Volleyball Set To Open Season in Florida

Volleyball Set To Open Season in Florida

TIFFIN, Ohio - Tiffin volleyball will open the 2019 campaign by heading south to St. Petersburg, Fla. for four games in the Eckerd Classic.

Game Information:

Tiffin Dragons (0-0) vs.
West Liberty Hilltoppers (0-0)
Friday, Sept. 6 | 12:30 p.m.

Tiffin Dragons (0-0) at
Eckerd Tritons (0-0)
Friday, Sept. 6 | 7:30 p.m.

Tiffin Dragons (0-0) vs.
Central Oklahoma Bronchos (0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 7 | 12:30 p.m.

Tiffin Dragons (0-0) vs.
Malone Pioneers (0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 7 | 5:30 p.m.

St. Petersburg, Fla. | McArthur Center
VideoLive Stats

Dragon Details:

TU is coming off one of their most successful seasons in program history, finishing the 2018 campaign 21-11 overall and 15-4 in the GMAC to earn a berth in the conference tournament with the third-best conference mark. Their overall record was the best finish for the program since 2006, and included an 11-game win streak that tied the program record set in 1991. 

Tiffin lost four seniors to graduation that will be big shoes to fill, including setter Emily Weithman (6.35 assists per set) and outside hitter Amanda Curry (3.21 kills per set). However, three-time First Team All-Conference performer Jenna Huffman is back for her final campaign, and looks to lead the Dragons after a great junior season in which she finished first in the GMAC with a .391 hitting percentage, third with 3.89 kills per set, first with 1.19 blocks per set, and first with 4.91 points per set.

Three others that played in all 108 sets last season return for their junior seasons with Loryn Huffman (4.83 assists per set, 2.98 digs per set), Kyley Keene (1.56 kills per set, 2.98 digs per set), and Grace Schreiber (.81 blocks per set). Sophomore Sam Fallis (3.34 digs per set) figures to hold down the libero spot again, with junior Sydney Gilland and sophomore Kyndall Hellyer providing additional depth at the net. 

In her third season at the helm, head coach Shauna Hurles also brings in eight newcomers to the varsity squad.

Scouting the Hilltoppers:

West Liberty enjoyed a successful 2018 season, finishing 24-10 overall and 11-5 in the Mountain East Conference. However, the Hilltoppers were unable to upset No. 13-ranked Wheeling Jesuit in the conference championship, and were denied an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

WLU loses just two of their nine athletes that played over 100 sets last season. Notable returners include outside hitter Olivia Baumhoer (2.28 kills per set, .48 blocks per set) and defensive specialist Kailee Cunningham (4.55 digs per set, 37 aces).

Scouting the Tritons:

Host Eckerd is coming off of a 2018 season in which they went 15-15 overall and 7-13 in the Sunshine State Conference. Their record may not have fully indicated their strength, however, figuring in that they were able to take three teams ranked in the top-25 to five sets.

The Tritons lost star hitter Abbie O'Ferrell (3.37 kills per set) to graduation, but return sophomore Asya Harris (3.14 kills per set) to help pick up the slack. Eckerd also saw their libero Arielle Erillo (4.77 digs per set) depart due to graduation, but hope to fill those shoes with junior Paula Hoffman (2.90 digs per set, 2.73 kills per set).

Scouting the Bronchos:

Picked fourth in the MIAA preseason poll and slotting in 22nd in the 2019 AVCA Preseason Poll, Central Oklahoma returns after a very strong season, going 27-7 in 2018 including 14-4 in conference action. UCO was ranked as high as 14th during the season, but fell to No. 10 Washburn in the conference finals and missed out on at at-large bid to NCAAs.

Three of the Bronchos' top four hitters from 2018 have graduated, so it will be up to junior Haley Deschenes (2.70 kills per set, 41 blocks) to anchor the front line. Central Oklahoma returns their top defender, though, in senior Dominique Lipari (5.45 digs per set, 24 aces). Leading setter Ericka Scholl (5.94 assists per set) also returns for the Bronchos.

Scouting the Pioneers:

Despite being a familiar GMAC foe, the match against Malone will not be counted towards conference standings, but will be a good early-season test before GMAC play gets fully underway. Malone finished 2018 third in the GMAC East Division standings at 12-7 in conference and 16-16 overall. When the Dragons and Pioneers met last season, Tiffin swept Malone 25-15, 25-15, 28-26 with Jenna Huffman recording 11 kills, a 346 attack %, and 11 digs.

Middle hitter Hannah Eliason (2.71 kills per set, 115 blocks) returns on the front line for Malone, and is joined by Faith Lau (2.26 kills per set, 3.14 digs per set). Graduated setter Cathryn Miller assisted on over 70% of Malone's kills last year, so the Pioneers will look to juniors Abbie Swaino and Elizabeth Selleny to fill that role.