2017 DU Volleyball Season Preview
Pioneers look to claim fourth-straight Summit League title
Aug. 23, 2017
DENVER— The University of Denver women’s volleyball team looks to build on its success from 2016, its first year under head coach Tom Hogan, in 2017. With 10 returners from the 2016 roster that swept the Summit League titles, going 23-9 overall and 13-3 in conference play, the pieces are in place for another run at the conference titles.
It is an expectation that was bolstered last week, when the Summit League head coaches voted Denver as the preseason favorite, garnering five of the eight first-place votes and 47 points overall.
A true test awaits Denver the weekend of Sept. 7 and 8, when the Pioneers face AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Coaches Preseason No. 4 Minnesota and No. 1 Texas in the American Campus Classic, hosted by the University of Texas. Texas finished as the national runner-up in 2016, while the Gophers of Minnesota lost in the national semifinals. Coincidentally, both schools lost to Stanford, who beat the Pioneers in the first round of the tournament.
Leading the charge will be returning starters Kayla Principato (Sr., right-side hitter), Emma Willis (Jr., middle blocker) and Cassidy Rooke (Sr., libero). Principato led the Pioneers in kills last season with 349, while Willis led the team and the Summit League in total blocks with 131 (six solo, 125 assisted). Rooke returns as the team’s libero, where she led in digs (485) and aces (37) last season.
Helping to fill the void of the four starters who graduated in 2016 will be junior outside hitter Becca Latham, who was named to the “Players to Watch” list as decided on by the Summit League coaches. Latham appeared in all 116 sets for DU in 2016, finishing with 210 kills and a hitting percentage of .206. Senior Piyusha Boteju will be counted on at the setter position, after playing 114 sets in 2016 and finishing second on the team with 559 assists.
There will be plenty of new faces adorning the Crimson and Gold this fall, as the Pioneers added eight newcomers to the roster in the offseason. Transfers Becca Mau and Teal Schnurr are Colorado products who return home from Idaho and Marquette, respectively, and look to make an immediate impact in their final collegiate season.
Ellie Anderson (S, Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Lydia Bartalo (OH, Colorado Springs, Colo.), Tina Boe (MB, Plymouth, Minn.), Macy Carrabine (L/DS, Bargersville, Ind.), Lauren McManus (L/DS, Waterloo, Iowa) and Jaden Sandoval (RSH/OH, Denver, Colo.) all bring stellar high school and club careers to the program and have the potential to contribute immediately.
Joining Hogan on the bench will be assistant coach Katelin Batten and Jesse Tupac, along with new additions in Jessica Aschenbrenner, serving as the Director of Operations, and volunteer assistant coach Tyler Reutgen.
Denver opens the season this weekend at the Hampton Inn and Suites Classic in Charleston, S.C., against Tennessee State, USC Upstate and host College of Charleston. The first home match is Friday, Sept. 1, when the Pioneers play UC Davis at 6 p.m. MT in its first game of the Pioneer Classic.
Season tickets for the 2017 Denver volleyball season are on sale now and can be PURCHASED HERE. Tickets for Denver’s 13 home matches can be purchased for only $48.
Fans interested in making a donation to the volleyball program can do so by CLICKING HERE. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.
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