“If we go on a nice winning streak here, that would help us,” Horsmon said. “It’s going to be close.”
Dayton’s top player in the non-conference schedule has been redshirt sophomore Jamie Peterson, who was named A-10 Player of the Week on Monday. Peterson, an outside hitter from West Liberty-Salem High School, leads the team and ranks second in the conference with 4.25 kills per set.
“She has the ability to do a lot of things for us, and she’s being asked to do that,” Horsmon said. “Being a six rotation outside hitter, she’s passing. This weekend, she was one of the best blockers in the gym, and that really helped us win the Illinois State match. She blocked. She obviously can score points for us. She went on a great serving run against Michigan and gave us a chance to win that.”
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Peterson also understands, Horsmon said, that she has to be even better in some matches. After a 3-1 loss to Ohio State on Sept. 20, Peterson was the first one to raise her hand and take responsibility for the defeat. She wasn’t the only one.
“We have a lot of really good kids in our program who understand that,” Horsmon said. “They’re not running from it.”
While Dayton was picked to win the A-10 in the preseason poll, Horsmon expects it to be a competitive league race.
“VCU took a set from BYU, and BYU just beat Stanford,” Horsmon said. “They beat a good Alabama team. They have a bunch of transfers who are really athletic. La Salle is having a good pre-conference. Duquesne looks improved. Saint Louis is a much better team as well. I think the league in general is probably on the uptick.”