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The Sett, Week 4 - at Indiana

A youth-led Hoosier team welcomes the Badgers to Bloomington, Ind.

Missy Minear; Indiana Athletics

“Last” Year In Indiana Volleyball

How do you celebrate a 14-19 overall record and 3-17 in conference record season?

Hang the banner.

Going even further back, 2018 might be a real “what could have been?” for Steve Aird’s Hoosier program. They finished 7-13 in B1G play, but went 1-4 in their five set matches.

2021 Indiana Volleyball

A great way to move on from a rough season is to replace seven seniors with seven freshman. Especially if some of them are already talented enough to pick up a weekly award from the conference front office.

Indiana has a huge youth movement happening, with only two of the four upperclassman seeing the court so far. Hmm, a third year head coach has a roster and playing time heavily favoring sophomores and freshman, I find that very interesting.

So far this season, after being swept off the court by Nebraska the Hoosiers split a pair of competitive weekends against Rutgers and Iowa.

Front Court

In three weekends so far, Indiana’s opponents have gotten double digit blocks in one match, but not the other. Those times Iowa and Rutgers couldn’t defend the net were Indiana’s wins. Wisconsin’s a lot closer to Nebraska’s ability to just get kills on a regular basis, but it’s something to watch out for.

Offensively, their middle blocker tandem of Savannah Kjolhede and Leyla Blackwell don’t give points away on attacking errors (and shouldn’t!), but they are the third option in the offense compared to outside hitters Tommi Stockham and junior Breana Edwards.

Blackwell already defends her position nicely as her 1.39 blocks per set is sixth in the conference. The team’s 2.57 blocks per set is third in the conference, but that’s a small sample size influenced by notching 22 in their five set win over the Hawkeyes.

Back Court

Another 6-2 offense, with senior setter Brooke Westbeld one of the sole upperclassmen contributors to the Hoosiers this year. Neither her nor sophomore Emily Fitzer contribute much offensively, but are third and fourth in the team in total digs behind defensive specialist Haley Armstrong and Stockham.

Game Info

(By the way, whoever’s doing the VB account’s been a higher level of delightful this season, and I appreciates it.)

Elsewhere Around The Conference

Both Minnesota and Penn State took some body blows against Purdue and Illinois respectively last weekend, as the top 10 favorites needed to play 19 out of 20 possible sets to get their four wins. I believe the cliche is that they are now battle-tested for their matchup this weekend, the first time all season two of the four favorites to take the conference championship meet on the court.

Crikey, 28 and 26 - that’ll play. Elsewhere, Michigan’s athletic department restarts this weekend after pausing due to COVID-19 protocols, and the Wolverines volleyball team starts their season by hosting Purdue. Finally, Rutgers hosts Nebraska period end story submit for approval. (Editor’s note: plz include “downwards arrow” next time.)