EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College volleyball team began preparation for the second season of the Becca Idell coaching era Saturday morning at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. Six newcomers will join 10 returning letterwinners, six of which were starters, to give the Red Devils a roster of 16 student-athletes in 2017.
Eureka will have more than two weeks of practice prior to the start of the season. Six players that appeared in at least 20 matches in 2016 are back this fall, including seniors Meagan Hanney (Sherman, Ill./Williamsville H.S.) and Beth Mickna (Deer Creek, Ill./Dee-Mack H.S.). Hanney enters her final collegiate campaign with 1,051 career assists, 10th-most in program history. Mickna provides one of the Red Devils' top options in the front row, ranking third in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 27 solo blocks in 2016.
Also returning for Eureka are juniors Jordan Detmers (Hartsburg, Hartsburg-Emdeb H.S.), Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) and Heather Robinson (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S.). Detmers led the Red Devils and ranked seventh in the SLIAC with 389 digs last season, while Dooley led the team with 29 service aces and ranked second on the Red Devils with 214 kills. Robinson is a dual threat for EC, ranking ninth in the league in 2016 with 533 assists and also compiling 179 kills and 230 digs.
Eureka was picked seventh in the SLIAC in a poll conducted by league head coaches earlier this month. The Red Devils are aiming to return to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2009.
The Red Devils will begin their 43rd season in program history on Monday, Sept. 4 against USCAA St. Mary-of-the-Woods (Ind.) inside Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena at 6 p.m. The league opener comes two days later on the road on Sept. 6 against reigning SLIAC champion Greenville. Twenty-six matches are on the 2017 schedule, including 18 SLIAC matches and 10 home contests.