NC State Volleyball Set To Open 2001 Campaign In Indianapolis
Aug. 29, 2001
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After a month of preseason practices, the NC State volleyball team will open the 2001 season this weekend in Indianapolis at the Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) Tournament.
The Wolfpack will take on Jacksonville State on Saturday, September 1, at 4:30 p.m. in the first round of the round-robin tournament, then will play Eastern Michigan at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 2. The Pack will take on the host IUPUI Jaguars at 7 p.m. on Sunday in the tournament finale. On Monday, September 3, NC State will play a Labor Day match at Butler University at 2 p.m.
"We're very anxious to open the season," first-year Wolfpack head coach Mary Byrne said. "This will be a good test for us to see exactly where we are in our preparation for the season. We'll be able to tell from these four matches just what specific areas of our game we need to continue working on and fine-tune."
NC State, which returns eight letterwinners from last season's squad, will start two seniors and could start as many as four freshmen in the season opener vs. Jacksonville State. Senior Charece Williams and freshman Melanie Rowe are set to start outside, with senior Alison Kreager and freshman Sarah Ensminger tabbed for starting spots in the middle. Freshman Lindi Sheppard will be the Wolfpack's starting setter.
That leaves only the right-side hitter position, where freshman Maya Mapp and sophomore Blake Nicholls are competing hard for the starting nod. Sophomores Crystal Shannon and Caroline Frede will provide depth along the back row.
"We expect to use nine or 10 players each match," Byrne said. "We're hoping someone will step up and take over that right-side position."
Jacksonville State was 9-20 a year ago, while Eastern Michigan was 7-23. IUPUI was 18-14, and Butler, traditionally strong in women's volleyball, was 18-12 during the 2000 season. The IUPUI Tournament and the match at Butler will provide a solid test for a very young Wolfpack squad, which is coming off a 9-22 campaign in 2000.
"The preseason went extremely well," Byrne said. "We made progress in a lot of different areas. Now the test will come this weekend. Jacksonville State and Eastern Michigan had similar records to ours last year, but our main focus has been on what we need to do at this point.
"I know that the players are tired of playing against each other. I'm sure they'll be glad to see new faces and different uniforms on the other side of the net."