Tiger Volleyball Picked Fourth in C-USA Preseason Poll
Aug. 1, 2007
Irving, Texas - The University of Memphis volleyball team was voted to finish fourth in Conference USA in the league's preseason poll, as released by the league's office today. Senior middle hitter Shelby Burton and junior setter Laura Côté were both tabbed preseason All-C-USA selections. Marshall was picked to win the league, while Kelly-Anne Billingy was a unanimous pick for the Preseason Player of the Year honor.
After posting a 16-16 mark in 2005, Memphis made a vast improvement last season, playing to a 27-8 finish. Head Coach Carrie Yerty welcomes back eight letterwinners, including four starters to this year's squad. Yerty, with 210 career wins, is just three victories shy of becoming the winningest coach in Memphis volleyball history.
The Tigers will be led by All-American honorable mention performers Burton and Côté. Burton and Côté were All-C-USA first teamers in 2006 and both appear on the 2007 Preseason All-C-USA list. Burton ranked second in the league and fifth in the nation in hitting efficiency with a .413 clip last year. She also ranked at 24th in the NCAA in aces per game, landing a C-USA best 0.57 per game. Côté led the conference and ranked 28th in the NCAA in assists per game, dishing out 13.02 per outing.
Billingy returns as the NCAA leader in kills per game with an average of 6.61 per outing. The powerful 6-3 outside hitter received AVCA All-America honorable mention and AVCA All-Midwest first team merits as well as All-C-USA first team accolades for the second-consecutive year. Her offensive potential also earned her College Volleyball Update (CVU.com) Stellar Spikers first team honors in 2006. Billingy wrapped up last season by being named to the C-USA All-Tournament team after recording a championship record 44 kills against Houston. Marshall will host of the 2007 C-USA Volleyball Championship on Nov. 15-18 in Huntington, W. Va.
Tulane ranks second in the preseason poll and returns two preseason All-C-USA selections in junior Sara Radosevic and sophomore Jenn Miller. Radosevic led all sophomores in the NCAA and finished fifth in the nation with an average of 5.50 kills per game last season. The 6-1 outside hitter finished with 495 kills and was second to Billingy in C-USA rankings. The Zagreb, Croatia, native became the first player in Tulane history to earn multiple All-America honors from the AVCA, earning honorable mention merits for the last two years. She was also named first team AVCA All-Region for the second-consecutive season and picked up first team All-Conference USA honors.
Miller, a libero, became the first Tulane volleyball player to rack up 500-plus digs in a single season. The second team All-CUSA and all-freshman team pick hustled for 507 digs in 98 games.
UAB head coach Kerry Messersmith welcomes back her starting lineup and 12 letterwinners from a team that captured the 2006 C-USA Championship title. Leading the veteran squad will be 2007 Preseason All-C-USA picks Ivana Bozic and Fernanda Domingos. Bozic, a junior outside hitter, is a two-time all-conference selection and was named to the AVCA All-America honorable mention team last year. The Arandjelovac, Serbia, native averaged 4.90 kills and 2.82 dig per game, while hitting .232 percent from the floor last season. She enters the 2007 season in ninth place on the school's career kills leaderboard with 1,105 and ranks 10th in total attack attempts with 2,847.
Domingos was voted C-USA's 2006 Newcomer of the Year after transferring in from Cowley College in Kansas. The Brazilian was second on the team in kills (3.20) and third in aces per game (0.41). Domingos welcomes her younger sister, Eliane, to the program after transferring in from the same junior college. The duo was NJCAA All-Americans at Cowley College.
Houston and Tulsa tied for fifth with 83 points each. The Cougars were awarded one first-place vote. East Carolina, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, UCF and UTEP are also expected to be contender for the 2007 title.
Houston, guided by one of the NCAA all-time winningest coaches Bill Walton, will be looking to junior outside hitter Justine Farmer to lead a very young team as UH sports 10 underclassmen on a 14-person roster. Farmer is 98 kills shy of ranking among the program's all-time top 10 kills leader and is 320 kills shy of ranking 25th on Conference USA's all-time list. Over the last two seasons, Farmer has been the only player in C-USA to be ranked in the league's Top 10 in kills and digs per game. The El Paso native is also just 125 digs away from the illustrious 1,000 kill-1,000 dig club. In 26 years, Walton has won 626 games ranking him 11th on the NCAA all-time wins list.
Tulsa is coming off its best volleyball season in program history as the Golden Hurricane experienced league-best records of 27-7 overall and 13-3 in league action. Then first-year head coach Ed Allen became the third TU coach to guide a program to a championship title in his/her inaugural season. Tulsa's 27 wins were the most since the NCAA started holding a championship for volleyball in 1982 and the 13 conference victories were a school record. Returning for Tulsa is one of the best setters in the conference, region and nation in Julia Silva.
Silva, the 2006 C-USA Setter of the Year, became the first TU player to earn consecutive AVCA All-America honorable mention honors in 2005 and 2006. The senior also earned first team All-C-USA honors en route to breaking her own school record for assists in a single season (1,414). Silva's career total of 2,753 assists rank second in program history and is 1,615 shy of ranking on C-USA's all-time top-10 chart. Rounding out the 2006 Preseason All-C-USA team are SMU's Rachel Giubilato and East Carolina's Kelley Wernert. Giubilato is a 5-11 senior outside hitter that concluded the 2006 campaign ranked 26th in the NCAA in kills per game with an average of 4.66. She's the top returning Mustang and garnered Midwest Region honorable mention accolades and a spot on the All-C-USA first team a year ago.
Wernert, a 6-0 outside hitter, was also named to last year's All-C-USA first team after leading the Pirates and ranking sixth in the conference with 4.39 kills per game. The senior will be expected to guide the five starters and eight letterwinners that return from the 2006 ECU squad that finished 19-12 overall and a program-best 10-6 in conference play.
2007 Conference USA Preseason Coaches Poll 1. Marshall (4) 2. Tulane (3) 3. UAB (4) 4. Memphis 5. Houston (1) 5. Tulsa 7. SMU 8. Rice 9. East Carolina 10. Southern Miss 11. UTEP 12. UCF