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2016 Volleyball Season Preview

WATERTOWN, Wis. - As the last point of the 2015 season was won, the Sabercats had captured their first NCCAA DII title since 1994 while going undefeated for the tournament. More than that, they did not drop a set down in Florida, and they won 22 of their last 23 matches to end the season with an inexorable winning streak.

Riding the momentum of the national title, the Sabercats will look to mimic their former exploits for the 2016 season and develop a new line of national contenders. With a the experience of a solid group of returning players coupled with an increased number of recruits, the Sabercats have both increased their versatility and bolstered their JV program for the year ahead.

Former Maranatha standout Torey "DeLozier" Rosen joins her mother Regina on the coaching staff, while Pam "Borchardt" Fiocchi returns to the sidelines after assisting during the 2015 season.

Sabercats Volleyball will hold just five home matches this season, and will wait until September 27th to see the home floor for the first time. The home matches are highlighted below:

  • 9/27 - 7:00 PM vs MSOE
    • The last time the two teams clashed was for two meetings in 2014. The Sabercats swept the Raiders in straight sets on both occasions.
  • 9/30 - 7:00 PM vs Moody Bible
    • The Sabercats face the Archers in NCCAA Regional play once again. In 2015, the Sabercats came out on top three times in three matches.
  • 10/4 - 7:00 PM vs Alverno
    • The Inferno have set a school record for wins in a season in two of their last three seasons. The teams met once in 2015, and the Sabercats took home a 3-0 win from Milwaukee.
  • 10/7 - 7:00 PM vs Wisconsin Lutheran
    • The matchup against the Warriors will be the second one of the season, as the Sabercats will make the short drive to Milwaukee on October 1st for an away match.
  • 10/28 - 7:00 PM vs Finlandia
    • The Sabercats will tangle with the Lions in an all-AD3I matchup. Last season, the Sabercats bested their Northern Michigan opponents 3-0 on two different occasions.

Players to Watch

Alison Renz - Renz was named the NCCAA DII Player of the Year and AD3I Player of the Year in 2015. The Lake Mills native dominated the play at the net, boasting 420 kills (AD3I 1st, NCCAA 2nd) while contributing 97 total blocks (AD3I 1st). Renz was named an NCCAA and AVCA All-American, and the NCCAA DII National Tournament MVP last season.

Julia Gunst - Gunst was a vital part of the Sabercats' attack, as she pitched in 928 assists (AD3I 1st) while notching 88 kills and 31 blocks. Gunst's veteran hand will be called upon this season, as the AD3I 1st Team All-Independent selection will return for her fourth year in Blue and Gold.

Alexis Johnson - The Sophomore was a vital component of the Sabercats' title run in 2015, contributing 219 digs, 87 blocks (AD3I 2nd), and 179 kills. Johnson's all-around prowess will be an important piece of the puzzle once again, and the Stephenson, Michigan native will be joined by her younger sisters Kelsey and Karlina for the 2016 season.

From Coach DeLozier

When asked about the upcoming season, Sabercats' head coach Regina DeLozier commented that the team is seeking to "develop into a balanced offense, [and] position ourselves to compete for the national title. [We have] freshmen with good fundamental skills, and a strong returning core including [NCCAA] Player of the Year [Ali Renz] and All-Independent AD3I conference award players." DeLozier and the Sabercats have just over one week to hone their skills in preparation for the season ahead.

For more on the upcoming season, visit the team's page