Season Preview: Setters

Freshmen duo look to lead MT offense in 2012

August 20, 2012 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Last season, the Blue Raiders had three players average over six assists per set.  In 2012, a pair of freshmen - Shelby Anderton and Alyssa Ivey - are vying to be the distributor in Middle Tennessee's offense.

"Last year we had young setters, so it's not like we're not used to it," said head coach Matt Peck. "I think offensively we're good enough to compensate for setter youth right now, but we're expecting more of the setters here. We have some guns and we need to able to get them the ball in our system so we're just working through the bugs that way."

The two freshmen come to campus with numerous high school  accolades. Ivey led Ravenwood High School to back-to-back Tennessee Class AAA state titles in 2010 and 2011. She was named to the All Mid-State First Team three times, All-State first team twice, and was the 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee. Anderton earned All-State honors three times at Evangelical Christian School, which won the Tennessee Division II Class A state title in 2009. Both players bring different skill sets to this year's Middle Tennessee volleyball team.

"Shelby's taller and it's easier to hit off a taller setter, especially in the middle," Peck added. "Alyssa is more experienced as a setter. They're both good athletes and good volleyball players, so we're going to experiment a little."

For Anderton and Ivey, the first two weeks of practice have given the duo the chance to acclimate themselves to the faster collegiate game.

"Here you need the same speed on the ball every time," noted Anderton. "We run a lot of new plays that we haven't run before. You need to connect with new hitters, people you've never set to before."

"The players are more athletic and can jump a lot higher, so you got to get them the ball in a different way than in high school," added Ivey.

The Blue Raiders' scrimmage on Saturday gave both setters a taste of the match setting, which they found very useful with the season set to start Friday.

"It felt good to be in the match situation and put it all together," said Ivey. "Instead of setting to targets, we got to set to our hitters."

With four days until the start of the season, Peck is still working on what to do with the freshmen setting duo.

"Honestly, we're going to mix it up some the first weekend. We have the opportunity here to see what's working best chemistry-wise, who can get the ball to hot hitters, and see how the hitters do when we change setters. We have a lot of options and that's good with two young players."

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