As the IU South Bend volleyball team enters a new season they will do so with an experienced squad that is focused on getting back to the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament after getting a taste for the program’s first CCAC tournament appearance last season.
“This is a very talented group that when they work together as a team, can be very good and fun to watch,” stated Coach Ashmore- Pott.
The Titans roster features three seniors, two juniors, 4 sophomores, and four freshmen in the mix this season, with Krystle Troyer, Melissa Macellari, and Sierra Conklin leading the way on the squad among last season’s top performers
Troyer had an impressive junior campaign, earning a CCAC all-conference first team selection. The Elkhart, Indiana native finished the season with a team-high 362 kills, for a career total of 1,132 kills, which is best all-time at IU South Bend. Not only was Troyer effective on the offensive side, she also recorded 333 digs, second-best behind her sister, Melanie Troyer. Just as it has for the past three years, the Titans’ offense will run through Troyer as she looks to carry IU South Bend back to the CCAC tournament.
“Krystle will be a major factor for the team this year, front row and back row,” said Coach Ashmore-Pott. “Krystle is willing to sacrifice herself for the good of the team. She is fearless wherever she is on the court.”
On the opposite side of Troyer, Conklin will look to improve on her remarkable freshman season as she earned CCAC second-team accolades. She compiled second-best 344 digs (2.94 digs/set), 312 digs, and 51 total blocks.
Returning for the Titans at setter is senior Melissa Macellari, who had a breakout junior campaign in 2013. The Granger, Indiana native tallied a single-season record 909 assists, 86 kills, 24 service aces, and 64 total blocks. Last season marked the first season she served as the primary setter for the Titans. Her 7.09 assists per set ranked third-best in the CCAC and moved her into first-place on the all-time list at IU South Bend.
“Melissa will be the biggest factor in our offense this year,” stated Coach Ashmore-Pott. “She will be a threat setting and hitting for our offense. She plays with a lot of energy and helps the team stay energetic and positive throughout the match.”
Incoming freshman, Ali Ritchie will vie for playing time at setter as well.
The Titans will look to senior libero Melanie Troyer to continue playing stellar defense in 2014. In just one season with the Titans, Troyer set the career record in digs, amassing 462 on the season. Melanie was a staple in the Titan defense that held opponents to just under 10 kills per set on the season.
“With Melanie in the back row, our defense is spectacular,” said Coach Ashmore-Pott. “She takes pride in owning the back row. She is an incredible competitor who absolutely hates to lose.”
Redshirt freshman, Jessica Tobillo will look to compete for playing time at the libero position as well as incoming freshman Jadalyn Tindall.
Junior Emily Kozinski, the all-time leader in total blocks returns her presence in the middle of the court. Last season, Kozinski blocked 85 attacks (74 assists, 11 solo). The Edwardsburg, Michigan native also recorded 194 kills (1.75/set). Joining Kozinski in the middle will be sophomore Emily Nix. Nix saw significant playing time as a freshman last season, totaling 114 kills and 44 total blocks.
Former Westville High School standout, Ashley McClintock will join the Titans in the middle of the court along with South Bend native Morgan Fleming.
“The incoming class looks to make a major impact in our program from the beginning,” continued Coach Ashmore-Pott. “There are some very talented players in this class that helps fill the voids from last year. This is an extremely athletic and volleyball knowledgeable class.”
The Titans season will begin on August 22nd as they travel to the University of Michigan-Dearborn for the UM Dearborn Earlybird tournament.