BUCKHANNON -- West Virginia Wesleyan's volleyball team opens a new era this week. Coach Nancy Wheeler and her staff welcomes 27 student athletes to the 2017 edition of the Lady Bobcats.
Coming off an 11-21 record, Wheeler is hoping her young squad can improve on that mark and move up in the MEC standings this Fall. Her roster includes 18 returnees and nine newcomers (seven freshmen and two transfers).
With practice opening today (Monday, 14th), the Lady Bobcats will have just over a week until their scrimmage with California, Pa. on Aug. 22.
"We have several veterans that we are looking to provide leadership for our young roster," Wheeler said. "This preseason will be about getting our skill work and conditioning in, and getting our new players accustomed to the system we began to implement in the Spring."
Senior Hannah King (Sr. Charleston, W.Va.) returns as a Second Team All-Conference performer, and leading the team with 312 total kills. Other players back from last year's regular rotation includes Leah Blend (Sr. Buckhannon, W.Va.), and Ashton King (So. Clendenin, W.Va.).
Offensively, Blend delivered 83 kills and King 64. Junior Hannah Bradford (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and sophomore Kirsty Lawrence (Amma, W.Va) also saw some significant action in 2016, getting into double figure matches.
Most all of the regular back line players and setters were lost to graduation, setting the table for many position battles for Wheeler's first camp.
Wesleyan's first match will be on Sept. 1 against St. Rose in the Edinboro Tournament.
The Lady Bobcats have four matches lined up that weekend.