Aug. 8, 2006
(San Francisco) - USF Volleyball opened its first day of practice Tuesday morning at War Memorial Gym with the first of two training sessions. After turning in the second best season in program history in 2005, the Dons are focused on challenging in the demanding West Coast Conference.
San Francisco earned votes in the 2006 AVCA Preseason Poll for the first time in program history as announced today. Six WCC teams earned votes, headlined by No. 6 Santa Clara, No. 19 Pepperdine and No. 20 San Diego. Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's also collected votes.
Five teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season from the WCC, which ended the season ranked No. 7 in RPI. USF head coach Jeff Nelson looks for his young team - boasting just one senior - to be competitive against a demanding schedule featuring 16 matches against teams advancing to the 2005 postseason.
"It was a good first day," Nelson said. "Our goal today was to get some good touches and build some confidence. Everyone is in shape and ready to go. It's nice to have a veteran group back so you can get going right away. This next week we're going to see who's going to compete for those spots on the court."
Junior middle blocker and co-captain Linzy Kearney looks forward to a strong season as well.
"We have three new players and all of them were stellar today," Kearney said. "Our team stayed in such good shape over the summer. We got to play our first day, which we almost never get to do. We did fitness testing and everyone stayed the same or improved over the summer, which shows how dedicated everyone is. Jamie (Kartchner), our lone senior, is leading the way and we'll follow her through any wall."
A two-year starter for the Dons, Kartchner enters her final season of collegiate volleyball ready to leave her mark and elevate the Dons in 2006.
"Going into my senior season I've taken it upon myself to set urgency with the team. Even though they may not feel it, I feel it and creating that sense in the team is important," Kartchner said.
Junior libero/ouside hitter Brrynn Maurer enters her third season on the Hilltop ready to pursue the USF career digs mark, after posting the most digs as an underclassmen in program history.
"I felt like we had an exceptional practice," Maurer said. "Everyone was up on their game and excited to play. I was so excited to get back in the gym touch a ball and see al my friends again."
After kicking off the 30th anniversary season on the road at the Arizona Wildcat Classic August 25-26, the Dons open home play hosting the 2006 Golden Gate Classic featuring San Jose State and Big West Conference champs UC Santa Barbara, September 1-3 at War Memorial Gym.
USF opens its 22nd season of WCC action at Memorial Gym September 28 when the Dons host No. 22 San Diego, followed by a visit from defending league champion and ancient Bay Area rival Santa Clara September 30.
San Francisco celebrates its 30th anniversary season in 2006 and will recognize the top-30 players in program history prior to the October 21 West Coast Conference match against Portland and will host a post match honors banquet.