UPLAND, Ind. – One of the most storied volleyball programs in NAIA history will kick off its 2017 season this weekend when the Taylor Trojans head to Montreat, North Carolina for the Montreat College Tournament.

Second year head coach Erin Luthy will look to fuse a stable of veteran returns featuring a wealth of collegiate experience with six new faces.

The Trojans finished the 2016 season with a 19-15 overall record, including a 13-5 mark in Crossroads League play.

Despite the graduation of three players from the regular rotation the Trojans return three of their top four attackers along with Haley Harrell, the Crosssroads League Setter of the Year.

Senior Becca Gerig will be a featured weapon in the TU offensive attack again this year after earning All-Crossroads League honors last season. Gerig tallied 386 kills last season and enters her senior campaign with 931 career kills to go along with 906 career digs.

Kayla Springer, a fifth-year senior, collected 269 kills last season and will once again be a featured component of the Taylor offense while fellow senior Rachel Bouma tallied 213 kills with a team-best .269 hitting percentage last season and will be one of the Trojans anchors in the middle again in 2017.

Harrell, a junior, enjoyed a fantastic season in 2016 as the setter for the Trojans 6-1 attack. The Plymouth, Indiana led the Crossroads League last season with 1,179 assists en route to being named the Crossroads League Setter of the Year. The Trojans have added depth and versatility at the setter position this fall with the addition of freshman Brooke Syswerda.

Jamie Scherb, a junior transfer from Tennessee-Martin, will step into the hole left after the graduation of Alex Reel. Reel was a three-year starter for the Trojans at libero and finished second in the Crossroads League last season with 651 digs. Scherb played for two seasons at NCAA Division I Tennessee-Martin, appearing in a total of 223 sets, tallying 414 digs over two seasons. Scherb and senior Laura Craig will both be responsible for anchoring the Taylor back row this fall.

In all the Trojans welcome six new faces including Hannah Corey (Indianapolis, IN / Fortune Academy), Syswerda (Wheaton, IL / Wheaton North), Amanda Adams (Heath, OH / Heath), Grace Isaacs (Highlands Heights, KY / Campbell County), Ashley Harrell (Plymouth, IN / Plymouth), and Scherb (Carmel, IN / Carmel).

Taylor opens the season with four games in two days at the Montreat Tournament on August 25-26 before the start of Crossroads League play at Grace on August 30th. The Trojans will face four more opponents in two days during the Indiana Wesleyan Tournament on September 1-2 before the Trojans host Huntington on September 6th in the first home game of the 2017 season.

Taylor will face eight opponents who appeared in the 2017 NAIA preseason coaches’ poll including No. 8 Columbia College (September 30th), No. 17 Jamestown (August 26th), No. 21 Indiana Wesleyan, and No. 22 Lourdes (September 2nd).