The DePauw volleyball team hopes to find their footing quickly as they open play Friday to begin the new season.
The Tigers lose a number of key players to graduation but also bring back players who saw considerable playing time in 2015. They finished 19-11 overall last season with a 5-3 record in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Wittenberg defeated them in the NCAC Championship final to conclude their season.
Key departures include Keely McGrath, Faith Rolwes and Lauren Falotico.
McGrath was the team's main libero, piling up a team-high 638 digs last season and earning an All-America honorable mention by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She left as the program's all-time digs leader at 2,455.
She also earned All-Region honors along with Rolwes. Rolwes led DePauw with 1,113 assists to go along with her 143 kills and 291 digs.
Falotico led the Tigers with 348 kills last season.
Wilson appeared in all 30 games in 2015 and returns after tallying 291 kills and a team-high 118 total blocks. Lenderman also saw action in all 30 games and returns as the team leader in digs at 389.
In 29 matches, Burge made 137 kills, 63 digs and 38 blocks. Braun made 74 digs in 19 matches.
More key returnees include Emily Beckes, Suzanne Peters and Haley Bitzer. Beckes made 248 digs in 30 contests last season; Peters returns as the leading attacker with 312 kills; and Bitzer made 156 kills, 74 total blocks and 21 digs in 2015.
New faces should emerge as freshmen make up half of the team's roster.
DePauw starts the year at the Baden Invitational at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. and will face Edgewood, Washington (Mo.), Rose-Hulman and Hanover this coming Friday and Saturday.
They will have three other invitationals to compete in, including their own at DePauw on Sept. 16-17. Their first home match is Sept. 14 against Thomas More, and their first NCAC match is a home meet against Allegheny on Sept. 24.
Deb Zellers (DePauw '92) returns for her 23rd year as head coach of her alma mater. She recorded her 500th win last season and holds a 504-256 record at DePauw.