Peyton Hendershot, junior, tight end
Late in the second quarter against Eastern Illinois University, Hendershot blasted through the Panther defense en route to an eight-yard touchdown reception. At 6 feet, 4 inches, 255 pounds, he excels in short-yard scenarios, where linebackers look for big hits against smaller receivers. After two games, Hendershot has netted nine receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. As opposing secondaries seek to contain home run threats such as fifth-year seniors Nick Westbrook and Donavan Hale, Hendershot will be invaluable in quarterback Michael Penix Jr.’s mid-range passing game.
Deyshia Lofton, senior, middle blocker
In a sport that demands versatility from its players, senior Deyshia Lofton is a key asset for the Hoosiers. Lofton’s 6-foot-2 stature has helped propel her into the top 10 all-time at IU for career blocks, but equally formidable is her skill in the back row. Here, she has amassed six aces this season, including four in a victory over the University of Tennessee at Martin. With a hitting percentage of .508 after seven matches, Lofton boasts an offensive efficiency that gives IU a fighting chance in every set.
Ian Black, senior, forward
Through four games, Black has contributed one assist and three goals, two of which were the only scored by IU in its victory over the University of Denver on Sept. 6. Now in his fourth year on the team, Black is the most experienced member of the Hoosier offense. In a season framed by great expectations, Black will shoulder not just the responsibility of generating points, but also leading a young offensive core through adversity. He proved capable of doing so in IU’s comeback win over the University of Pittsburgh, when Black had an assist and a game-tying goal to take the Panthers into overtime.
Oliwia Wos, sophomore, defender
In order for the IU women’s team to ascend to a nationally competitive level, it will need a competitor who has been there before. Sophomore transfer Oliwia Wos started 13 games for the Wake Forest University Demon Deacons last year, a unit that advanced to the third round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The Poland native also has experience playing on her homeland’s U-17 and U-19 teams. Wos has started all five games for the Hoosiers in 2019, pitching in defensive play and an assist in IU’s 5-0 drubbing of Morehead State University.
Kelsey Giese, senior, back/midfield.
As the IU field hockey team faces a veritable gauntlet of ranked opponents in the Big Ten, it will no doubt rally behind senior captain Kelsey Giese. She leads the team in shots taken with 12, including a critical goal in a win over Ball State on Sept. 8. Giese has also provided two assists, one of which led to the game-clinching score in double overtime against Drexel University. With conference play fast approaching, look for the Hoosiers to lean on Giese’s aggression as the focal point of this year’s offense.
Ben Veatch, senior.
Last season, injury kept Ben Veatch beyond the tape of the cross-country course, cheering on a squad that finished 15th in the country. Now, the 2016-17 Big Ten Freshman of the Year has a chance at a triumphant return. At the NCAA Track and Field Championships in June, he posted an impressive time of 30:14.93 in the 10-kilometer race. Veatch is no stranger to leadership. He was IU’s top runner in 2017 and will be integral to the success of a much-anticipated Hoosier team that returns four of its top five runners from 2018.
Bailey Hertenstein, sophomore.
Following the graduation of All-American athletes Maggie Allen and Katherine Receveur, there are big spikes to fill on the IU women’s cross-country team. Much of that duty will be carried by sophomore Bailey Hertenstein, who last year was third among Hoosiers at the NCAA National Championships. Though perhaps lacking in experience, Hertenstein bears no shortage of successful races, recording a 6-kilometer race time of 20:58.7 at the 2018 Pre-Nationals, then finishing 28th in the Big Ten Championships with a time of 20:52.5.
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