The Western Illinois volleyball team has spent the entire season to this point playing in a variety of road contests and tournaments. Well, that trend comes to an end this Friday, October 10th, when WIU takes on Omaha in its home opener. This will also be the first match in Summit League play, as the Leathernecks look to take a step forward in Ben Staupe’s second year at the helm.
Among the players coming into 2019 with high expectations was redshirt-junior Mackenzie Steckler. Steckler has thus far not only reached but exceeded the expectations, establishing herself as a force at the net. She currently leads the Summit League with 83 total blocks, while she ranks 8th nationally in the same category. Steckler’s defense will continue to be heavily relied upon as WIU looks to make a statement in Summit League play.
Along with Steckler’s play, the play of many of the youngsters and incoming players has impressed in 2019. Sophomore Mariah Mitchell has continued to progress after a promising freshman year, and she currently leads WIU with 155 kills on the season. Freshmen Gabby DePersio and Jessie Connell have already begun leaving a similar impact, as DePersio leads the team in digs with 219, while Connell owns the team lead in assists with 327. The success of the young players may determine the success of the volleyball program, as they represent a bright future for WIU.
Along with their home and Summit League opening match against Omaha on October 10th, WIU will as well host Oral Roberts on Sunday, October 13th. Each game will be streamed on the Leatherneck Sports Network and can be heard live on 88.3 The Dog.