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Redbird Volleyball Sets Bar High ahead of 2019 Season

Written by on August 23, 2019

The 2019 Redbird Volleyball Team (Photo Courtesy Anthony Ferretti/WZND).

NORMAL – Competition and Drive: that’s Redbird Volleyball’s mindset heading into the upcoming season with a young but determined squad.

Head Coach Leah Johnson helped lead the program to a 25-8 record in her second season at the helm of the Redbirds. Those 25 wins helped them earn a regular season conference championship and an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. The Redbird team that returned to the court a couple weeks ago may have a different look, but expectations remain the same.

“I’m excited about our standard. I believe the entire team is working to meet the standard that team’s in the years past have set,” said Coach Johnson. “The work ethic in the gym is very high, the camaraderie in the gym is really high…There’s a lot to look forward to.”

ISU will get the chance to showcase their talents when they take on Illinois, UCF, and Marquette at Redbird Arena. The 4 teams will compete in the Redbird Classic beginning Friday September 13th until Sunday September 15th.

Kaylee Martin and Stef Jankiewicz were named to the Preseason All-MVC First Team. In her first season with ISU, Martin was named to the All-MVC First Team along with Jankiewicz and led the Redbirds with just over 3 kills per set. Jankiewicz was named to the MVC Setter of the Year while starting in all 35 matches. The Junior also became the second fastest player to reach the ISU Top-10 in assists.

Coming off of a Regular Season Co-Conference Championship, the Redbirds are picked to finish 2nd in the Missouri Valley this season behind the UNI Panthers. ISU hopes to have a repeat season based on the success they had last season.

“As a core we all kind of stepped up to fill different positions. We’re really excited with the competitive drive that we have right now,” said Jankiewicz. “No matter what age group it is on the court we all have that same chemistry and that same feeling to win and I think that’s what will make us so successful in the fall.”

The Redbirds head to Chicago for an exhibition match against the Depaul Blue Demons Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

Anthony Ferretti Contributed to this Story