Q & A With Volleyball Head Coach Carrie Yerty
Aug. 10, 2000
As the 2000 Volleyball season gets underway, we sat down with Head Coach Carrie Yerty, who is entering her fifth season at the helm of the Tigers, to get her thoughts about the upcoming season.
Q. Last year you had a team that consisted of four freshmen, four sophomores, one junior and two seniors that struggled to find a consistent rhythm at times, how are you looking back on that team now and what do you hope your returning players take from that experience?
A. Anytime you have a core consist mainly of freshmen and sophomores you are going to see inconsistency in play at times. That's part of the growth and development of a young team. It was very exciting to see them come together at the end of the season. We were much more experienced and began to see a real flow in our game. I hope that each returning player has learned from last season that each part of a season has a significant impact on our growth and development as people and athletes.
Q. So what is the most important role for your five returning players?
A. The most important thing that they have to do is provide an environment that is welcoming and stable. This will allow the newcomers a chance to adjust at their own pace which will, in turn, make their transition much easier.
A. Rosie ended her career here as one of the most decorated players in school history. She was never flashy, but was a very consistent passer and defender. She also had a hammer for an arm. I see her roles being divided between April Harriman and Ginger Garrett. Both April and Ginger had a great spring and are ready to take on bigger roles. I will look to them to provide our team with consistent passing and an exciting attack. Amy Vaughn served as a defensive specialist and was looked to for her energy and spirit. Emily Eichmann is a very vocal player who does an excellent job at keeping her teammates on track. She is able to create calm and control in an atmosphere where things are pretty intense.
Q. You have six newcomers to the team this year, but unlike last year's newcomers, you have a junior college transfer and a four-year university transfer. What kind of things will they bring to the Tigers this year as opposed to having all freshmen in the lineup?
A. Adrianne Edmonds and Angie Johnson have already experienced being away from home. They have adjusted to a new coach and school before. I expect both of them to contribute immediately without missing a beat. Adrianne has competed on one of the country's best community college teams and understands what hard work is. She will give us depth on the outside and will add stability to our back court play. Angie will step in and challenge Amie Hamilton for the starting setter position. She will also allow our team the option to run a 6-2 offense if desired. She is also a very tough and aggressive server.
Q. Moving Amie Hamilton to setter is something you occasionally did last year. Now that it's a planned move, how do you see that affecting the offense?
A. I look for Amie to really help the speed of the offense. She has great foot speed and her ability to set the ball anywhere on the court will give us a really exciting attack. At 5-4, I'm not looking for her height to slow her down at the net. She is such an athlete, I'm really excited to see her compete. She is someone who will fill a leadership role both on and off the floor.
Q. With two departures from the middle hitter spot, obviously Sarah Wengler will have an important role to play this year. Who will fill the other middle spot when Sarah rotates to the back row?
A. Obviously Sarah is important to our attack. She had the highest hitting percentage on the team in 1999. The other middle spot is going to be a fight between two newcomers, Shella Neba and Laura Stoke.
Q. Where do you see your other newcomers fitting in this season?
A. I expect to see Adrianne on the court somewhere if she can't beat Ginger and April out of a starting outside hitter spot, maybe on the back row somewhere. Heather Sanders and Brittany Barnett will give us some much-needed depth on the outside. Heather could also play a defensive specialist spot, while Brittany could play either outside or right-side hitter.
Q. With a more mature core of returning players this year, what are your team goals for the upcoming season?
A. One of our goals is always to compete to win the conference championship. Aside from that, we are looking to establish ourselves as one of the top six teams in Conference USA going into the tournament. We are also looking forward to providing our Tiger Volleyball fans with exciting volleyball at the highest possible level of play.
Q. Speaking of Conference USA, with a couple of coaching changes this season, how do you see the league doing this year?
A. Conference USA is quickly establishing itself has one of the elite volleyball conferences in the country. I would not expect any of the teams to miss a beat. I am certain that each of our conference matches will be a fight to the finish for both teams.
Q. With tough league play, you scheduled some important non-conference matches (Tennessee, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Syracuse). What was your thought process when setting up your out of league schedule?
A. Our non-conference schedule was designed to challenge and prepare us for conference play. The tougher the competition we play, the better we become. It is also important for our conference that we schedule teams that can help increase our conference RPI.
Q. This is a special year for Tiger volleyball, celebrating its 30th season as a varsity sport. What is it like having past coaches like Elma Roane, Jane Hooker and Diane Hale still in Memphis?
A. It is incredible to me when I think that there were people paving the way for me and my teams even before I was born. When I think of the hardships and challenges that the coaches and athletes went through to be a part of college volleyball 30 years ago, it amazes me. Today we are pampered with luxuries that athletes and coaches from the past could only dream of. I feel proud to share with my teams some of the coaches, fans and athletes that have been a part of our history. Ms. Elma Roane and Jane Hooker not only helped establish Tiger Volleyball, but took on active roles in the development of women's athletics at the collegiate level. Diane Hale has shared many stories about the development of Memphis Volleyball. She has experienced every aspect of the sport there is-as a player, coach, regional representative, teacher and referee. The dedication that these women have given to this sport along with the contributions the university has made has allowed over 300 athletes the opportunity to travel all over the country, earn scholarships, win conference championships and experience the love of competition.