GREENVILLE, N.C. – With temperatures soaring into the mid to upper 90’s outside, the East Carolina volleyball team opened its 2009 campaign Monday afternoon with a practice inside Minges Coliseum.
“I am really impressed with the athletes that we have on this team,” Rolf stated after the period ended. “Our ladies are eager to learn and are excited about the things that we can accomplish as a team this season. I believe that we have a strong staff in place with the additions of Katie Virtue and Kelley Wernert and I am extremely optimistic about what lies ahead for East Carolina Volleyball.”
After fitness testing in the morning, the squad conducted a two-hour session that featured fundamental work and three separate scrimmage periods. All 14 players on this year’s roster participated in the workout, as redshirt freshmen Kelly Derby and Briana Fleener experienced their first collegiate action after sitting out last season due to injury.
The Pirates boast a quintet of seniors in Hannah Fenker, Katie Prast, Bobbie Jo Stall, Stephanie Turner and Melissa Zentner while juniors Erica Banning, Lizzy Bruin, Kylie Gilmore and Katie Koop will also provide upperclassmen leadership. The team’s entire offense remains intact from 2008, as this year’s squad features five outside hitters, five middle hitters and two setters. Additionally, the 2009 roster features no true freshmen, as ECU suffered its only loss in graduated libero Trish Monroe.
For the next 16 days, the Pirates will tackle two-a-day practices and continue their conditioning in preparation to build on a 2008 campaign in which they won 13 contests. East Carolina will then head to Richmond, Va. for the season-opening Third Degree Sportswear Invitational, hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University from Aug. 28-29 at the Siegel Center.