BEREA, Ohio – Under first-year head coach Kacie Ehinger, the Baldwin Wallace University volleyball team will look to make a run for an Ohio Athletic Conference Championship in 2019.
BW concluded the 2018 season with its fifth consecutive trip to the OAC tournament, after an overall record of 27-5 and a 6-3 mark in the OAC. Ehinger welcomes back 11 letterwinners and four All-OAC players from last year's squad, that will feature a junior-sophomore catalyst. The team includes one senior, nine juniors, seven sophomores, and two freshmen.
The returning senior is Academic All-OAC and All-OAC outside hitter Allyson Smith (Macedonia/Walsh Jesuit), who sat out most of last season with an injury.
The rich junior class will be led by junior two-time Academic All-OAC and All-OAC defensive specialist Sarah Reinhard (Willoughby/South). Reinhard made her first All-OAC appearance last season as an honorable mention after leading the team, and placing third in the conference with a career-high 574 digs. She also tallied a career-high 85 assists and was tied for first on the team with a career-high 31 service aces. Leading the attack in the middle, after a first-team All-OAC selection, will be junior middle hitter Taylor Brown (Maple Heights). Brown was tied for first on the team with 31 service aces and led the team with 80 blocks. Facilitating the offense will be junior setter Kathleen Egan (Cleveland/Beaumont), who was second on the squad with 581 assists and 28 service aces.
Adding depth to the right side will be junior Academic All-OAC selection Sam Pruett (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley), who was third on the team with a .259 hitting percentage and totaled a career-high 71 digs. In the middle will be junior Academic All-OAC middle hitter Alexis Garrett (Mentor), who was second on the team with a .287 hitting percentage and third with a career-high 23 blocks. Junior Academic All-OAC middle hitter Allison May (Louisville/St. Thomas Aquinas) will look to improve the front line with her career-high 19 kills and 13 blocks from last season. Junior Academic All-OAC middle hitter Kail Nicholas (Milwaukee, Wis./University School of Milwuakee), junior Academic All-OAC setter Sydni Colchagoff (Findlay/Liberty-Benton), and transfer Angela Dunn (Fairview Park/Fairview) round out the upperclassmen.
Leading the sophomore class is All-OAC second-team outside hitter Ivy Earl (Howell). Earl led the team with 240 kills and was third with 206 digs. Sophomore All-OAC honorable mention Mary Zurbrugg (Alliance) will reinforce the outside after leading the team with a 2.59 kills-per-set ratio and fourth on the team with 197 kills. Anchoring the defense will be sophomore defensive specialist Morgan Martin (Seven Hills/Trinity) after a season which saw her accumulate 144 digs, 15 assists, and 14 service aces. Sophomore right side hitter Kiely Taylor (Fremont/Old Fort) will look to improve upon her 30 kills from last season. Sophomore outside hitter Cecelia Stebel (Union/Northmont) will also seek to contribute to the offense after her 29-kill performance from last season. Filling out the sophomore class is libero Isabella Moskowitz (Brighton, Mich./Brighton), who missed all of last year due to injury and eagerly anticipates her return to the lineup.
To open the season, the Yellow Jackets will compete in the Red Dragon Classic, hosted by Cortland (N.Y.) University, on August 30 and 31. The Yellow Jackets then travel Franklin Indiana to play in the Franklin (Ind.) College Tournament on September 6 and 7. The following weekend, BW will compete in the Ginny Hunt Classic, hosted by the College of Wooster on September 13 and 14. The Yellow Jackets open OAC action on the road against Capital University on October 5.