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Illinois volleyball stock up on outsides with class of 2017

Illinois+head+coach+Kevin+Hambly+talks+to+his+team+after+the+match+against+Northwestern+at+Huff+Hall+on+Saturday%2C+October+15.+The+Illini+won+3-0.
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Illinois volleyball stock up on outsides with class of 2017

Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly talks to his team after the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly talks to his team after the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

Austin Yattoni

Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly talks to his team after the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

Austin Yattoni

Austin Yattoni

Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly talks to his team after the match against Northwestern at Huff Hall on Saturday, October 15. The Illini won 3-0.

By Jacob Diaz, Staff writer

Illinois volleyball head coach Kevin Hambly signed five new players to replace its seven outgoing seniors Wednesday.

The Class of 2017 definitely has a theme, and that is height. Of the five players signed, the shortest is 6-foot-2, and two measure in at 6-foot-four — taller than anyone currently on the team.

In addition to making the team taller, Hambly signed four outside hitters, all of whom he expects to develop into six-rotation players in their time at Illinois.

The other incoming freshmen is a middle blocker who will likely join Blayke Hranicka in filling the role of the departing Katie Stadick.

The class greatly bolsters the Illini’s roster at outside hitter, where they will be losing Naya Crittenden and Michelle Strizak, but it does leave them with considerably fewer back line options.

While the three new six-rotation players will help and Jacqueline Quade could go back to being a six-rotation herself, the Illini are losing three dedicated defensive specialists to graduation and have no back line players coming in. This will put pressure on the inexperienced Annika Gereau and Kendal Kavanaugh to step up and join Brandi Donnelly and Caroline Welsh in the defense next year.

 

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@Jacob_Diaz31

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