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'Our breakthrough year': Returners hope to lead Indiana volleyball to winning record

The Hoosiers hope to improve on their .500 record from last season

As the 2023 season begins for Indiana volleyball, the Hoosiers hope key returners can lead them to a winning record. 

The 2022 Hoosiers went 16-16 (9-11 Big Ten), just shy of a winning season. Indiana finished eighth in the conference. 

Several players who helped the 2022 team to those wins, and many are back for this season. The ones mentioned by head coach Steve Aird especially are Camryn Haworth, Savannah Kjolhede and Grae Gosnell.

The most notable is Haworth, setter and team captain. During the 2022 season, Haworth became “one of the best hitters and greatest setters in the Big Ten,” Aird said. With 1,111 assists, 290 digs, 127 kills and 56 blocks, she helped lead the Hoosiers in the Big Ten with 49 service aces and a team-high 10 double-doubles.

Aird said Haworth “didn't set for the club and she didn’t serve for the club, but when we brought her to IU that is exactly what we had her do.” 

Aird said he hopes Haworth takes a big jump in everything this season, both in leadership and play.

By becoming a team captain only as a sophomore, Haworth has the experience to lead again during her junior year. Her main goal this season is to focus on her leadership skills. 

Another key member of the Indiana squad is senior middle blocker Kjolhede. Kjolhede is a vital player who was an Academic All-Big Ten Selection and played all 32 matches. She tallied 215 kills and holds the ninth-best single-season hitting percentage in Indiana volleyball history. 

The senior said she was excited to begin her final season.

“I was very eager to grow in the program,” Kjolhede said. “I think that being able to see it grow over the past four years has been amazing. I think this is great and our breakthrough year, it's just how it's gonna happen. It has to.” 

Aird described Gosnell, the outside hitter and defensive specialist, as “big energy.” He also said Gosnell is “the athlete you find every once in a while where the school means everything to them.” 

With a lot of heart and a lot of talent, Gosnell was an Academic All Big-Ten selection as a junior, playing 29 games and starting eight games. Building on her previous season, she holds a key place in team members’ and coaches' minds.

“Coach Aird likes to say that her hair is always on fire," Haworth said. 

These returning players alongside the influx of new faces on the IU team strengthen the chances of winning a record for the 2023 season.

This season, the Hoosiers will face a vigorous line-up of Big Ten teams. They will open the season facing New Hampshire, Southern Indiana and Radford this weekend at the Indiana Invitational. 

With both new and returning players, the Hoosiers could take some major strides. 

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