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HANOVER, N.H. – With nine returnees, seven fresh faces, one new assistant coach and three consecutive weekends of tournaments to start the season, the Dartmouth volleyball team will look to open its 23-match campaign on a high note. First up for the Big Green: a trip to California. 

The 15-player roster is made up of six freshmen, six sophomores, two juniors and a lone senior. Dartmouth lost eight players to graduation, making the Class of 2017 the largest graduating class in the program’s 23-year history.

“We are excited to start the 2017 campaign,” head coach Gilad Doron said. “Seven newcomers this year makes the team have a totally different look, but we’re excited to see what they can bring to the team. We have one senior versus eight last year, which is a huge difference. We’ll have to grow very fast as a team and find new roles and new leadership among the returners and newcomers. 

It is a great opportunity to forge a new path that will benefit us in the years to come,” Doron continued. “The next month will be a great test for how our team can grow as a unit and find its identity before we start conference matches.”

Sara Lindquist makes up the entirety of the senior class. The outside hitter from Mercer Island, Washington, had a good junior season, appearing in 78 sets and ending the year fifth on the team with 109 kills. She is one of the Big Green’s three captains, serving alongside junior Zoe Leonard and sophomore Maddy Schoenberger.

Joining the Big Green in 2017 are six freshmen: Tola Akinwumi, Mallen Bischoff, Lauren Douglas, Olympia Nagel-Caland, Elise Petit and Leeza Poselski. Also donning the green and white uniform for the first time is Tori Dozier, a sophomore transfer from North Carolina State.

Doron is entering his second year at the helm of the Dartmouth program. He is joined by assistant coaches Eyal Zimet – also in his second season – and Marissa Prinzbach, who joins the Big Green after spending a season as a graduate assistant at Franklin Pierce.

Dartmouth will play 23 matches in the span of two months, with 11 of those taking place at Leede Arena. As they do every season, the Green will open the year with three consecutive multi-day tournaments. They will kick off the year at the Cal Classic before hosting the Dartmouth Invitational. Tournament play will end at UNH’s invite. After that, the Big Green will play 14 Ivy League matches, wrapping up the season in early November.

During his first season as Dartmouth’s head coach, Doron led the Green to an eighth-place finish in the league. Throughout conference play, the team picked up five-set wins over Cornell and Brown. At the conclusion of the campaign, Emily Astarita was named All-Ivy honorable mention, first team CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-Ivy. She became just the sixth player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills.

The Big Green will open the season next weekend on the West Coast for the Cal Classic, facing host California, Texas Tech and Eastern Washington over the span of two days (Sept. 1-2).