Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Volleyball digs season outlook


    With the UTSA Women’s Volleyball gearing up and getting ready to start their spring season,students can look forward to another winning team this semester. Head Coach Laura Groff’s expectations are to win the Southland Conference (SLC) and to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

    “We have a group of young ladies that been starting since they were freshman,” Groff said. “The expectation is for seniors and for five juniors to have a strong upperclassmen leadership which will help us contend for the conference title.”

    The team’s biggest challenge this season will be changing from a 5-1 lineup.  “Our plan is to run a 6-2 and that’s going to make us a lot bigger,” Groff explained. The change will allow the team to have three hitters in the front row at all times and two setters on the floor.

    This year’s seniors will be led by senior outside hitter, Rachel Tilson who has posted 432 kills and 255 digs in her career. Senior Jennifer Emelogu, who had 106 blocks and 273 kills last fall, will join Tilson in leading the senior class.

    The rest of the lineup is a strong junior class that has been starting for two years. Junior Meagan Daniel, who was named to the 2005 Preseason All-Southland Conference Volleyball First Team, will be leading the team this year. Four strong juniors who, over the past two seasons, have earned at least honorable mention all-conference honors will join her.  

    Junior outside hitter Brittany Hildebrand posted 349 kills in 106 games last season for a 3.29average.  Junior Erin McMillan registered 560 digs last season, the second-best season total in school history and already ranks ninth on the school’s career digs list with 1,061. Junior middle blocker Connie Picard led UTSA in blocks with 110 in 115 games last season. Junior setter DeeDee Strickland ranks fourth on the career assists chart with 2,897 and is on pace to break UTSA’s school record of 5,440.

    UTSA will open their season at the Charlotte/Spring Hill Suites against three first-time opponents in Delaware, Charlotte and Middle Tennessee State. The team will return to Texas to play a non-conference road match at Texas A&M-Corpus. UTSA holds a 3-0 series record against Texas A&M-Corpus.  UTSA will then host the Dome Rally on Sept. 9-11 at the Alamodome.  The Dome Rally will host eight teams, including Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Southern California and Rice among others and will be a precursor to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Semifinals and Championship set for Dec. 15 and 17.

    The Dome Rally, a tournament that will give UTSA national prestige, will pose another test to the women’s team.

    “I think it will be a challenge for us–to go out on the court and know that we’re good enough to beat these teams,” Groff said. “That’s just a matter of taking care of business and believing in ourselves.”

    The team’s focus not only for this tournament but also for the season will be to believe they can go out there and compete against some of the best teams in the country.

    “The main thing is to be confident and compete and anything can happen,” Groff said.

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