With less than a week to go until the season, the Indiana Hoosiers volleyball team conducted their preseason intrasquad Cream & Crimson scrimmage. While the hour-plus long session provided some valuable practice for the team, the focus for those in attendance was the fall unveiling of Wilkinson Hall, the new 3,000-seat home of IU’s volleyball and wrestling teams.
Wilkinson Hall Background
Thanks to a $10 million major gift from IU alumnus Jay Wilkinson and his family, Wilkinson Hall was opened in January 2019, in time for IU’s wrestling season. The former home for volleyball and wrestling was University Gym, which was located on the intersection of 10th St. and the 45/46 Bypass. The first event played at Wilkinson Hall was on January 13, when IU defeated Maryland, 36-3.
Located on the corner of E 17th St. and Fee Lane, Wilkinson Hall includes a number of significant upgrades from the previous building. On the outside, access to the venue is more convenient, with its location right next to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Cook Hall, and Memorial Stadium. Furthermore, parking went more smoothly, and the facility itself looked magnificent, with a glass exterior and a more modern look.
Inside Wilkinson Hall, the film room, training room, players’ lounge, and locker room all look like top-of-the line amenities. Around the court area, the auxiliary scoreboards, located in all four corners, provided up-to-the second statistics and incredible picture quality.
The sound system unquestionably kept the fans, especially the Crimson Guard student section, engaged from start to finish. The Saturday night scrimmage was well attended, with hundreds of IU fans of all ages getting a glimpse of the new arena, as well as the 2019 version of the squad. Last season, the team went 16-15 (7-13 B1G, 9th place) under first year coach Steve Aird.
The team was divided up evenly, but interestingly, Aird made swaps and substitutions as the games progressed. Seemingly, he wanted to get a different look at how certain groups of players worked together, and this was the time to do it, as it was a stakes-free practice. Additionally, Aird frequently provided feedback to his team, both on an individual and team basis.
The three-game series was action-packed, and a number of players stood out. Redshirt senior outside hitter Kendall Beerman was all over the court, spiking the ball frequently and providing advice and words of encouragement to her teammates. Sophomore outside hitter Breana Edwards was excellent as well. Edwards, who led the team in kills last year, looks ready for a big 2nd campaign.
Defensively, senior Deyshia Lofton, who led the team in blocks last season, routinely stuffed opportunities from her teammates. Often, those blocks drew the loudest reactions from the Hoosier faithful in attendance. Senior middle blocker Jacqui Armer, who transferred to IU after three seasons at LSU, was consistently thwarting attacks as well.
2019 Season Kick Off
The 2019 season begins Friday, August 30, when the Hoosiers take on Florida International at 12:30, in their first game of the weekend-long Indiana Invitational. Overall, IU will play its first seven games at Wilkinson Hall, with Power Five matchups against Oregon State and Oklahoma on September 6, in the Hoosier Invitational. IU will host preseason #6 Illinois in the home Big Ten opener October 4, and in all, will match up against 10 teams that made the NCAA Tournament. The final home game of the season, Senior Day, is scheduled for November 24 against Michigan State.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ