By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- It has been 264 days since the Owens Express Volleyball team won the program's first National Championship, and the business of defending that title began today.
Coach Sonny Lewis, entering his 19th season at the helm, and his Express hit the court for the first time since that night back in early November, beginning preparation for the 2019 volleyball season.
Lewis, along with longtime assistant Denny Caldwell, welcome back four returners from last year's squad, coupled with eight newcomers that will look to repeat as national champions this season.
The most seasoned player returning is sophomore Kara Schafer. The Monroeville, OH native finished second on the team in assists (581) last year behind Summer Sweeting. She will now take over as the lead setter for the Express this fall.
Leading the way up front will be sophomores Kayla Bekier and Shyah Wheeler. Bekier finished fourth on the team in kills (199) a year ago, while Wheeler finished sixth in kills (150). The Express will also be counting on McKinsey Finnen as well this season, who finished with 59 kills a year ago.
The Express bring in eight fresh faces this year to help continue the program's winning ways. They are Rebecca Brown, Megan Dunne, Raelyn Hutchinson, Olivia Materni, Taylor Momany, Semira Neely, Tyriana Settles, and Arielle Snider.
The team's only scrimmage will be on August 17th in the SHAC against Schoolcraft at 11:00 AM. The team's first match will be at the McHenry Invitational against Kansas City Community College.
Owens's first home match will be on Wednesday August 28, when the Express will host Lorain, who finished as Region XII runner up a year ago to Owens.