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ASU’s starting line-up projections

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With the start of the season just days away, head coach Jason Watson doesn’t have a formation picked out for the team to run, let alone a starting line-up.

There are two potential formations that the team could run: a 5-1 and 6-2.  Both have their advantages, and Watson believes that they can win with either system.

In a 5-1 formation there is one setter on the court.  This means that at times, when the setter is in the back row, there are three front row attackers.  However, when the setter is in the front row, there are only two front row attackers alongside her.

A 6-2 formation is a little different. The team plays two setters who essentially split time as starters. At all times the setter is in the back row and there are always three front row attackers. Depending on the team, the front row setter either gets subbed out of the game for a prototypical front row player or stays in herself and plays as a front row player, typically an opposite.

Very few things are set in stone, but there are a few things that are certain no matter which formation Watson decides to go with. In both formations, Macey Gardner is the number one outside hitter.

“It comes as no surprise that Macey is dialed in on the left side,” Watson said.

Gardner led the team with 577 kills last year.  The second outside hitter position is one that is up for grabs, but based on practices and the M&G game, it looks as though freshman McKenzie Willey will get the nod as the number two outside hitter.

The two middle blocker positions seem to be set as well.

“Mercedes Binns and Whitney Follette are the two most likely candidates to play in the middle,” Watson said.

Watson went on to say that Andi Lowrance has been playing well and should see some time. Julia Katolik is out for the season with a knee injury.

Middle blockers will not play in the back row; instead, defensive specialist Stephanie Preach will get the starting libero spot and spend the entire game in the back row.

Freshman BreElle Bailey has also earned her spot in the line-up as the starting opposite hitter.

“Bree Bailey has certainly solidified herself on the right side,” Watson said.

The second opposite hitter position will only come into play if Watson ends up running a 6-2 and decides to sub out his setters while doing so.  That position is still up for grabs, but based on practices it looks like Kwyn Johnson would get the spot.

If Watson decides on running a 5-1, Allison Palmer will be the starting setter. As a freshman last year, Palmer set the ASU single season assist record. If Watson runs 6-2, Palmer will be one of the setters and the other will be Bianca Arellano.   Arellano played at the University of Tennessee last season as a freshman and was second on the team in assists.



Outside Hitter 1: Gardner

Outside Hitter 2: Willey

Opposite Hitter 1: Bailey

Opposite Hitter 2: Johnson

Middle Blocker 1: Binns

Middle Blocker 2: Follette

Setter 1: Palmer

Setter 2: Arellano

Libero: Preach


Outside Hitter 1: Gardner

Outside Hitter 2: Willey

Opposite Hitter: Bailey

Middle Blocker 1: Binns

Middle Blocker 2: Follette

Setter: Palmer

Libero: Preach

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