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The Nicholls State University volleyball program will start the 2023 season under first-year head coach Jonea Rima in Huntsville, Texas at the Bearkat Invitational Tournament hosted by Sam Houston State University (Aug. 25-26). First serve for the Colonels will be against the Bearkats on Friday at 9 a.m. The Red & Gray will then battle Portland at 2 p.m. and Oral Roberts on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Offensively, the three most productive returners are Vinzant (252 kills), sophomore outside hitter Mackenzie Pryor(164 kills), and Dixon (145 kills).
The Red & Gray attack will be paced by setters Taylor Heeb (4.87 a/s) and Kendall Battistella (3.29 a/s) who look to replace Lilly Bivens who registered nearly half of the Colonels’ assists last season (607 total).
Defensively, the Red & Gray are looking to replace middle blocker S’mara Riley who set the new single season record for blocks by a Colonel (124). Dixon and Pryor used their height to their advantage and finished last season with 82 and 41 blocks, respectively. Senior middle blocker Jhayla Bolden will also provide reinforcements from the inside.
With the departure of seven players including five starters Nicholls lost 61% of the team’s digs with Vinzant (351 total) being the main producer coming back. The Colonels have to find a way to replace libero Kadie Becnel who tallied 437 digs and earned Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week once. Looking to fill that void will be sophomore defensive specialist Gabrielle Barth, who saw time as libero in her 21 matches as a rookie.