Dayton volleyball off to best start in seven years

Flyers ranked in top 25 for first time since 2016

The Dayton Flyers volleyball team took advantage of the Frericks Center in the first three weeks of the season, building an 8-2 record and attaining a No. 25 ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll with nothing but home matches.

Between the Flyer Invitational, the Dayton Flyer Classic and the Dayton Invitational, there were 18 matches at the Frericks Center involving Dayton and nine other programs. The Flyers also had a home match against Louisville sandwiched in between the last two events.

“The band and the crowd we had in those big matches, it’s been a lot of fun,” Dayton coach Tim Horsmon said Wednesday, “and for sure it’s been a home-court advantage.”

Dayton now heads west for three matches this weekend at the University of Northern Iowa Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It plays Northern Illinois (1-8) and Northern Iowa (4-5) on Friday and North Dakota (3-6) on Saturday.

A week later, Dayton opens Atlantic 10 Conference play with two road matches at Loyola Chicago (2-6).

Dayton started 5-5 the last two seasons. This is its best record through 10 matches since it started 11-0 in 2016 en route to a 30-2 season.

“We had a little adversity last year,” Horsmon said, " so I think we came in with a little chip on our shoulder and got a good three-week start. A couple of matches we’d love to have back. Louisville and Marquette were tough five-set losses. Overall I’m pretty happy with where we are, but there’s a lot of work to do.”

Outside hitter/libero Lexie Almodovar ranks 20th in the country in points per set (5.1) and 22nd in in kills per set (4.32). Setter Alyssa Miller ranks 47th in assists per set (10.12). Middle blocker Amelia Moore leads the A-10 with 1.24 blocks per set.

“We’ve had a lot of different players in different moments,” Horsmon said, “but Lex has really led us offensively. Amelia has been a stalwart for us defensively and blocking and with her leadership.”

Dayton has ranked in the top 25 in 57 AVCA polls over the years and climbed as high as No. 10 in 2012. Its highest ranking in the season-ending poll was No. 15 in 2010. This is the first time it has entered the top 25 since 2016 when it earned a No. 23 ranking in Week 9 and climbed as high as No. 20.

“We’ve been there before,” Horsmon said. “It’s a great recognition for our players on our team, but overall I would rather see that at the end of the year than right now. But it’s something to work toward and keep climbing.”

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