Aug. 26, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.VA. - Coach Mitch Jacobs' team returned to Marshall's campus on August 8, and prepared daily for the 2011 season. During the August practices, Jacobs and his staff were busy implementing a new offense and preparing six newcomers for collegiate volleyball.
"We have a different type of offense we are looking to run right now," noted Head Coach Mitch Jacobs. "We have hitters who have become more experienced. We were, aside from Liz Herman last year, so young in terms of every offensive player. Now we have lifted in the off-season, we're stronger and conditioned and knowing what to expect and how to take care of bodies."
The volleyball program will be building off a 12-20 record from the 2010 season. With eight starters returning to the court, the 2011 season looks promising with the amount of experience coming back for the new year. Despite losing two vital components from last year's squad in Elizabeth Herman and Elizabeth Fleming, Coach Jacob's brings back a battle-hardened team from last year.
Leading the way for the Herd will be lone senior, Cameron Yoho. In 2010 Yoho finished with 213 kills as a middle blocker and had the second most starts on the team. She led the team in attack percentage (.268) as well as in total blocks (78).
"Cameron is doing an outstanding job of what a senior needs to do," said Coach Jacobs. "The players understand what is needed of them in terms of responsibilities for pre-practice, during practice, and post-practice. Seniors have to make sure everyone is on task and Cameron has done a great job with that. As far as on the court, Cameron looks better right now pre-season than I have seen her at any time. I'm looking for a good year out of Cam."
Entering his tenth year as the leader of the Herd, Jacobs the all-time wins leader in program history (179-109) also brings back four juniors, four sophomores and introduces six newcomers to the Marshall program.
After having one of Marshall's most experienced setters in program history, Elizabeth Fleming, graduate after the 2010 season, the setter position will have a fresh face for the first time in four years. Junior Ryanne Milligan returns with the most setting experience from last year. Last year she led the team in service aces with 28 and is expected to be a versatile tool for the 2011 season. She also had the best serve receive average after posting 13 errors and a .966 percentage.
Also vying for the starting setter position will be the two incoming freshmen, Sammie Bane and Katie Potts. Bane was selected as a Prepvolleyball.com All-American and Senior Ace last year. She earned first team Indiana All-State accolades and team MVP on three occasions, along with Indiana Academic All-State Honorable Mention accolades. Potts comes in as a setter, but will be used as a ride side hitter as well this year. During her high school career, Potts helped lead her team to a 2010 5A State Championship Runner-Up position, while earning First Team All-State, Senior All-Star, along with breaking the school record for assists in a career with 1,024. Potts averaged 8.22 assists per set during her career, first in school history and fifth in the state of Georgia.
"Both incoming setters have done a really good job in pre-season. They are good competitors and are adding to the team," commented Coach Jacobs on the freshmen duo.
Despite losing one of the conference's most dominant outside hitters in Elizabeth Herman, the outside hitter position brings back a wealth of experience and energetic young players. Junior Abby Tomas returns with the second highest amount of kills from last year with 257. She returns with the most experience in the aerial attack as well after having 742 total attacks.
Sophomore Laura Der returns with the third most starts on the team from 2010. As a true freshman she stepped into the outside hitter position and collected 207 kills and 1.73 kills per set. She also was second on the team in digs with 362 and led the team in serve receives with 708.
Freshmen Hannah Bailey and Katie Potts will be fighting for time at the outside hitter position. Bailey is a 5-11 freshman from Ceredo, W.Va., where she played volleyball for Spring Valley High School. She led her high school to a West Viriginia state championship in 2009.
The middle blocker position brings back the most veteran players. Three upperclassmen will be playing the middle blocker position including senior Cameron Yoho and juniors Sacha Byous-McConnell and Desirre Wilkerson. Yoho as the lone senior comes back with 213 kills and the best attack percentage from 2010. She also finished second on the team in service aces with 25.
Byous-McConnell returns after posting 103 kills and a third-highest 48 blocks. Wilkerson put up 42 kills last year as well as 30 blocks. Freshman Jaylene Berrien will be the youngest of the middle blockers and is a very athletic 5-9 player from Springfield, Ohio, where she played volleyball for Springfield High School.
The Herd will return two of the most versatile players on the team who will be the potential liberos for the 2011 season. Dorothy Rahal returns with the most libero experience and ended the season last year with a team leading 366 digs and 582 serve receives. Katy Schad comes back after finishing the 2010 season with 325 digs and 640 serve receives.
Adding to the defensive specialist depth will be junior Andrea Booker and freshmen Ali Suttles and Sarah Legg. Legg comes to Marshall as a Yeager Scholarship winner. Her father is one of the coaches for the Marshall football program.