Iowa is bringing on Nebraska-Omaha’s 2016 starting libero, Ashley Smith, as a transfer for the 2017 season. Smith spent just one season at her prior stop as she will be a sophomore in 2017 and have three years left of play for the Hawkeyes.
A 5’6″ defensive specialist/libero, Smith appeared in 103 sets and racked up 396 digs, good for 3.84 digs per set. Prior to her lone season at Nebraska-Omaha, she played four years at Iowa City High School as she was a three-time all-conference selection, including her senior season when she set the school record for most digs in a season with 704.
Smith is now one of five defensive specialists/liberos on the roster. That includes last year’s starting libero in Annika Olsen, who will be a senior in 2017. Molly Kelly, who was fourth on the team last season with 140 digs, is back for her junior year after being the first defensive specialist off the bench. Overall, there should be some nice competition that includes Smith for playing time.
In 2016, Iowa collected 19 victories to 13 losses as they finished at 9-11 in the difficult Big Ten. They just missed out on the NCAA Tournament, although the season was still a strong jump after it was their first winning season since 2000. They’ll look to stay on the rise with their returners and the addition of Smith now in 2017.