1) Who is Elizabeth Koberstein going to be passing to?
In 2012, Koberstein averaged 11.64 assists per set last season, which was the best mark in the Big East and 10th best in the country. Here's the problem: now departed seniors Danielle Carlson, Kelsey Mattai, and Holly Mertens combined to average 7.83 kills per set. That's a HUGE chunk of Koberstein's assists that are now off the table. Lindsay Gosh and Erin Lehman return after averaging 2.77 and 2.52 kills/set respectively in 2012, but their effectiveness on the attack is going to be dependent on someone - and really, multiple someones - stepping forward to grab the points that are available. The good news is that both Gosh and Lehman are examples of young players under Shymansky's guidance who made a huge jump in performance from freshman to sophomore year (Gosh) or made an impact immediately upon arriving on campus (Lehman). The really good news is that Courtney Mrotek (2.11 kills/set in 2011) should be returning after missing all of 2012 due to injury.
2) Can Julie Jeziorowski become untouchable?
In the first set of the 2012 Big East tournament semifinals, Jeziorowski passed Jamie Mueller's 1,567 career digs to become Marquette's all time digs leader. She finished the year with 1,650 career digs, giving her a comfortable margin over Mueller and a full senior season yet to play. Jeziorowski already owns the top two single season digs marks in Marquette history after being the only player in MU history to ever break 600 digs in a season each of the last two years. Heck, to give you an idea of what she's the only player to ever break 518 digs in a season. The old saying is "Records are made to be broken," but if Jeziorowski puts up another 600 digs, it's going to be a long, long time before Marquette volleyball sees another libero with this kind of dominance.
3) Is this an NCAA Tournament team?
Obviously, this one has a little bit of a connection to the first question. If reliable attackers don't emerge, the answer here is going to be a resounding 'no.' But it would appear that developing hitters to go along with a deep defensive corps and one of the best setters in the country is not that much of a concern to Shymansky. If he were worried about it, there wouldn't be six 2012 NCAA Tournament teams on the non-conference schedule, and there definitely wouldn't be three of those matches to open the season. Is part of Shymansky's scheduling compensating for not having teams like Louisville and Notre Dame on the slate? Sure. But there's scheduling smart and then there's scheduling tough, which is what it looks like Marquette has done for 2013. We will have to see if it pays off with a third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.