Defending champ volleyball team gets 2009 camp underway

Defending champ volleyball team gets 2009 camp underway

Team begins on-court practive Tuesday

COOKEVILLE, Tenn.  -- The Tennessee Tech University women’s volleyball team took the first step in its 2009 season Monday as 12 players reported to Eblen Center for the first time. There was excitement in the air as head coach John Blair addressed his players as a group for the first time since part of the group captured the OVC regular season and tournament titles last season.

“The first day of training camp is always exciting, both for the coaches and the players,” said Blair, the 2008 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year.

The Golden Eagles have seven returners from last season’s OVC championship team, including junior OVC Player of the Year Leah Meffert and senior OVC Defensive Player of the Year Katie Kenline. Meffert finished among the conference leaders in kills and points last season, while Kenline tallied 558 digs en route to setting the school record for career digs.

Joining Meffert and Kenline are returners Amanda Lindgren, Teresa Craig, Marie Peddicord, Melanie Culp and Laura Pierce – each of whom has at least two years of playing experience at Tech.

Five new faces will wear the purple and gold this season in freshmen Heather Asplund, Stacey Butts, Madison Comperry, Katrina Dvorken and Kelsey Gray. Blair has high expectations for his newcomers and will look for them to make contributions right away.

“I hope the freshmen are coming in ready to compete for playing time, and I think they are,” Blair said. “We brought in a very talented group, and we’re ready to see what they can do.”

The team will walk on the court for its first practice of 2009 on Tuesday morning and later will begin learning the offense in an evening session.

Tuesday marks the first of 17 straight days of practice before the Golden Eagles travel to Knoxville for their first match of the season on Saturday, August 29 against the University of Tennessee.

“This is a good group,” Blair said. “We’re excited to get on the court Tuesday and start things off right.”