2015 Mount Union Volleyball Preview: No. 14 Purple Raiders Open Season Tuesday Night

2015 Mount Union Volleyball Preview: No. 14 Purple Raiders Open Season Tuesday Night

ALLIANCE, Ohio- The No. 14-ranked Mount Union volleyball team enters the 2015 season with high energy and expectations to have a great season.

Melissa Mahnke, who takes over as head coach of the Purple Raiders after being an assistant the last four years, says their 2015 season is going to be an exciting one.

"We graduated seven seniors from last year's squad, so this team knows they must step up and follow the tradition this program has established."

The loss of the large senior class is a reason Mount Union is picked third in the OAC preseason coaches poll but that does not bother Mahnke.

"This is a very young team, but they believe no one will out work them," stated the coach. "This 2015 team is ready to come out and show everyone what they are capable of this year."

On defense, Mount Union will be led by senior Abby Riffee (Mineral Ridge/Mineral Ridge), who played in 69 matches each of the past two years.  A year ago, she finished second on the team in digs with 277.

Elise Nickoli (Monroeville/Norwalk St. Paul) and Cece Barrett (University Heights/Hathaway Brown) are also returning defensive specialists for this 2015 season.

Offensively, junior Caitlyn Synek (Independence/Independence) and sophomore Morgan Chapman (Seven Fields, Pa./Seneca Valley) will play a big roles on the Raiders. Synek played in 33 matches this past season and finished third on the team with 54 blocks, while Chapman played in 16 matches last year as a freshman.

Also offensively, returning hitters Brooke Knollman (Powell/Olentangy Liberty), Mallory Sliman (Amherst/Amherst Steele), and Emma Mathieson (Tallmadge/Tallmadge) are looking to fill the void left in Mount Union's attack.

As for filling the spots of two senior setters, Kelly Johnson (McMurray, Pa./Peters Township) and Riley Schenk (Lorain/Amherst Steele) are two returners ready to in line for those spots.

The Raiders kick off their 2015 season at home on Tuesday, September 1 at 7:00 PM in the MAAC.  There will be a live statistics feed of the match online at athletics.mountunion.edu.