The Lincoln College Women’s Volleyball team has been practicing for a little over a week and Head Coach Mark Tippet is impressed by what he has seen so far. Tippett, who is entering his 19th season at the helm of the LC volleyball program, is pleased with the mix of experience and athleticism he has on the 2019 version of the Lady Lynx.
“We returned our entire starting lineup from last year and have added several experienced transfer players, so we have been able to get to a more advanced stage quicker than we would if we had a younger team,” said Tippett. “Our scrimmages have been intense and the skill level is very high,” he added.
Three of the team’s returning starters are graduates of Lincoln Community High School. Kaylyn Hoffert, Hannah Cameron and Morgan Lolling will all continue their careers playing in front of a hometown crowd. Hoffert, who is a senior and the team captain, is coming off of shoulder surgery on her hitting arm and will see limited duty in the early going this season.
“Kaylyn has been working very hard to get herself ready for the season,” said Tippett. “We hope to get her cleared to begin hitting very soon. In the meantime, she will be limited to backrow play.”
Hannah Cameron, who is also entering her senior year, was a consistent performer for the team last season at both the right side and outside hitter positions; while Morgan Lolling will return to the lineup as a setter in the team’s 6-2 offense. Hoffert, Cameron and Lolling have also been joined by another LCHS grad, Josalyn Owens, who transferred to LC after playing two seasons at Carl Sandburg College (NJCAA). Owens should see time at the outside hitter position, a spot she played at Sandburg where she helped the Chargers to two straight appearances at the NJCAA DII National Tournament.
Five more seniors will anchor the LC lineup include middle hitter Elysa Smith (Metamora), setter Emma Derry (Augusta), right side hitters Mikayla Seibert (Mackinaw) and Mattie Geise (Highland Park) and setter Victoria Arriola (Romeoville). Smith was a team leader in blocks in 2019 while Derry compiled the most assists. Seibert and Geise have been offensive stars for the Lady Lynx for three seasons and they figure to be among the team leaders in kills again this year. Victoria Arriola is making a return to the program after graduating from LC in 2013. During her time as a Lady Lynx at the JUCO level, Arriola was a two-time assists leader as a setter.
The lone returning junior on the roster this season is libero Megan Gilliam of Waterloo, Illinois. Gilliam led the team in digs in 2018 and is ready to resume her role as a primary passer for Lincoln in serve receive.
In addition to the familiar faces returning to the court for Coach Tippett, several new players will be looking to add their talents to the team. Among them will be sophomore middle hitter Amazing Ashby (Aurora, CO) who was unable to compete last season as she recovered from knee surgery, but this year is healthy and has been quite impressive during the preseason.
The Lady Lynx lineup will feature three other new additions to the team by way of transfer from community colleges. The new faces include Ashlyn Slater (Grain Valley, MO), Kayla Battle (Aurora) and Tyra Luckett (Chigago). Slater, a 5’9” outside hitter who played two seasons at Longview Community College in Kansas City, brings a powerful jump serve to the team and is a dynamic hitter on the pins. Middle hitter Kaya Battle is a 6’0” tall middle hitter from Waubonsee CC where last season she was second on her team in kills and number one in blocks. Tyra Luckett was a standout performer at Malcom X College before her transfer to Lincoln. Luckett has been seeing time in the preseason as an outside hitter, but can play any of the front row positions well.
The 2019 Lady Lynx will kick off their second season as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with a home match on August 20th at 6:30 PM against Indiana University Northwest (NAIA). LC will look to improve upon their 2018 record of 17-17, and have high hopes of moving on in post-season play as 2019 will be the first season in which the team will be post-season eligible.
“We learned a lot last year playing an NAIA varsity schedule, but it was odd to not have a post season,” said Tippett. “I know our players, especially the seniors, are excited about the chance to play for the opportunity to go the Nationals, and I am confident we have the talent to go far.”
For more information on the Lincoln College Volleyball team and to find the season schedule, please visit www.lincolnlynxsports.com.