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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Volleyball sophomores step up in second season

Volleyball

The sophomore volleyball players said they have high expectations for themselves this year.

Six games into the season, they are matching those goals.

The 2009 recruiting class for IU coach Sherry Dunbar, one of the program’s best ever, is now fulfilling prominent roles on the court.

The team is 6-0 on the year, with key wins against Georgia Tech and Illinois State.

A major part of the team’s early successes have come from the sophomore class. When the group arrived last year, they were ranked as the No. 22  class according to prepvolleyball.com.

This year, the group has only gotten better, sophomore middle blocker, Samantha Thrower said.

“Last year compared to this year, the sophomore class is fulfilling their roles more and have more of a presence on the court,” Thrower said.

Sophomore outside hitter Ivie Obeime agreed.

“I think we are more mature, and it shows on and off the court,” Obeime said. “We are stronger, older and just know what to do on the court.”

The class is led by outside hitters Jordan Haverly and Kelci Marschall.

Haverly and Marschall are second and third on the team’s kills list with 69 and 42 kills, respectively.

“I think Kelci Marschall has made some really big strides with her workout in the weight room,” Dunbar said, and she added that Marschall’s strength shows on the court.

Dunbar said she has been impressed with the many of the sophomores this year.
“Ivie has made some huge gains,” Dunbar said. “She is so much more comfortable than last year, and she’s gotten more playing time, which is positive for us.”

Dunbar said that a major attribute that comes with the sophomores is how physically fit they have become from workouts in the off-season.

“Strength, a year in the weight room and a year of conditioning,” Dunbar said about the reason for improvement. “I think they are fit and much more comfortable with the system we run.”

Being in better shape will help the Hoosiers stay competitive in long fifth-set matches, an area they struggled with in the 2009 season.  

“We do the long rallies, and we are getting fatigued, but we are not making errors because we are getting tired,” Thrower said.

Obeime said working with strength and conditioning coach Josh Eidson has been helpful in preparing for a long season.

“I think it keeps us mentally and physically focused for all eight months,” Obeime said.

Within the sophomore class, two players have missed time due to injuries and illnesses, including Thrower and setter Whitney Granado.

Although Thrower hasn’t played a game this year due to illness, in 2009 she was a key reserve, giving senior middle blocker Ashley Benson rests during a match.

Thrower will be back in the lineup for this weekend’s tournament in New York, but Granado will remain on the sidelines due to concussion-like symptoms.

These two may be vital once Big Ten play begins in less than two weeks.

“There is a such a big class, and they have a lot of game and Big Ten experience,” Dunbar said, “They know what to expect now and know how challenging it is.”

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