Indiana Daily Student

Indiana volleyball sweeps Indiana Invitational in opening weekend

Junior outside hitter Mady Saris spikes the ball August 27, 2023 against Radford at Wilkinson Hall in Bloomington. Saris had 11 kills in their game against the Highlanders.
Junior outside hitter Mady Saris spikes the ball August 27, 2023 against Radford at Wilkinson Hall in Bloomington. Saris had 11 kills in their game against the Highlanders.

Indiana volleyball went 3-0 on the weekend beating the University of New Hampshire, University of Southern Indiana and Radford University. The Hoosiers finished their opening weekend undefeated for the third time under head coach Steve Aird, winning in nice straight sets. A mix of veterans and newcomers found the floor in Wilkinson Hall debuting the 2023 team.

Indiana opened the season Friday against New Hampshire. The Hoosiers set a program record with 14 service aces in their three-set sweep of the Wildcats. Junior setter Camryn Haworth, the Big Ten leader in aces a season ago, had four service aces on the night. However, the Hoosiers struggled offensively, hitting only .160 on the match with 21 attacking errors. Graduate student middle blocker Kaley Rammelsberg had zero errors on 15 attempts with eight kills. Senior defensive specialist Grae Gosnell had double-digit digs from the back row for just the second time in her career. 

The first game of Indiana’s Saturday doubleheader was against Southern Indiana. The Screaming Eagles are entering their second season of Division competition under first-year head coach Jeffrey Aucoin. Indiana native and freshman middle blocker Ava Vickers earned her first career start for the Hoosiers, tallying four kills on seven swings, and a match-high seven blocks. The Hoosiers offense found their stride early Saturday morning led by senior Morgan Geddes, who had a career match hitting .857 on 12 of 14 swings with no errors.  

The final game of the Indiana Invitational featured Indiana and the Radford Highlanders. The Hoosiers won the match in three straight sets 25-5, 25-15 and 25-14. Offensive powerhouse sophomore outside hitter transfer Avry Tatum led the Hoosiers in the first set with seven kills on eight attempts. The Hoosiers' defensive efforts held the Highlanders to one kill on 26 attempts in the first set alone.

The balanced attack of Tatum, Geddes and junior outside hitter Mady Saris fueled the offense with 32 kills combined. Freshman setter Luca Fickell had a strong showing in the third set of the final match finishing with six assists. 

The Hoosiers completed the weekend with three strong performances. Freshman libero Ramsey Gary had a strong showing in her opening weekend of collegiate volleyball, tallying 36 kills across nine sets played. Vickers and Tatum, who both had impressive weekends themselves, expressed their excitement in playing inside Wilkinson Hall for the first time. 

“It was really really fun, and the atmosphere was just insane,” Tatum said in the post-match press conference. 

Coach Steve Aird expressed his happiness with the play and grit the team played with over the weekend.  

“We just played really clean,” Aird said in his opening statement to the weekend press conference. 

Although Aird said he is satisfied with their performance, he understands the daunting schedule ahead and looks forward to the challenges of growing and learning through the season.  

Indiana will travel to Long Beach, California this upcoming weekend. Indiana will face three storied programs in California playing future Big Ten schools UCLA and Washington along with host Long Beach State University. They open play at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31, against Long Beach.  

Follow reporter Michael Livingston (.@mblivingston_) for updates throughout the Indiana volleyball season.

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