By Ryne Rickman, UT Martin Sports Information Director
MARTIN, Tenn. – Fall camp for the University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball program began today as the 2022 version of the squad held a spirited practice at Skyhawk Fieldhouse.
UT Martin returns four starters from last fall although all 10 returners cracked the starting lineup at least once in 2021. Head coach Jaclynn Wilson enters her eighth season at the helm as the Skyhawks are coming off its winningest Ohio Valley Conference campaign in nearly two decades.
Highlighting the UT Martin returners are a pair of All-OVC selections from last season in Karen Scanlon (first team) and Olivia Saunders (second team). A graduate from Scottsdale, Ariz., Scanlon topped the Skyhawks in kills (324, 2.68 per set) and blocks (112, 0.93 per set) last fall and enters the 2022 season with 789 kills on a .243 career hitting percentage. Saunders stood out during her junior season at UT Martin in 2021, piling up 212 kills (2.14 per set) on a team-best .273 attack percentage while swatting away 90 blocks (0.91 per set).
Junior setter Haeleigh Paulino also returns after she was one of two Skyhawks to play in all 121 sets a year ago, leading the OVC with 39 service aces to go along with a team-best 725 assists. Rounding out the returning starters is redshirt senior Logan Wallick, who owns 693 career kills and was an All-OVC selection in 2019.
A trio of valuable defensive performers additionally return. Dylan Mott (11) and Kayla Carrell (three) combined to start 14 matches at the libero position last year. Mott’s 195 digs (2.91 per set) in OVC play paced the squad as a freshman while Carrell more than doubled her career dig total during her junior campaign – scooping up 201 digs while playing all 71 sets against OVC opposition. Redshirt sophomore Zoe Merriweather ranked second in the OVC with 1.11 blocks per set out of the middle blocker position in 2021.
Sophomore setter/opposite hitter Addy Vaughn (two double-doubles last season) joins outside hitters Audrey Haworth and Kambree Lucas (each with 41 kills in 2021) as returners who saw playing time last season. Kristin Phillips and Hannah Haislip also come back after redshirting as true freshmen last fall.
Seven newcomers are set to make their UT Martin debuts in 2022, four of which bring along collegiate experience. Ryan Rednour joins the Skyhawks after seeing playing time in 39 matches (10 starts) at Southern Illinois while Angel Baylark was a first team All-American at Iowa Central Community College last season. Mary Leslie Cranford enters the fold after slamming down a team-best 263 kills (2.86 per set) at Itawamba Community College last fall. Olivia O’Keefe also transfers to UT Martin from Tusculum University, where she played beach volleyball in each of the last two seasons.
Kayla Bryant (Sacred Heart Academy) and Mia Saenz (Bryan Station High School) join the Skyhawks from prestigious prep programs in the Bluegrass State while Anna Gover completes the freshman class out of nearby Covington High School.
UT Martin officially opens the 2022 campaign in 16 days as the Skyhawks take on Radford and IUPUI on Aug. 26 in Richmond, Ky.
Graphic courtesy of UT Martin Sports Information