Volleyball Heads To Oregon This Weekend For Season Opener

Aug. 21, 2007


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A Glance At the 2007 Jayhawks…
The University of Kansas volleyball team returns nine letterwinners, including four starters, as well as three of the squad’s top four offensive threats and several leading defensive players from a squad that went 10-19 in 2006. The team also welcomes five true freshman – Caroline Ferreira Americo, Jenna Kaiser, Karina Garlington, Melissa Manda, and Melissa Townsend – and a sophomore transfer in Flavia Lino da Silva, along with redshirt junior, Natalie Uhart, to round out the 16 person roster.

With a new mentality and a young but seasoned crew, head coach Ray Bechard and his squad are excited for what this season could bring and ready to work their way back to the top of the Big 12 in 2007.

“We have a new mentality of rolling up our sleeves and going in battling as hard as we can for as long as we can,” said Bechard. “We’re going to really push ourselves this year. We can’t lose track of how hard it is to be successful.”

Scouting the Opponents…
2007 is the inaugural Division I season for Cal State-Bakersfield as the Roadrunners were previously members of the Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association. Bakersfield finished its final season of Division II competition 4-16 overall but returns 10 players on a squad of 14. The Roadrunners welcome back leading offensive threats Sarah Warner (3.42 kpg) and Rosemary Stribling (3.01), while sophomore Kayla Williamson returns to the back row after setting a new CSUB single-season record with 5.60 digs per game in 2006.

Idaho State returns five starters and seven letterwinners from last year’s team that went 10-20 and finished tied for sixth in the Big Sky Conference. The Bengals welcome six newcomers to the team, including four 6-0 outside hitters. Junior outside hitter Jessica Gurney returns after leading the Bengals with a .284 hitting mark in 2006 and ranked second on the team in both kills per game (2.63) and blocks (65). Returning starter Christine Van Orden is back for her sophomore campaign after leading ISU with 8.60 assists per game, which ranked sixth in the Big Sky Conference.

An NCAA Tournament team in 2006, Pac-10 member Oregon returns four starters plus its libero this season and will showcase eight newcomers that include five true freshman. Oregon wrapped up the 2006 season 17-12, its first winning season since 1990. Sonja Newcome will enter her sophomore campaign as the Duck’s leading offensive threat last year (3.56 kpg) with the help of setter Nenvena Djordejevic who posted a team-high 7.26 assists per game. Junior Katie Swoboda held down the back row averaging 5.28 digs per game as the squad’s starting libero.

Coming Up Next For the Jayhawks
After this weekend’s Oregon Invitational, the Jayhawks will travel north again the following weekend, this time to Lansing, Mich., to participate in the Spartan Invitational on Aug. 31-Sept. 1.