2006 Tiger Volleyball Outlook
Aug. 22, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - With eight letterwinners returning, including four starters and its libero from last season, expectation are running high for the 2006 University of Memphis volleyball team. Despite an up-and-down 2005 season, a more experienced group of returnees mixed with a talented group of newcomers look to put Memphis in contention for the Conference USA title.
"Our goal for the 2006 season is to win all of our non-conference matches and to contend for the conference championship in November," said 11th-year head coach Carrie Yerty. "We have a group of student-athletes that are committed to excellence, that are dedicated and determined to win and they are willing to work hard to achieve success."
To achieve this goal, however, it will take a "team" mentality-something that the 2005 squad lacked. Every player will to have to understand and accept their role.
"I feel like we are more solid all the way around as a team this year. We have the right pieces in place, but we are going to have to be an unselfish team and focus on what we can do together to achieve success," said Yerty.
"Christen is a disciplined defender, and she will anchor the passing and defensive schemes we bring to the court for the 2006 year," Yerty said.
A versatile Colette Ramirez returns to for her final campaign to play either outside or right side. In addition to the already solid core of hitters, the Tigers have three freshmen at the outside or right side hitter positions that will challenge the returners for playing time. After spend the 2005 season training, redshirt freshman Rebekah Strickland appears ready to step in and provide depth at the right side positions. At 6-3, Strickland has a solid blocking foundation and the ability to terminate. Local Germantown High School product Lauren Thompson and Texas State 3A Tournament MVP Katlin Inglish are both capable of stepping in and providing an offensive lift for the Tigers.
"Katlin has done a great job of stepping into the offense as well as adjusting to the speed of the game," said Yerty.
Big things are expected from Sarah Bury this year. The sophomore who showed flashes of brilliance in 2005 has moved from the middle hitter position to the outside. She will also be a primary passer as well as a "go-to" attacker on the front row.
"Sarah is a spiritual leader for our team," stated Yerty. "She is ultra-competitive and brings an incredible work ethic to the court. She is poised to have a great year."
One of the most versatile players on the team, Nance will also play in the middle. She also has the ability to contribute as a passer and defender.
"Melissa is a mature player that has been a team captain for three years now. She is one of those players that is always solid and always puts up good numbers and doesn't care who gets the credit."
"We knew when we recruited her that she was a good setter," said Yerty. "But when she got here she was ready and excited for the opportunity to challenge for time on the court."
"We are really excited that we have two home tourneys this year," said Yerty. "We were on the road a lot last year and it is really important for our girls to get a feel for game speed and situations early on at home with our crowd and homecourt advantage."
Memphis' non-conference schedule is more regional this year due to a strenuous conference schedule that requires substantial travel. This should play positively into the Tigers' hands once league play begins.
In all, Yerty and her staff is excited for this year.
"Anytime you get the opportunity to work with a bunch of student-athletes that are dedicated to excellence, that are committed to each other and to the growth of the program and are willing to accept their roles and compete and train and not care who gets the credit you have an equation of a team that is on the road to success. Good things are in the future for Tiger Volleyball."