New Athlete Sets the Coyotes up for Success
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New Athlete Sets the Coyotes up for Success

The Coyote volleyball team unveiled a new starting setter for the 2023 season. This year, head coach Leanne Williamson put the duties into a freshman from Marion, Iowa, Avery Van Hook.

Van Hook had to win the position battle against senior Brooklyn Schram and sophomore Madi Woodin, who shared time as the setters last season for the Coyotes. Schram started the 2022 season but got injured early in the season which led Woodin to have the starting role. 

This season, Van Hook has 382 assists to lead the team by 341, and she averages 8.3 assists per set.Van Hook is also tied with two other Coyotes in junior outside hitter Kylen Sealock and senior outside hitter Mattie Johnson with 12 service aces to lead the team. She is second on the team with 113 digs as she has six double-doubles in 12 matches played so far this season.

While Van Hook is having a great season statistically, she did not want to play volleyball as a kid as she didn’t want to follow in her older sisters footsteps.

“My sister is eight years older than me, so she has always been around the game. So when I got older and started to show interest in sports, she was playing volleyball… I actually didn’t want to be like my sister, so I was trying to get into basketball more,” Van Hook said. “Volleyball just kept coming back to me, and it was more natural for me, and I loved it. There was nothing else I wanted to play more.”

Van Hook started to come to college camps at USD her freshman year of high school, and she said that’s why she wanted to come play in Vermillion.

“I came here for a camp. When I came to this camp, I fell in love with the campus. We have an amazing facility, and the coaches and the girls are amazing,” Van Hook said. “From my freshman year of high school, this was my dream school, and the rest is history,” Van Hook said.

Van Hook mentions her early success this season is due to knowing the other players.

“Knowing all the players and the coaches along with the campus made the move to college easier, and I think it helped with volleyball,” Van Hook said. 

Van Hook looks forward to the rest of the season and being able to play the conference schedule. She hopes to win the Summit League Championship as the Coyotes have the last three seasons.

Photo Credit: The Volante | Mia Vodicka