Releases

For Immediate Release: August 5, 2005
Contact: David O'Brian (dobrian@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-6478

2005 Volleyball Preview: Young team seeks return to conference tournament


Coming off its first trip to the America East Conference Tournament, the Binghamton University volleyball team enters the 2005 season with a young squad looking to continue the Bearcats' recent success. Head coach Glenn Kiriyama graduated one of his best senior classes but welcomes five promising newcomers.

"We are going to be young this year," Kiriyama said. "Our success will depend on how fast our underclassmen mature. Our sophomores and juniors have been improving at a pretty good rate so hopefully the freshman will improve during the season."

OUTSIDE HITTERS

Sophomore Kathleen Schauer and junior Kaitlyn Robertson are the teams top two returning outside hitters. Freshman Brianna Strong and junior Katie Brody are the top newcomers.

Schauer arrived from Colorado last season and worked her way into the lineup towards the end of the season. Robertson played in 26 matches in 2004 and figures to be more of a factor this season.

"Kathleen improved during the spring," Kiriyama said. "She is a solid player who has developed as a hitter. Kaitlyn has been working to improve her offense. She is in good shape and we need production from her this season."

Strong comes from Concord High School, located in Elkhart, Indiana. She is a three-year all-conference player who was twice selected the Offensive Player of the Year.

"Brianna has the potential to be a great all-around player," Kiriyama said. "She has a strong arm and should produce very quickly for us."

Brody is a transfer from Division III SUNY Cortland. She was named to the AVCA New York Region first team as a sophomore and was also an Honorable Mention Division III All-American.

"Katie had a great career at Cortland," Kiriyama said. "She comes in with a lot of experience and should be able to help us."

MIDDLE BLOCKERS

The Bearcats return a pair of proven players in junior Megan Hoag and sophomore Jacki Kane. Hoag, who has started the past two seasons, will be the team captain.

"We are going to be looking to Megan for leadership both on and off the court," Kiriyama said. "She works as hard as anyone on our team and is consistent in all phases of the game."

Kane is coming off a season in which she was named to the America East All-Rookie Team as well as honorable mention all-conference.

"I've been impressed with the continued progress that Jackie has made since last season," Kiriyama said. "She had a good spring, did a solid job of blocking and hitting."

SETTERS

Junior Ashley Meffert and freshman Ashley Allen will anchor the Bearcats at the setter position this year. Meffert, a two-year starter, was named to the America East All-Rookie Team in 2003.

"Ashley (Meffert) has gotten a lot of reps the past two seasons," Kiriyama said. "She has the ability to throw other teams off balance. We are looking for her to show leadership this season."

Allen comes from Henry Jackson High School in Mill Creek, Washington. She was an all-league hitter in 2004 and helped lead her team to a third-place finish at the district championship.

"We are hoping for Ashley to contribute right away," Kiriyama said. "She has the height (6-1) to be a pretty good blocker."

DEFENSIVE SPECIALISTS/LIBIRO

A pair of freshmen will be counted on to lead Binghamton in the backcourt.

Jaclyn Strader is a defensive specialist from Julienne Catholic High School in Kettering, Ohio. She earned all-district honors her junior and senior years and was named the team's Most Outstanding Defensive Player. She is the leading candidate to be the Bearcats' libiro.

"Jaclyn will be called on immediately to help our back row defense," Kiriyama said. "She brings a great wealth of experience from a solid high school and club program. Her quickness and her passing abilities will be utilized to enhance the overall effectiveness of our team defense and serve reception."

Katherine Courage comes from Cox High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She was named first-team all-state, all-district and all-region her senior season

"Katherine will find a way to contribute to our team," Kiriyama said. "She is a hard worker who will be able to accomplish much during her career."

SCHEDULE

Before heading into the America East Conference schedule, the Bearcats will take part in tournaments at Holy Cross, William & Mary, Cleveland State and Yale to prepare for the 12 conference matches.

In the America East Conference Albany and Maine both of whom reached the America East finals in 2004, are the top two returning conference teams. Northeastern, which was the other team besides Binghamton to qualify for the post season, is no longer in the America East. New Hampshire and Stony Brook are the two other teams to compete with the Bearcats' for a tournament berth.

" We have a tough non-conference schedule this season, especially at the William & Mary Tournament," Kiriyama said. "Still, that will help because the America East continues to get better. The tougher the competition we have at the start of the season, the better prepared we'll be when it's time to play the conference matches."

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