Volleyball season is almost upon us, and as the women of DI volleyball prepare to face opponents, fans prepare to see certain players dominate the court yet again. While having a statistic leader on a team doesn’t give a team an easy win, it does help to have serious, talented players near the net when game day comes, and these returning leaders could assist their teams to victory in 2016.
Haleigh Washington | Penn State
Hitting Percentage: .442
Coming into her junior year as a middle blocker, Washington looks to keep her name high on the leaderboard. In 2015, she started in all of Penn States matches. Her biggest games were against Stanford, with a hitting percentage of .526; Wisconsin, with a hitting percentage .786; Michigan, with hitting percentages of .598 and .714, and Howard with a hitting percentage of .636. If she keeps this up, she may be celebrating once again with the Nittany Lions at the end of this season.
Laura Milos | Oral Roberts
Kills Per Set: 5.07, Points Per Set: 5.65
In 2015 as a sophomore outside hitter, Milos set records at Oral Roberts, posting the fourth best mark for kills in a season. She also earned First Team All-Summit League and First Team AVCA All-Midwest Region honors as well as earning the title of Summit League Offensive Player of the Week five times. Now, with over 1,000 kills for her career, she could be preparing to break more records in 2016.
Ainise Havili | Kansas
Assists Per Set: 12.13
This All-American setter remains the reigning Big 12 Setter of the Year and was a nominee for the Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year in 2015. However, 2015 was her second year of leading the Big 12 in assist per set and total assists. Her best games were posted in three sets against TCU, with 44 assists; Kansas State, with 47 assists; Missouri with 40 assists, and LMU, with 49 assists. As a junior with these numbers and previous honors, Havili looks to be poised to lead the Big 12 in assists again and bring her team to another semifinals appearance in 2016.
Kate Klepetka | Texas A&M- Corpus Christi
Digs Per Set: 6.06
As a freshman, while she only started in two of the Islanders’ 31 matches, she led the team in digs, and as a sophomore, she finished with a career total of more than 1,100 digs. This libero’s best games for digs were against UT Arlington with 34, UTRGV with 32, McNeese State with 34, Sam Houston State with 36, and SFA with 36. Poised to lead the team in digs yet again, Klepetka looks to guide her team to a successful season.
Alexis Gray | Niagara
Aces Per Set: .53
This junior setter holds a career total of 89 aces. While her team as a whole struggled last year, she was still able to stand out in games as a key player. Her best games were against Rider with five aces and Saint Peter’s with seven aces. With a little more overall improvement for the team, Gray may be able to help the Purple Eagles gain some more wins for its 2016 season.
Reed Copeland | Wyoming
Blocks Per Set: 1.68
While Reed is only coming into her sophomore year, she began her career with an impactful breakout season, starting in all but one match. Plus, in 2015, this middle blocker finished first for blocks per set and was the only freshman within the top 30 for blocks and blocks per set. Her best game was against Butler with three solo blocks. However, she also tallied up a number of block assists in most games as well. In 2016, fans could expect to see her improve and continue to top the leaderboard.
Kalei Mau | Arizona
Attacks Per Set: 13.15
Mau remained Arizona’s primary offensive weapon throughout most of 2015. However, she was forced to miss some matches due to injuries. Still, she was able to top the leaderboard, posting 74 attacks against Washington State and Texas in her two best games of the year. Coming healthily into her senior year, this outside hitter looks poised to continue her reign over attacks and help her team at a run for a championship title.
In just 10 short days, the Wildcats open the season in Kalei Mau's home state of Hawaii! pic.twitter.com/kO2n7UjQUU— Arizona Volleyball (@ArizonaVBall) August 16, 2016