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Libero Ramsey Gary (right) celebrates with Candela Alonso-Corcelles during the Cream and Crimson scrimmage on Aug. 19, 2023 at Wilkinson Hall in Bloomington, IN. (Photo By Pearson Georges/Indiana Athletics)
Libero Ramsey Gary (right) celebrates with Candela Alonso-Corcelles during the Cream and Crimson scrimmage on Aug. 19, 2023 at Wilkinson Hall in Bloomington, IN. (Photo By Pearson Georges/Indiana Athletics)

Welcome to Indiana: Hoosier volleyball's new faces

Transfers and true freshmen supply the Hoosiers with a mix of experience and potential

Between true freshmen, transfers and coaches, there are six new faces within the volleyball program. 

The new additions provide talent in multiple positions and a sense of depth that the Hoosiers haven’t felt in a while. 

“This is the first time in my head coaching career, I think, where I really believe that if we have an injury somewhere, we'll still be pretty good,” Indiana head coach Steve Aird said. “It won't be like we fall off the table.”

With just one week until the season officially starts, here’s a little bit about each of the newcomers:


Luca Fickell

Fickell is a 6-foot-1 setter from Cincinnati, Ohio. She’s tough and hard-working, which may be partially credited to the home she grew up in. She has five brothers and is the only girl — and football fans may know her dad, Luke, who is the head football coach at Big Ten rival, Wisconsin. 

She came in during the summer and immediately started working. 

“She is way ahead of where I thought she’d be,” Aird said. “She works hard, comes in early and stays late. She’s my home-run type of kid to have on a team. I’m excited about where she goes and how she develops. I would never have thought she’d be ready to play in this conference from the jump and she might be.”

Returning junior setter Camryn Haworth is still expected to start for the Hoosiers this season, but Fickell provides the team with much-needed depth at the position. 

Ava Vickers poses during a photoshoot. (Photo By Pearson Georges/Indiana Athletics)

Ava Vickers

Vickers is listed as a 6-foot middle blocker from Fishers, Indiana. She was on the Fishers High School team with Haworth and played club for Munciana with Haworth, Carly Mills and fellow freshman Ramsey Gary. 

Her competitive nature especially stands out, as she won three consecutive AAU 18 Open National Championships prior to this season. She was ranked as the No. 3 recruit in Indiana, per PrepDig. Despite being slightly undersized for a middle blocker, she demonstrates a lot of potential on the court. 

“She’s maybe the fastest kid I’ve ever coached laterally,” Aird said. “She plays a different style of volleyball than a lot of kids you have. She’s very tough and very competitive. She won three straight National Championships in the club world, so she’s coming in not being very scared of anything.”

Ramsey Gary

Gary is a 5-foot-7 libero that is likely to take over the starting role. An Indiana native, Gary is the second player in program history to be selected as a 2023 Under Armour All-American. 

“All of the accolades that Ramsey has are well-deserved,” Aird said. “I think she’s the top libero in that class coming into college, period. I think it’s going to be really hard for me not to start her. I won’t promise that now, but I can’t see a scenario where she’s not our starting libero and that’s been the plan since we recruited her.”

She’s another tough player who sees the importance of work. 

“She is absolutely as tough as it comes,” Aird said. “She’s no bullsh*t, she plays hard and is already bossing people around before she’s even played a match in college. She just has the it-factor in a lot of ways. She’s in early and comes in at lunch. She’s not afraid of working. I think that’s probably why she’s become pretty darn good early in her career.”

Aird added that she’ll likely have to carry a big workload, but she’s built for it.


Avry Tatum (Soph.)

Tatum is a 6-foot-2 opposite/middle blocker from California. Last season she played for Cincinnati, starting 18 matches on the right side. She accumulated 215 kills, 58 digs and 37 blocks during her freshman campaign. 

“We thought she was on track to potentially be Freshman of the Year in that conference before she got mono in November,” Aird said. “She’s really good. She has a big-time arm. She’s well ahead of where I thought she’d be when she came in.” 

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Middle blocker Avry Tatum of the Indiana Hoosiers is pictured during the Cream and Crimson scrimmage at on Aug. 19, 2023 at Wilkinson Hall in Bloomington, IN. (Photo By Pearson Georges/Indiana Athletics)

Aird has been following Tatum’s career for a long time. She played for Indiana associate head coach Rachel Morris in high school and played for new Indiana assistant Kevin Hodge in club. When Tatum decided she wanted to transfer and play at a higher level, Aird jumped at the chance to get her to the Hoosiers. 

“She wanted to take a jump in (competition) and we were looking for another arm, so it worked out,” Aird said. 

Aird also noted that her versatility could provide new approaches for the team to take this season. 

“She can play in the middle and she’s really good off of one foot,” Aird said. “You could have a scenario where you’re starting her with the two middles and starting three middles. That’s a whole different approach we could take.”

While there’s still time to evaluate the newcomers, Aird is feeling confident in Tatum’s talent heading into the season.

“Avry might start,” Aird said. “She's got elite arm talent. She might be one of the best attackers we have on the team. It’s just seeing where we can slide her in and how it works.”

Natalia Hagopian (Soph.)

Hagopian is a 5-foot-10 setter who transferred last spring from Northeastern. She played in seven matches for the Huskies and had 57 assists and 20 digs during her time in Boston. 

Morris knew of her from the club world, so Indiana was able to take on another familiar player to the staff. 

“She’s a really, really experienced kid,” Aird said. “She’s easily able to step in and set if we need her.”

He noted that although she’s listed at 5-foot-10, that may be a stretch, and she likely won’t be playing up front for the Hoosiers. 


Kevin Hodge

The last new addition isn’t a player — Hodge is the newest assistant coach for Indiana and joined the Hoosiers after spending 18 years in the club volleyball world, most recently in California. 

He played for Penn State’s volleyball team with Aird and the pair was able to play in three Final Fours together. Additionally, he coached with Morris in the past, so this opportunity was perfect for Hodge. 

“It was an easy decision to move from San Diego to Bloomington, if anybody’s ever said that ever,” Hodge said. 

Aird had coached with Hodge before, which made this transition even easier. He knew that Hodge would fit in perfectly in Bloomington. 

“He’s trained some of the best club players in the country, a lot of kids who have gone to some of the best schools in the country,” Aird said of Hodge. “He has a good eye. The other thing is because he had been a GA with the Penn State women's program towards the end of his college playing career, we already knew he watched every one of our matches last year. He knows the team, he knows the girls. He'd been working camps for the last few years. He's always been really connected to whatever job I had. It was a very seamless transition.” 

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