Augustana volleyball digging its winning ways
Kelly Bethke has been Augustana’s women’s volleyball coach for only three years, but she's already tied the record for second-most wins in a season, going 25-8 last year.
Overall, the Vikings have gone 66-31 under Bethke.
Liesl Fowler holds the record for most wins in a season, at 29-5 in 2001.
The Vikings were 4-4 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin last year, marking the first time the program reached .500 since 2010.
This year already poses some challenges for Bethke and her squad. Eight key players have graduated, including Jacqueline Kibir-Evans and Hannah Lindaman.
Kibir was named first-team all-CCIW and all-tournament at the Viking Classic. She led the Vikings with a .399 attack percentage -- the second-highest in school history -- and finished her career with 112 blocks and 270 kills.
Lindaman received second-team All-CCIW honors and was named to the all-tournament team at the Pumpkin Bash. Lindaman ended her college career with 42 aces, 717 assists and 244 digs.
But the Vikings also have some strong returning players to count on, like senior Claire Martin, who was named second-team academic all-CCIW with 370 digs, 51 assists and 16 aces last season.
Emily Westermeyer returns as an outside hitter and was also named academic All-CCIW. Westermeyer had 10 aces and 253 digs last year and was fourth in kills, with 227.
Team captain Maissie Musick will head back to her position as middle hitter along with sophomore Grace Bialobok, while defensive specialist Sierra Rood, a junior who played in 93 sets last year, will be back after a season in which she recorded 265 digs and 15 aces.
Juniors Taryn VanEarwage and McKenzie Zambrano round out the returnees. Last year, VanEarwage played in 112 sets and led the Vikings with 289 kills, averaging 2.58 kills per set. She also had 450 digs, 22 aces and 22 blocks on the year.
Zambrano played in 115 sets, recording a total of 509 assists, 242 digs and 20 aces.
Newcomers include freshmen Morgan Anderberg (outside hitter/defensive specialist), Taylor Curley (setter), Laura Heuermann (outside hitter), Jessica Nguyen (defensive specialist) and Savana Sparks (outside hitter).
The Vikings open the season with an extended road trip before playing their first home game on Sept. 15 against Central College.
The Vikings are ranked fifth in the conference coaches preseason poll.
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