Pair of Award Winners Return: Leading the charge into 2015 for the Crusader volleyball program will be junior outside hitter Emily Campbell and the team's lone senior, setter Kelsey Berrington.
Campbell was named the Horizon League co-Player of the Year in 2014 - the program's first league Player of the Year since 2008 - after finishing second in the league and 24th in the nation in kills. Campbell, who also earned AVCA Honorable Mention All-Northeast Region accolades, finished the season with 480 kills, fifth-most in a single year in Crusader history.
Meanwhile, Berrington earned All-League honors as well after tallying the ninth-most assists in a single season all-time at Valpo, finishing third in the league in the category. Berrington led the way for the Crusader offense, quarterbacking the team to a .250 hitting percentage - a new program single-season record and 27 points better than the second-place team in the league in the category.
Stocked With Experience: The pair of All-League honorees are just the tip of the iceberg entering 2015 for the Crusaders, as Valpo welcomes back 10 letterwinners from last year's squad. A pair of sophomores who earned Horizon League All-Freshman Team honors in 2014, outside hitter Allison Ketcham and middle hitter Taylor Graboski, return for their respective second seasons.
Junior Morganne Longoria is back for her third year at libero as well to round out the five returning starters. In addition, junior outside hitter Rachel Bruinsma has seen significant time through her first two seasons. Juniors Jamie Lacheta and Lexie Bouza, as well as sophomores Tarrah Lasky and Catherine Ament, will look to step into a larger role in 2015 as well.
Talented Youngsters: A trio of true freshmen with impressive credentials join the program entering this season, while Kayla Currier sat out last year and retained freshman eligibility.
Highlighting the newcomers is Lake Orion, Mich. outside hitter Katherine Carlson, who was named a Second Team All-American by Volleyball Magazine to cap a career where she was honored as both Michigan Miss Volleyball and the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year.
Setter/right side hitter Lizzie Zaleski - a native of Oak Lawn, Ill. - was the MVP of the SportsTown Chicago All-Star Game, while Frankenmuth, Mich. native Sydney Bronner, a middle hitter, was a Third Team All-State honoree as a senior and brings a wealth of athleticism as a multiple-time state champion in track and field.
Catch the Crusaders In Action: Fans in Valparaiso will have plenty of opportunities to see the Crusaders in action at the ARC, as Valpo will host 15 home matches this season - the most home matches in a single year since 2001. The home slate kicks off with the Popcorn Classic Sept. 11-12, as Valpo looks for its sixth in-season tournament title at home in eight attempts under Avery. Eight Horizon League contests and three non-league matches await at the ARC as well.
In Search of 20 More Wins: The Valparaiso volleyball program finds itself among a prestigious group of programs nationwide, as last year’s 25-win campaign was the 13th straight season the Crusaders captured at least 20 victories. Only 10 Division I volleyball programs have won at least 20 matches in each of the last 13 years, a group which includes Colorado State, Florida, Hawai'i, Nebraska, Ohio, Penn State, Stanford, UNI and Western Kentucky.
And over that stretch, the Crusaders have been extremely successful in the classroom as well. The program once again last year was awarded the AVCA Team Academic Award, the 10th time in the last 12 seasons Valpo has been so honored.