Outlook: Four consecutive appearances in the Lone Star Conference Championship final and two straight trips to the NCAA Division II South Central Regional final have fostered high expectations for the Rambelles in 2014. The ’Belles return four starters, but will have to replace All-Americans Maddie Huth and Maggi Jo Keffury, along with Kaelen Valdez and Leah McWilliams.
Top Returners: ASU returns its all-time digs leader in Shelby Wilt (Dalhart), a three-year starter with 1,862 career digs, and the team’s lone senior. She will be joined by juniors Arielle Bond (El Paso), Kailyn Troxell (Pecos), Haley Bianco (Austin) and Katie MacLeay (San Antonio), who all bring valuable experience. Bond is the returning leader in kills with 391 last season, while MacLeay and Bianco combined for 801 digs as defensive specialists. Cerbi Ritchey (Big Spring) had 223 kills last season as a redshirt freshman, and Zoey Hanrahan (Austin) played in 36 sets as a freshman.
Top Newcomers: The ’Belles added some NCAA D-I talent in transfer sophomores Alexa Johnson from Lamar University and Mallory Blauser from the University of Cincinnati. Blauser (Round Rock) was a prolific high school talent who earned All-Central Texas MVP honors from the Austin American-Statesman. Johnson (La Vista, Neb.) will look to fill the setter position that has been held by All-Americans the past two seasons. ASU head coach Chuck Waddington also has a group of incoming freshmen who could make an immediate impact, including Daeleigh Castile (Gilbert, Ariz.), Kelly Hasbrouck (New Braunfels), Kylie Rollman (Columbus, Neb.), Abbie Lynn (Amarillo), Brooke Robertson (Argyle) and Brianna Sotello (San Antonio).