The University of North Alabama Volleyball team is set to begin the new season after a rough transition to the Athletic Sun conference last year.
UNA finished with only a 4-21 overall record. The Lions finished in last in the ASUN standings with only one conference victory. Notable players no longer on the team include, Madison Ruble and Malaisai Stallworth, who were two of the team’s leading scorers last season. One key player returning this year is Christina Ellwanger, who led the team in kills last season.
The Lions have a young team in 2019, consisting of 10 freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors. In theory, this gives the team room to develop over the next few seasons.
“I’m very confident that if we called up ASUN, they’d turn out to be the youngest team in our conference” head coach Bob White said. “I’m excited.”
The team’s incoming class of freshmen boast several awards from this past year. Anna Katherine Griggs was the AHSAA 5A MVP, Alyssa Dutton was the AHSAA 3A MVP, Breylee Linder was the North MVP in the North vs. South All Star Match and Mariana Trujillo was a setter for the Puerto Rico Youth National Team and won an award for best setter at the Pan American Games. All five players will potentially start for UNA at some point this season.
The Lions will have an exhibition against Tennessee State University on Aug. 20. It will begin in Nashville at 4 p.m.
The regular season will begin with the Belmont Bruiser Showcase in Nashville on Friday, Aug. 30. The Lions will play against Belmont University at 11:30 a.m., followed by a match against Arkansas State University at 4 p.m. The event will conclude the following Saturday, August 31, with a match against Milwaukee University at 11 a.m.