Asdell embraces new role as volleyball team captain


The IU volleyball team huddles during a 2015 game against Bowling Green at the University Gym in Bloomington. The team is 4-1 in 2018 under new coach Steve Aird. IDS file photo Buy Photos

At 5 years old, junior right side hitter Elizabeth Asdell started playing softball with no thought of stepping onto a volleyball court. 

As she got older, her height grew with her. Asdell began playing volleyball in fifth grade, but it was still a secondary sport to softball. 

IU can credit Asdell’s love of travel as a reason why volleyball started to become her main sport.

Some travel coaches in her hometown, Mishawaka, Indiana, were good friends with her family and simply asked Asdell, “why aren’t you playing volleyball more?”

Asdell then started playing club volleyball because she loves to travel and fell in love with the sport. When it was time to decide which sport to play in high school, the decision was simple: volleyball.

“I just love the pace of the game," Asdell said. "The competitiveness, everything." 

Fast forward seven years later, and the 6’3" right side hitter is now the team captain for IU. 

Right off the bat, Asdell fit in well within the Hoosier system. A tall and strong outside hitter is the type of player any team would take. 

In her freshman season in 2015, she played in 29 of the 32 games and had a Big Ten conference hitting percentage of .219, which was the best by a freshman in school history since All-American and current volunteer assistant coach Ashley Benson in 2006. 

Rather than explain the stat itself, Asdell would rather give praise to her volunteer assistant coach. 

“It’s an honor to have her as a coach,” Asdell said. “Her passion for the game and just her technique about it is awesome, I try to take in as much feedback from her as I can.”

The next year, Asdell played in all 33 matches, but still played the follower role, which she thought she embodied pretty well.

Asdell has stepped into her role as captain and calls it an honor.

“I love this team and I would love to lead them anywhere,” Asdell said. “We have a great group of girls that are willing to follow and willing to listen. They are go-getters and that’s just amazing to have.”

IU's 11-1 nonconference record was the team's second-best start to a season since 2010, the last time an IU squad qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

Due to the youth of this year's IU team, consisting of five freshmen and six sophomores, Asdell doesn’t think many people expect it to win a lot of conference games this year. To that she says, “I don’t really care."

The Big Ten season is now underway, and the Hoosiers have historically struggled to find success in conference play, although this year's group isn't fazed. 

“We are just going to go for it on all regards,” Asdell said. “Our coaching staff is on board, and we are all on board to just let everything out there.”

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