RICHMOND, Indiana – The Earlham College volleyball team travels to Illinois College this weekend to open the 2017 season.
Tournament Schedule: The Quakers will face Greenville College at 6 p.m. (EST) and Fontbonne University at 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday followed by MacMurray College at 11 a.m. (EST) and Blackburn College at 1 p.m. (EST) on Saturday. A complete schedule can be found by visiting the tournament homepage listed above.
*All times listed on the Earlham athletics website are Eastern Standard Time. Jacksonville, Illinois and Illinois College are located in the Central Standard Time Zone.
The Team: Earlham is coming off of a 6-24 season which marks the program's highest wins total since the 2012 season. The Quakers are still in search of their first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) victory after falling to Mount St. Joseph University in five sets at Schuckman Court last season. Greenville finished 25-8 in 2016 and qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament while Fontbonne tallied a 13-16 campaign. MacMurray finished last season 5-29 while Blackburn turned in a 1-27 season.
The Coaches: Lauren Horton enters her fourth year at Earlham and third season leading the volleyball program. The IU-East alumnae was a four-year starting setter for the Red Wolves and a three-time All-American. She holds the distinction of being the NAIA's all-time assists leader for the rally-scoring era. Tom Ackerman has been Greenville's head volleyball coach since 2002 and was promoted to director of athletics prior to the 2017-18 academic year. Meredith Heater has been Fontbonne's head women's volleyball coach for five seasons while Danielle Doerfler is also entering her sixth season at MacMurray. Finally, Jim Huntstein enters his second season leading the Blackburn volleyball program.
The Players: Junior Ashleigh Burton, Earlham's first-ever First Team All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) selection, led the team with 374 kills and a .220 attack percentage. The Indianapolis, Indiana, native was also stellar defensively having led the squad in blocks with 45. Junior libero Megan Hedinger broke the single-season record for digs with 525 last year. Allyson Mitchell led the Panthers offensively with 421 kills in 2016 while Kristina Easton is the Griffins' top returning offensive threat having tallied 267 kills and 297 digs as a sophomore. Olivia Wall tallied 254 kills as a freshman for MacMurray last year while Jensen Ballinger dished out 348 for the Beavers.
Recent History: Earlham is a combined 0-2 against the four St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLAIC) opponents the Quakers will face this weekend. Earlham fell to Fontbonne last season and to Greenville during the 2013 season.
Coverage: Live statistics of all contests will be available – visit the link above.
Social Media: Earlham athletics is represented on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@Earlham Quakers). The Quakers also have a mobile application (Earlham Athletics Front Row) available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
Up Next: Earlham travels to Central State (Ohio) on Wednesday, Sept. 6 before returning home for the Quaker Classic next weekend.