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ETSU volleyball picked to finish fifth in the A-Sun
Thursday, August 14, 2008
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 14, 2008) - The ETSU volleyball team has been picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic Sun conference by the league's coaches, as announced Thursday by the conference office.
The Bucs finished behind Florida Gulf Coast, Lipscomb, Belmont and Jacksonville in the poll, but were one of only three teams to receive first place votes. ETSU opens the season at the East Carolina Tournament on Aug. 29.
2008 Atlantic Sun Preseason Poll
2008 Season Preview
Coming off of a 19-13 season a year ago, the 2008 volleyball squad will feature a young team that will look to maintain the level of success that head coach Lindsey Devine has had since taking over the program in 2003. The 2007 season also saw several records fall as Kaena Apana had an outstanding season, breaking three A-Sun conference records and five ETSU records. Callie Kiselich also became the all-time leader in kills at ETSU, shattering Jen Sartor's record by 55 with 1,420. The Buccaneers will have to replace four seniors including a pair of All-Atlantic Sun performers, as Apana was named 2007 Defensive Player of the Year and Kiselich received Second Team honors as a middle blocker. With the loss of three underclassmen in the off-season and injuries to two of the returning players, the Bucs expect the incoming class to contribute more than anticipated.
Coach Devine is bringing in an excellent class of freshmen that include standouts Jennifer Neice (Allen, Texas), Jamie Stancliff (Advance, N.C.) and McKayla Barber (Columbus, Ind.). Each newcomer is expected to see action this season ETSU returns a young core that saw playing time in 2007. The top returners from last season include Amanda Youell (Middleburg, Fla.) Kristan Provchy (Norton, Ohio) and Lauren Baufeld (Plymouth, Minn.). In her first year with the Bucs, Youell earned A-Sun Player of the Week honors, but was sidelined for part of the season with an injury. Provchy and Baufeld each saw valuable playing time for ETSU, helping the team earn the second seed in the A-Sun tournament.
With no seniors on the team this year, many of the juniors and sophomores will have to step up as leaders both on and off the court. With the injuries suffered and the loss of four starters from last season, there will be several position battles during the preseason. Each position has several talented candidates who could fight for a starting role.
"I have high expectations for this squad," said Devine. "We had a successful spring where we adjusted to some changes in the lineup. With the addition of these strong freshmen, this team will continue to be a top contender in the conference."
With ETSU returning seven players from last year's squad which earned the second seed in the Atlantic Sun Tournament, the Bucs look to build on their recent success. The Buccaneers will set their eyes on capturing the team's second regular season conference crown in the last three years as well as search for the programs' first-ever trip to the NCAAs. While Devine's club returns a core group of players from a year ago, she also retains a pair of talented assistants. Returning for their third season are Tammi Fries and Rachel Cooper, who will help coach Devine in coaching the team to perform well on and off of the court.
The Bucs face a new challenge in 2008 as the conference schedule has changed to a double round robin format, increasing the number of matches from 11 to 20. Last season the Bucs went undefeated at home in conference play, extending their home conference win streak to 11 matches. Under coach Devine, ETSU has recorded an impressive home conference record of 22-9 since she took over the reins in 2003. This year's young squad will get tested early with tournaments at East Carolina and Marshall before starting conference matches. Facing tough opponents like Tennessee, Western Kentucky, and Marshall will help the young squad gain valuable experience early in the season. Atlantic Sun play begins earlier than usual due to the new league format. Teams like Belmont, tournament champion Lipscomb, Jacksonville and regular season champion Florida Gulf Coast are expected to challenge the Bucs as the favorites to win the Atlantic Sun.
Please visit www.ETSUBucs.com for more information on ETSU volleyball and all other Buccaneer athletic news.