Virginia Volleyball Opens 2007 Campaign in Las Vegas
Aug. 23, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
The Virginia volleyball team (0-0, 0-0 ACC) opens the 2007 campaign this weekend at the Las Vegas Tournament. The Cavaliers are set to play their first match against Texas Tech at 7:30 p.m. Friday (4:30 PT), with two matches to follow on Saturday. UVA will battle Arizona State at 1 p.m. (10 a.m. PT) and host UNLV at 10 p.m. (7 PT) to close the event. Complete tournament information and a live stats link can be found on the volleyball page at unlvrebels.com.
SERVE IT UP
The volleyball team is kicking off the 2007-08 sports season for Virginia, being the first squad to open regular-season play. UVa's field hockey team has the pleasure of being the first to play at home with its season-opener set for Sunday.
CAVALIER SCOUTING REPORT
Virginia returns five starters, including libero Melissa Caldwell, and nine letterwinners for the 2007 season. The Cavaliers also boast two AVCA All-Americans in outside hitter Sarah Kirkwood (honorable mention 2005) and middle Katie Oakes (honorable mention 2006). Joining Kirkwood at OH is second-year Lauren Dickson, who was named to the ACC All-Freshmen Team a year ago. Middle Shannon Davis is a two-year starter and Caldwell, in three seasons, is the program's career leader in digs per game. Marlow Bruneau, who backed up All-American Emily Kirkwood the previous two seasons, ran the team all spring as the lone setter. A talented group of five newcomers is expected to make an impact right away for head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton.
KIRKWOOD NEEDS TWO
Fourth-year outside hitter Sarah Kirkwood is just two service aces away from tying the school record held by her sister, Emily. Emily Kirkwood, who completed her eligibility in 2006, recorded 167 career service aces. Her younger sister has 165 in her career at UVa.
A GLANCE AT TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech returns seven players to the roster that either started or saw significant playing time in 2006. Included in that group are senior setter Emily Ziegler and senior middle blockers Amy Gandy and Alicia Ostmeyer. A total of nine letterwinners return for the Red Raiders. Head coach Nancy Todd is in her fifth season at Texas Tech.
A GLANCE AT ARIZONA STATE
Arizona State is coming off its 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2006, where the Sun Devils lost in the second round to Florida. Libero Sydne Donahue set ASU's career digs record as a junior and ranks fourth on the Pac-10 list heading into her senior campaign. Head coach Brad Saindon, now in his fifth year, also returns setter Marina Mercer, outside hitter Margie Giordan and senior middles Staci Smith and Colette Meck.
A GLANCE AT UNLV
Fourth-year UNLV head coach Allison Keeley returns 10 members from 2006 and welcomes eight newcomers. The program returns six starters from last season. The 2007 squad returns 83 percent of its attacking prowess from a year ago. The top five kill specialists are back, led by Maria Aladjova. The remaining four attacking Rebels are: Lauren Miramontes, Brittani Lumsden, Erin Greenwood and Jessica Walters. Melody Nua returns to lead the Rebels at setter for the third straight season. Libero Jada Walker is first in digs (1,429) in the UNLV record book.
Virginia was picked to finish third in the ACC preseason poll released Aug. 8. Additionally, fourth-years Sarah Kirkwood and Katie Oakes were named to the 18-member preseason All-ACC team. Defending conference champion Duke was picked to finish first.
2006: A LOOK BACK
Virginia recorded its fourth consecutive winning season in 2006, finishing with a 23-8 record and a 16-6 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavaliers placed second in the ACC, tying their highest finish in program history. Additionally, head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton claimed her 200th career victory, two more Cavaliers (Emily Kirkwood and Katie Oakes) were lauded with All-America honors and for the first time in history, the program had a First Team Academic All-American (Sarah Kirkwood).
MURCZEK JOINS STAFF
Assistant coach Ken Murczek joined the Virginia volleyball team shortly before preseason. Murczek, a Chicago native, spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Western Michigan.
2007 TEAM CAPTAINS
Fourth-years Sarah Kirkwood and Taylor Russo and third-year Marlow Bruneau are serving as Virginia's captains this year. It is the second consecutive year in the role for Kirkwood, who also was the captain as a third-year.
Virginia returns to Charlottesville for its home-opening weekend to play host to the Jefferson Cup presented by Marriott. The Cavaliers will battle Arkansas at 7 p.m. Friday, which follows the early match between Norfolk State and Temple.