THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2012
Volleyball starts 2012 season Friday
Senior Alison Loeppky
Senior Alison Loeppky
The JU volleyball team will get tested early and often as it opens the 2012 season Friday at the Hampton Inn & Suites West Ashley Invitational in Charleston, S.C.

The Dolphins, who open the season with 16 straight road matches, begin the tourney against N.C. State at 4:30 p.m. They play host College of Charleston at noon Saturday before finishing with Sacramento State at 4:30 p.m.

“We are super excited to get started,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “We have jammed a lot of stuff in these past two weeks so we are ready to go out and play now. Our goal is to focus on ourselves this weekend because we are playing some very good opponents that will challenge us in every way. Overall, the girls are ready to face someone else on the other side of the net.”

JU is picked to finish sixth in the A-Sun for the second straight season after wrapping 2011 campaign with a 14-17 mark and just outside of a berth to the A-Sun Tournament.

Juniors Kendall Courtney and Kylie Jacob lead the crop of six returners in 2012. Courtney led the A-Sun in overall assists (1,222) and ranking second in service aces (54). She also had a team-best 23 double-doubles (assists & digs), including one in the final nine contests.

Jacob finished first in the A-Sun with a .350 hitting percentage (243-65-509), while ranking second on the team in kills. She recorded 13 double-digit kill efforts, including 13 or more on five occasions.

Also in the returner’s mix for the Dolphins is senior Alison Loeppky who finished third in kills with 236.

N.C. State posted a 20-13 overall record en route to a fifth-place finish in the ACC standings. 2011 All-ACC honoree Margaret Salata is one of 13 players back for the Wolfpack. Last season, Salata posted a team-best 382 matches in 33 matches. Dariyan Hopper was third in kills with 244 to earn all-freshman accolades.

College of Charleston was picked to win SoCon South Division again in the league preseason coaches’ poll. The Cougars bring back 10 players, including five starters, that recorded a 25-0 overall mark and 14-2 record in conference. College of Charleston has won either the regular season division title or conference tournament championship each of the last 11 seasons.

Sacramento State returns seven athletes from the 2011 squad that posted a 17-15 mark and 10-6 conference record in Big Sky play to place third. Senior Janelle Currey helped pace the Hornets last season by posting 283 kills in 32 matches.

Fans can follow the action through live stats or live video streaming by logging onto JUDolphins.com.