Our first look at the area’s college athletes during the fall season will focus on volleyball.
A number of players from Edgewood, Bloomington North and Bloomington South have become important components for their teams at the next level.
Lucy Anderson (South), Denison
Anderson, a 6-2 senior middle, is the lynchpin for the Big Red’s hopes of repeating as North Coast Athletic Conference champs. Denison won its first-ever title last year, going 8-0 and 19-7 overall and was picked by the league to finish on top again, receiving five first-place votes. Anderson was one of two Denison players to be the first to earn AVCA NCAA Division III All-American honors, placed on the third team. She was also named AVCA All-Region 7 and the NCAC Player of the Year. She was second on the team in kills (287) while hitting .352 and led the team in aces (42). Denison starts its season on Sept. 2.
Olivia Blackketter (South), Valparaiso
The 6-2 middle transferred closer to home after spending two seasons at Winthop in South Carolina. The junior is in a reserve role to begin the season, appearing in five sets with seven kills and three blocks as Valpo got out to a 3-0 start. The Beacons are members of the Missouri Valley Conference, so Blackketter will find herself on the opposite side of the net from former teammate Bailey DeMier on Oct. 7 and Nov. 3 when they face Murray State.
Jenna Brinson (Edgewood), UHSP
The St. Louis’ school’s name is a mouthful, University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy, but Brinson is the name to know at starting setter for the Eutectics. The freshman has carded 40 assists twice, including in a four-setter over Graceland that was the team’s first win of the season after an 0-3 start.
Katelyn Bucy (South), St. Mary of the Woods
Senior setter Bucy has been named a co-captain and is in line to be the starting setter, but will also start out the season injured. She had 144 assists last season.
Kenadee Coyle (South), Western Kentucky
Coyle, a 6-1 rightside hitter, is expected to take to the floor a bit more often for the Hilltoppers, and it’s a brand new high tech Taraflex FIVB home floor to boot. Coyle, who appeared in 12 matches last year and a total of 17 sets, earned the start in WKU’s first three matches in Peoria, Illinois, and finished with 19 kills and just two errors in 31 swings. WKU, ranked No. 21 in the preseason poll, graduated five seniors off a team that went 28-2 and made the NCAA Tournament. WKU will play host to Indiana on Sept. 17.
Haley Davidson (South), Belmont Abbey
Junior 6-0 outside hitter Davidson will be looking for more playing time this season and has appeared in two of the Crusaders first four matches this season, collecting four kills.
Bailey DeMier (South), Murray State
DeMier is back at starting setter as a sophomore for the Racers, who are 2-0 with both wins over Southern Indiana, and will begin play in the Missouri Valley Conference this season. DeMier had 94 assists, 11 kills and three aces in the sweep. DeMier is coming off a strong freshman campaign in which she was named All-Ohio Valley Conference Second Team. She led the league in assists and assists per set and was ranked eighth (1,270) and 10th (11.24) respectively in NCAA Division I. Her single season assist total is No. 5 in school history and just 558 more this season will put in her in the school’s top 10 all-time career list.
Blakeley Freeman (North), Evansville
Coming off one of its strongest seasons in several years, the Aces were picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference this year. Freeman, a sophomore libero, returns after collecting 285 digs, 76 assists and 17 aces last year for a 21-12 squad. Evansville is 1-2 to start the season with Freeman recording 16 assists, three aces and No. 2 on the team in digs (27) through 12 sets.
Delaney Lynch (South), North Park
Lynch, a junior libero, stepped into the lineup last year and in over 30 matches piled up 285 digs, No. 3 on the team. The Vikings had one of their best seasons ever at 20-11, marked by a trip to the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin tournament semifinals. The Chicago school competes in NCAA Division III and starts its season on Sept. 2.
Alyssa Zemlyak (Edgewood), Franklin
The junior middle is back for the Griz, who were picked to finish sixth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. As a sophomore in 81 sets played, she had 133 kills, hit .201 and was No. 3 on the team in blocks with 29.