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Marquette Volleyball 2017 Season Preview: The Newcomers

Marquette brings in nine fresh faces as they look to make an immediate impact on the court.

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The 2017 Marquette volleyball team will feature nine new faces this season as they look to appear in their seventh straight NCAA tournament appearance. The team opens up their season with three matches against opponents all featured in the AVCA top 25. Head coach Ryan Theis has the No. 21 ranked recruiting class in the country and will have his hands full with a very young roster featuring seven freshman and two transfers. Lets take a look at the new faces on the roster.

Middle

Marquette fans already know the starting middle spot will go to Jenna Rosenthal this upcoming season as she was chosen to the Preseason All-Big East team, but Ryan Theis brings in two backups in freshman Elizabeth Orf and sophomore transfer Sandy Mohr. The roster has these two women listed as middle blockers, so Theis may bring them in for defensive purposes, but that is doubtful as Rosenthal approaches the all time blocks record this season. Orf is listed at 6-3 and comes from St. Louis, Missouri. She was listed as the No. 39 prospect on the PrepVolleyball Senior Ace list and was named as a PrepVolleyball Club All-American. Orf owns the all time kills record at Villa Duchesne High School in St. Louis with over 1,100 career kills.

[Editor’s note: I am ready and waiting for all of the Elizabeth Orf highlights.]

Mohr is sophomore transfer student from Evangel University. She stands at 6 feet four inches tall and was ranked as the No. 37 player in the PrepVolleyball Senior Ace list in 2016. Mohr, a native of Muskego, Wisconsin, averaged 2.24 kills and .93 blocks per set last season at Evangel and looks to provide some more offense off the bench. She is a late addition to the roster, apparently replacing transfer Kayli Trausch, who is not on the roster even though Marquette announced her arrival in April.

Outside

Preseason All Big East Player Allie Barber will start on the outside, likely along with Madeline Mosher. Ryan Theis brought in three freshman and a transfer student this offseason, though, so he has options when it comes to replacing Taylor Louis’ historic volume of attacks. Kortlyn Henderson is a freshman from Waco, Texas. Standing at 6-1, Henderson was featured as a top 250 PrepVolleyball Senior Ace during her senior year and set a record for most kills in a game in 2016.

Hope Werch is a 6-1 incoming freshman out of Neenah, Wisconsin. She was ranked as the No. 78 player on PrepVolleyball’s Senior Ace list as she recorded 1,918 career kills and 1,543 digs career digs. Werch also hit an outstanding .322 while being named to Honorable Mention list on the Under Armour All-American roster, and given her recruiting ranking, you’d have to guess that she has a shot at becoming the focal point of the Marquette offense this season to replace Louis.

Anna Haak is the transfer student in the group, trading in the University of Miami and Coral Gables for Milwaukee in the winter. It’s not that weird, though, as the 5-11 Haak hails from Angelholm, Sweden. In her two years at Miami, Haak tallied 3.21 kills per set and 2.36 digs per game. She was on the Swedish senior national team in 2014 and 2015. Look for her to get plenty of playing time behind Madeline Mosher.

Liza Kastrup hails from Dortmund, Germany as she looks to provide from the right side for Ryan Theis. The 6-1 incoming freshman won the German National Championship in the U20 division in 2017. Kastrup was also the captain of her club team the past couple years.

Defensive Specialist

This position will most likely belong to Manon Geoffroy in the start of the season, but Ryan Theis brings in two freshman defensive specialists as he begins to plan for the future as Geoffroy is a senior. Martha Konovodoff is a 5-7 incoming freshman from Sugar Grove, Illinois. She attended Rosary High School and recorded 1,660 career digs in her four years there. Konovodoff won the 2016 AAU National Championship with her club team.

Marquette also brings in Gabbi Martinez, a 5-4 freshman from Austin, Texas. Martinez recorded 608 career digs at Westlake High School in Austin. Martinez was selected as an Honorable Mention player during the Under Armour All American selection. She also averaged 4.9 digs per set her senior year.

It would not be surprising to see one of these two women end up as Marquette’s libero this season. Geoffroy played DS along side libero Lauren Houg last year, so it would make a certain kind of sense for Theis to keep Geoffroy in her comfort zone while setting up one of his freshmen to be his libero for the next four seasons.

Setter

Finally, Ryan Theis added one setter to the roster this offseason and that’s Sarah Rose. She is a 5-7 incoming freshman from Elmhurst, Illinois and she attended York Community High School. During her four years at York Community, Rose tallied 2,605 career assists and 865 career digs. Look for her to back up Lauren Speckman as Speckman is the expected starter.

There hasn’t been any official word on this coming out of the McGuire Center as of yet, but don’t be surprised to see Marquette put at least one of their seven freshmen on a redshirt season. Given the shortage of returning veterans, Theis needs players to make an impact immediately this year, but there’s also more freshmen than there is available playing time. We may have to wait until the end of the first weekend of action to have an idea as to who might be sitting out, though. Last year, the word was that Allie Barber was going to be redshirted, but BOOM, there she was playing against USC in the opening game. She ended up as Big East Co-Freshman of the Year and Barber returns this season as a preseason All Big East honoree. Go figure, huh?

Follow the team Twitter account for game updates and news from the team.

Also follow me on Twitter @OwenBrown11_ for Marquette sports updates and takes.