COLUMBUS, Ohio – Under the direction of second year head coach Jenn Fekpe, the Ohio Dominican volleyball team will look to take a step forward this season as the Panthers start the 2017 year with four matches at the Wayne State Invitational this weekend.
The Panthers will lift the lid on the season at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 1 against Gannon before a 2:30 p.m. contest with the host Warriors. On Saturday, Sept. 2, ODU plays Wisconsin-Parkside at 9 a.m. and wraps up the weekend with a 3:45 p.m. matchup with Minnesota State-Mankato.
Ohio Dominican returns seven letterwinners from last year's team that finished 8-18, but had six losses in five sets. While the Panthers graduated all-region selection Tory Thompson, they do return second-leading hitter in junior outside Kelly Nadler (Leipsic, Ohio), who finished with 304 kills with a team-best .257 attack percentage. Also back on the outside is junior Patricia Barreto (Findlay, Ohio), who appeared in 20 matches, and junior Ciara Ralston (Findlay, Ohio), who tallied 254 kills in 2015, along with 341 digs, ranking third on the team in both categories.
In the middle, junior Rebecca Skidmore (Westerville, Ohio) returns after missing virtually all of 2016 due to injury. Skidmore played in 20 matches as a freshman and ranked third on the team with 67 total blocks in her rookie season.
Back in the setting positions are junior Jordan Jaeckin (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) and sophomore Bailey Line (Westerville, Ohio). Jaeckin played in 21 matches last season, tallying 243 assists and 89 digs, while Line paced the team with 695 assists (7.9 per set) to go with 124 digs and 22 blocks.
Junior Anna Ficker (Cincinnati, Ohio) has appeared in all but one set in her two years at ODU and has notched 847 career digs to this point. The defensive specialist has averaged 3.92 digs per set in her first two years.
The Panthers will lean on a large freshman class to step in and contribute this season. Newcomers to the roster include outside hitters Jill Pyles (Bronson, Mich.) and Alexis Young (Gahanna, Ohio), middle hitters Teara Carter (Columbus, Ohio) and Alyssa Hoyng (Celina, Ohio), setter Ashton Barr (New Castle, Ind.) and defensive specialists Makayla Donley (Lima, Ohio) and Dharma Jolas (Fort Wayne, Ind.).
Contact: Scott Miles