Aug. 25, 2011
Chestnut Hill, Mass. –The Boston College volleyball team will open the 2011 season at the Active Ankle ACC/SEC Challenge in Gainesville, Fla. on Friday, August 26. The Eagles will play AVCA No. 9 Florida at 7:30 p.m., before returning Saturday to take on Auburn at 5:30 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.
Senior Brennan Clark and junior Krystle Higgins have been elected captains of the 2011 roster that features eight letter winners from a season ago. Despite bidding farewell to four seniors, the team returns most of its production on both sides of the ball. The Eagles per game carry over includes 9.53 kills (85 percent), 5.65 assists (54 percent), 9.32 digs (63 percent) and 1.51 blocks (78 percent). With the exception of assists per set, each category leads both opponents BC will face this weekend.
Returning leading contributors for the Eagles include senior outside hitter Tsvetelina Dureva, who tallied the sixth best kills per game (3.36) average in the Atlantic Coast Conference; and Clark who finished in 10th (3.96) in digs per set. Additionally, Higgins will be looked to for a strong presence at the net, as the Inglewood, Calif. native set a career-high in block assists (79) last season - the most by an Eagle in four years. Sophomore Cagla Sen will be counted on to distribute the ball this season. In just 76 games, the setter from Istanbul charted 476 assists (6.26 per set) set as a freshman, both fifth most all-time by an Eagles rookie.
Fans are invited to view the live-stream of the match against Florida through fee-based subscription GatorVision or to follow along via GameTracker.
• This is the first meeting between Boston College and Florida.
• The Eagles have played the Tigers once before. BC lost, 7-15, 2-15, 13-15, on Sept. 6, 1997 at the Rhode Island Invitational Tournament.
• Boston College Head Coach Chris Campbell
and Assistant Coach Edgard Da Gama were previously members of the staff at Auburn from 2008-09 and 2008-10, respectively.
• Senior libero Brennan Clark
ranks fourth on BC’s all-time digs list at 1,274. The Mililani, Hawaii native is chasing Allison Anderson
(2,176), Lauren Schwer
(1,377) and Katie Andersen
(1,332) for the school record.
• Senior outside hitter Tsvetelina Dureva
concluded the 2010 season averaging 3.26 kills per set, which was the sixth most in the ACC.
• Senior middle hitter Mollie Kolosky
will play in her first match in 693 days. The Wheaton, Ill. native started 18 matches before having her sophomore campaign cut short and junior season scrapped due to an ACL injury. Despite being sidelined, Kolosky ranked fifth in kills per game (3.33) and sixth in hitting percentage (.336) in the ACC as a sophomore.
• The Atlantic Coast Conference holds a 21-14 advantage against the Southeastern Conference since 2008. The two leagues split their meetings in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, as North Carolina defeated Mississippi, 3-0, in the opening round and Florida edged Florida State, 3-2, in round two.
• In 2010, The ACC finished with a record of 108-39 in out-of-conference play, the best mark in 32 years, and sent a league-record five teams to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
• The highest AVCA ranked team the Eagles have ever faced was No. 3 Stanford, in the 2005 season opener.
• The Eagles have come away with at least one victory in a season-opening tournament in all but two years since the 1994 season.
Scouting the Gators
The University of Florida volleyball team recorded one of its best seasons in program history in 2010. The Gators went 29-2, 20-0 SEC and claimed their 19th Southeastern Conference Championship in 20 seasons. In a preseason poll among conference coaches, Florida has been selected to claim another SEC title this year.
UF held the top-ranking by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) for eight straight weeks prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament. The Gators ultimately lost to Purdue, 26-28, 15-25, 19-25, in the Sweet 16 and earned the No. 8 ranking in the final poll - the 20th consecutive year Florida finished among the top-15. The AVCA has UF ranked No. 9 in the 2011 preseason poll.
Mary Wise’s squad posted the top winning percentage in the country - 93.5 percent - in 2010 and leads the nation with 632 total wins since 1991. The Gators lost three of their leading players in Callie Rivers (2.54 kills per game) and Lauren Bledsoe (1.09 blocks per game) an Erin Fleming (3.61 digs per set), but the Gators are bolstered by senior setter Kelly Murphy and senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel.
In 2010, Murphy, an AVCA First Team All-American, was the only player in the SEC to be ranked in conference’s stat book for kills per set, aces per set and hitting percentage. The Wilmington, Ill. product posted her 22nd triple-double and 60th double-double of her career en route to being tabbed as the SEC Player of the Year a season ago.
Jaeckel received Honorable Mention All-American accolades from the AVCA in 2010. The Littleton, Colo. native produced 0.28 aces per set - eighth most in the SEC - charted double-digit kills 12 times and double-figure digs in seven matches.
Scouting the Tigers
First-year Head Coach Rick Nold inherited an Auburn volleyball program that recorded its finest season in school history. In 2010, the Tigers boasted a 21-13 (11-9 SEC) overall record - the most wins since the 1998 and 1996 seasons, respectively. For the first time ever, Auburn received a bid to compete in the NCAA Tournament. Once there, the Tigers advanced to the second round with a win over Missouri State, 25-15, 26-24, 27-25, before falling to No. 2 seed Nebraska, 10-25, 17-25, 15-24.
The Tigers bid farewell to a core of group seniors - Liz Crouch, Alyssa Davis, Morgan Johns, Lauren Mellor and Jonelle Wallace - that helped build the team from a No. 232 RPI in 2008 to No. 44 in 2010.
This year, Auburn will rely on junior Sarah Bullock to provide offense due to Johns departure. Bullock lead the team and concluded the year ranked 10th in the SEC with 354 kills. The Allen, Texas native also led AU with 306 digs on the year.
Additionally, Nold seeks to run more of the offense through Camila Jersonsky. The middle hitter championed Auburn with a .354 hitting percentage, while finishing second on the team in total blocks (72).
The Tigers ball distributors are the most experienced group. Senior Christina Solverson and sophomore Chelsea Wintzinger charted 740 assists (6.17 a/s) and 514 assists, respectively.
Sophomore Sarah Wroblicky is likely the replacement for Auburn career and single-season digs record Liz Crouch. The Irvine, Calif. product scooped up just 29 balls in 30 sets.