Volleyball aims to spike Big East competition

Santo Caruso

Despite the height of the women’s volleyball team, a squad consisting of several six feet plus players, ‘Nova still excepts to sneak up on a few teams this fall.

Enter Jessica Hoover and Adrian Samrau, two freshman recruits who are a combined 12 feet 2 inches tall and certainly give the team a lot of height. These two coupled with a team that returns all but one starter from the 2002 roster hope to improve on last season’s 18-16.

Head coach Allison Keeley’s first season above .500 has only made her and the team hungrier for another season full of potential upsets.

“We are stronger now [in the preseason] than we were at any point last year,” Keeley said. “We have a very good freshman class, and great balance. Our girls can do a little bit of everything.”

The 2003 co-captains Erin Briunas, are a senior outside hitter, and Sam Hartwell, a junior defensive player. They are joined up with several other experienced players who hope to help out this talented group of freshman.

“We have a lot of new talent, and we are a lot taller which adds intimidation,” Celine Nguyen a sophomore who is recovering from a knee injury said. “We are going to surprise a lot of people.”

One position where they have experience and new depth is at setter. They still maintain the junior senior tandem of Jennifer Edwards and Jenny Badran-Grycan while adding freshman Jennifer Lalli and Kelly Ludwig.

“I think we have to gain experience, but as long as we give are all we’ll do well,” Jen Lalli said. “We are a good team and we have a bond already.”

Upperclassman Jenny Badran-Grycan will be a mentor for some of the younger players, but also hopes to fulfill some of her own dreams on the court.

“I think this team has the best chance of all to take the Big East, and we’ll find out when we play the No. 2 team in the country, Florida,” Badran-Grycan said.

Perhaps even more eager to begin the season than the players, Keely is very excited to see the success of her 2003 squad. Although only had one wining season in her five year coaching career, the ‘Cats’ commander is very eager to debut her team that has shown improvement with each passing match.

“We are going to surprise a lot of teams this year and upset a lot of people,” Coach Keeley said. “What will be most surprising is how we will go out and compete every match.”

‘Nova begins its fall season today when it faces Michigan State at 5 p.m. in the Maryland Tournament in College Park, Md. The ‘Cats return to the hardwood tomorrow for day two of the tournament when they take on Maryland at 11 a.m. and Tennessee at 5 p.m.