kills in the morning match for freshman hitters Katrina Detwiler (15) and Morgan Dobbs (16), who helped fight off a lingering Midway squad who eventually stole the third set.
With the confidence the coach holds in his upperclassmen to bring along his surging freshman class, he has a good reason to be comfortable. Stevenson noted the only issue he sees now with his young squad is the "Freshmen Mistakes" that affect all first-year players.
Stevenson did quickly reflect back to the first set against IU Northwest where the team accounted for eight errors, but was quick to reassure his confidence in his girls.
"I'm happy with where we are headed." Stevenson said finally. "We have time."
The Red Wolves hit over .300 in two of the seven sets this weekend to add to their top 10 nationally ranked hitting percentage (eighth). IU East also ranks in the top 10 in blocks per game (first) digs per game (sixth) Assists per game (seventh) and lastly kills per game (sixth). Red Wolves helping along the team averages with their respective top-five national rankings are senior libero Meagan Stoker (Celina, Ohio/Celina High School) and freshman middle hitter Morgan Steinbrunner (Rockford, Ohio/Parkway High School), who are fourth in digs per game and third in blocks per game, respectively.
Steinbrunner had the kill on IU East's Parallax Systems Match Point against Midway. Freshman defensive specialist Hannah Ball (Richmond, Ind./Richmond High School) led the Red Wolves with six Wetzel Family Auto Cruise Aces, including five against IU Northwest.
IU East, which is No. 31 in the NAIA national poll, improves to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the dual win weekend. IU East will play host to in state rival Purdue North Central on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. The Red Wolves' next conference game comes Sept. 6, as IU East travels to 22nd-ranked Point Park.