Aug 29, 2013
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall Volleyball will open its 2013 campaign in the Jefferson Cup, a tournament which include host Virginia as well as James Madison and Montana. The two-day tournament will take place in Virginia's Memorial Gymnasium starting on Friday.
Marshall finished 18-13 last season, 8-8 in Conference USA. The Herd returns five starters plus the libero from last year's squad. Marshall finished sixth in the conference a year ago and looks to improve upon that mark this year. The Herd averaged 12.84 kills, 16.61 digs and 11.86 assists per set in 2012. It ranked second in the conference in service aces with 88, finishing one behind SMU.
On offense, Marshall wields one of the most devastating weapons in the conference as outside hitter Laura Der returns for her senior season. In 2012, Der was named All-Conference USA first team and to the All-Midwest Region honorable mention team. During her junior season, she earned 4.39 kills per set enroute to 483 kills. That number ranks sixth all-time for a season at Marshall.
Der was named to the 2013 Preseason All-Conference USA team.
The Herd also returns one of the best liberos in program history in Dorothy Rahal. In 2012, the senior averaged 4.45 digs per set and received C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors.
At middle blocker, the Herd will look to sophomore Jillian Shemanski to set the tone. She was the team's leading blocker in 2012, with 100 and was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team due in part to a 13 block performance against SMU.
Shemanski will team up with senior middle blocker Sacha Byous-McConnell
who averaged 2.40 kills per set and collected 48 total blocks. Byous-McConnell is currently fourth in all-time hitting percentage for the program.
Junior setter Sammie Bane will be setting up the Herd. Bane is coming off a 1,243-assist year as a sophomore, and is already in the top five in career assists. She was named Conference USA Setter of the Week once as a freshman and once in 2012.
Marshall also brought in eight newcomers, including seven freshmen who hope to contribute right away.
The Herd is coached by Mitch Jacobs who begins his 12th season at Marshall.
A Look at the Opponents
Virginia finished the 2012 season with a 9-22 record and 3-17 in the Atlantic Coast Conference . The Cavaliers return 11 letterwinners and five starters from the 2012 campaign in addition to welcoming a recruiting class ranked No. 12 nationally. Virginia returns last season's ACC All-Freshman honoree Natalie Bausback who tallied 296 kills as a freshman. She will be joined by fellow sophomore outside hitter Kayla Sears who collected the teams third most kills with 263. The Cavaliers are led by second-year head coach Dennis Hohenshelt.
Montana posted a 6-23 record in 2012 season and 4-16 in the Big Sky Conference. The Grizzlies return nine letterwinners including four starters plus the libero from last year's squad. Returning for the Grizzlies is senior middle blocker Brooke Bray, who finished tied for second in blocks (1.26 per set) in the Big Sky and third in hitting percentage (.388). The Grizzlies are led by eight-year head coach Jerry Wagner.
James Madison finished the 2013 season with a 13-16 record and 5-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dukes return three starters plus the libero from last year's squad. Returning for James Madison is senior defensive specialist Katie Daorai, who led the team with 425 digs a season ago. The Dukes are led by fifth-year head coach Lauren Steinbrecher.