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Author Topic: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released  (Read 548 times)

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psycHOGlogist

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2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« on: June 20, 2017, 02:43:10 pm »

And I like it - it's a good schedule that features a mix of games against premier competition, some games we should win, and some real tests to see where the team is. The SEC slate is something of a mixed bag -- not unfavorable, but not the easiest it could be either.

We open at home with a tournament featuring CSU-Bakersfield, Louisiana-Monroe, and Utah State. I like this a lot for a lot of reasons - we should probably beat everybody in the field, but Utah State and Bakersfield have some talented kids. We will be starting a bunch of new faces and we'll need to see how the team gels. This field gives us the chance to do that.

The next two weekends are very tough, heading to Manhanttan, KS, to play KState, Wisconsin, and Syracuse. Wisconsin is a pretty sure L, KState lost a lot but has some VERY good players, and Syracuse was terrible last year but has a great coach.

The following weekend we go out west to UCSB and take on the USC Women of Troy (pretty certain L), UCSB (likely L), and Yale (should probably be a W). Very tough competition, but I like to see us schedule out west.

The last preseason weekend is also good, with games in Dallas against Sam Houston State (probable W) and SMU, who was a tournament team last year (and who beat TAMU in the NCAAT). SMU has lost a bit from last year, but they are still tough. That will be a good test heading into SEC play.

The SEC slate gives us home-and-home series with Florida (again), TAMU (again), Auburn, LSU, SC, and Ole Miss; we host Tenn, Kentucky, and Miss St., and travel to UGA, Bama, and Mizzou.

Kentucky, Florida, and Mizzou are the teams to beat in conference this year, with senior-laden Auburn looking to make a run to join them. TAMU has a lot of pieces coming back but unexpectedly lost their senior-to-be setter to a medical issue and their best hitter to graduation. They'll be up there, too. After that, it's wide open, I think. I am expecting MSU to be in the basement this year - they have been CRUSHED by transfers. OM has lost its three best players, two to transfer and one to graduation, but return two good outside hitters. LSU was terrible last year but has everyone back and a good coach (and a very talented freshman recruit). After the top group, the Hogs could be in there battling it out for 5-8th place. Or they could flop with youth and be near the bottom. Will be curious to see how it goes! It was very clear last year that the team improved under Watson's coaching as the season went on. Will be looking for that again this year with the very large group of incoming players.

I'll be back later to update this thread with more information once the 2017 final roster is published and more of the scheduling dust is settled across the conference.

WPS!

http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2017-Arkansas-Volleyball-Schedule.pdf
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 08:54:36 pm »

So, they have now posted the roster for the 2017 squad - three noteworthy and unexpected findings:

First, despite rumors about switching to volleyball, Yasmeen Ratliff is not listed on the roster. (She's not on the WBB roster, either - fyi.)

Second, Bailee Hankenson is not coming back. She has a year of eligibility remaining, but she has graduated and apparently decided that being the backup setter is not a good use of her time when she could be moving forward with her life (she is in a relationship with former OmaHog Mike Bernal, who is in the Giants minor league organization). Wish her nothing but the best! However, her departure is a bit scary because we really don't have a backup setter on the roster now. Newcomer Kenzie Stinnett is listed as the backup, but as far as I know she has no high level experience as a setter. We'll need to keep our fingers super crossed that nothing happens to Rippee.

Third, Krista Kobinskie is back on the roster! She signed in 2014 with the Hankenson twins and Kori Ortiz (along with several others), but she left the team after her freshman year, presumably one of the Pulliza casualties (with Sophie Bethke and Shelby Harper). I always liked her (she's a defensive specialist with a lot of athleticism). Went and checked her twitter, and it seems clear that she's been participating in volleyball team events (Hogspy's, etc.) all spring. Glad she's found her way back to the team!!

Also of interest - Kiley Tiller, the 6'3" incoming freshman from Carthage, MO, is listed only as a MB. Had thought she might see time on the right side. She still could, of course.

So, by position this is the breakdown:

Outside hitter:
  Pliar Victoria - RS Sr
  Reagan Robinson - Soph
  Hailey Dirrigl - FR
  Logan Brown - FR
  Klaire Trainor - FR (listed as OH, but is only 5'8")

Setter
  Rachel Rippee - Soph
  Kenzie Stinnett - Fr

Middle Blocker
  Kelly O'Brien - Jr
  Maia Stripp - Fr (Denmark)
  Liz Pamphile - Fr
  Kiley Tiller - Fr

Right Side
  Fernanda Guitron - RS Soph
  (Kenzie Stinnett - Fr)

Libero/Defensive Specialist
  Okiana Valle - Jr
  Kori Ortiz - Sr
  Krista Kolbinskie - Sr
  Paige Johnson - Fr

We are going to need Rippee to stay healthy and make some improvements in her consistency, especially setting the right side/slide attack. We are also going to need 1-2 (preferably 2-3) other players step up to provide Pilar with some offensive help.

I expect the starting lineup to look like so:
S - Rippee
OH - Victoria, Dirrigl
MB - O'Brien, Stripp or Pamphile
RS - Guitron or Brown or Tiller
Libero - Valle

Pilar will play all six rotations. The RS player will be subbed out of the back row (unless it's Brown, who could go all six rotations), and Dirrigl might be subbed out back row, as well (though she, too, could play all the way around).

I'll forecast the season later on this summer, and make some conference predictions, too.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 01:53:12 pm by psycHOGlogist »
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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 09:49:56 pm »

thanks for the info Psych. I hope and expect that having Victoria back will supply a lot of leadership to the youngsters besides just her play.
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 10:01:43 pm »

Three volleyball tidbits: Report day is coming up this week. They released the schedule poster today - unsurprisingly it features Pilar, along with Valle, Ortiz, and Rippee in the background --- the four returners with the most playing time.

https://twitter.com/RazorbackVB/status/892106588026175489

Second, Fr 5'9" OH Savannah Wagner was recently added to the roster. Assume she's walking on. She is from a very weak HS program (based on watching video of one of their matches), and though she shows flashes of talent, a fairly live arm, and a decent vertical jump, it's hard to imagine her making a contribution this season (especially as undersized as she is).

Finally, Associate Head Coach Jon Newman-Gonchar is still with the US Women's National Team serving as "Consultant Coach" (he's functionally coordinating the defensive scheme) in the World Grand Prix. The US has made the final round (top 6 teams in the world), and the final round is being played in China. Once the WGP ends, JNG will be hopping on a plane and getting in Arkansas' gym the next day. 

https://twitter.com/RazorbackVB/status/889187025743753218

I'll post some season predictions a little later in August as camp starts. WPS!
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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 09:16:58 am »

Hey Psych- How good can this team get? Seems like the are right every few years, but honestly don't really know.
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 10:44:16 am »

Good question! This year is going to be very interesting -- I think they have a superstar in Pilar Victoria but a lot of talented but inexperienced parts around her. Every opponent is going to approach a match against us with the goal of shutting down Pilar. If we can get the supporting pieces to help her, we could be pretty decent, but I think making the tournament this year is a pretty big longshot.

Last year, we saw a team that had a lot of experience but was adjusting to a new system, and they started off terrible but by the end of the year were looking pretty good. That's player development and coaching, imo. The young players should really benefit from that as the season progresses and the longer they are in the program.

I like what this staff is doing in recruiting as well. This year's freshman class has 3 kids from VERY good juniors programs -- Dirrigl, Pamphile, and Brown -- and an international kid -- Stripp -- who I hope will be able to contribute quickly (though with internationals it's always tricky). They already have a very solid 4-person 2018 class lined up, and their first 2019 commitment is pretty terrific, as well. They are all coming from very good club teams, have a lot of athleticism, and should increase the talent pool in the program enormously.  (By the end of Robby's tenure, we were having trouble recruiting Texas, in particular, as Robby had alienated several juniors coaches there by chasing their players out of our program.  Word was that some programs wouldn't even let Arkansas in the gym.)

Jason is a VERY highly regarded coach, and our assistants are both also extremely well-known and well-liked coaches (as noted, one is with the senior national team this summer). I think they are building a program that will consistently be in the top 4 of the conference in the next 2-3 years.  It's always going to be hard to be at the top echelon of the sport as long as junior volleyball in Arkansas is so under-developed. That's starting to change, as there is a very good juniors program in NW Arkansas (Ozark Jrs), but we're still miles and miles behind Texas, Nebraska, Chicago-land/Indiana, Florida, Minnesota, and of course California. But things CAN change - there were very good teams at the junior nationals tournament from Iowa and Idaho, which were hardly known as volleyball hotbeds before.

I like this staff a lot, and I think they have a good product to sell. They just need to get the talent on campus and turn it into wins. I think it's coming.
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2017, 05:58:48 pm »

The Razorback volleyball team got two new commitments in the past week.

Jordyn Gates, a 5'10" setter from Michigan Volleyball Academy, an excellent player, is a 2020.

And Hannah Hogue, a 5'8" libero from Fort Smith Southside, is a 2021. I don't know too much about her because ... I mean, let's face it, she hasn't even started HS yet (she'll be a 9th grader this fall). But obviously Coach Watson liked what he saw at Razorback camp this summer and offered. (She was an alternate to a national high performance camp, too, so clearly she has athleticism and upside. She currently plays club ball for Fort Smith Juniors.)

ETA more information about Hannah - I found some video of her on her dad's twitter account. She actually sets for her Juniors team, though it seems we've got her signed up as a libero. It's easy to see what the coaches like. She appears to have a very high vb IQ, she is very athletic and quick, and she goes after every ball with gusto. I think this is a solid pick-up, and that Hannah will be someone we're really excited to have on the squad ... in four years!

WPS - welcome Jordyn and Hannah!

I cannot remember the Hogs volleyball squad picking up commits this early before. We currently have four 2018 commits, and one each from 2019, 2020, and 2021. I'm really impressed. (When he was at AZ State, Jason was not known as an "early" recruiter, so this is kind of a new thing for him, I believe.)
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 12:09:51 am by psycHOGlogist »
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 03:00:27 pm »

Today is report day!!!! (I am excited, in case that isn't clear.) :-)

https://twitter.com/RazorbackVB/status/894586560401821696


Front row: ?? (there's no #18 on the roster, but I assume this must be Savannah Wagner), Kenzie Stinnett, Reagan Robinson, Okiana Valle, Kori Ortiz, Krista Kolbinskie, Paige Johnson, Klaire Trainor

Back Row: Maia Stripp, Hailey Dirrigl, Liz Pamphile, Logan Brown, Rachel Rippee, Pilar Victoria, Kelly O'Brien, Fernanda Guitron, Kiley Tiller

WPS!!!
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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 05:01:11 pm »

Lot of freshmen on the roster!
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psycHOGlogist

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Re: 2017 Volleyball schedule is released
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 09:15:33 pm »

Yes - that happens when you lose six seniors, and one of your rising seniors decides not to play out her last year of eligibility. I was thinking he might try to fill some spots with transfers, but apparently he didn't find any he liked or couldn't bring any of them on board.
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