Cullowhee, N.C. - The Western Carolina Catamount volleyball team put on the game uniforms for the first time this preseason, holding an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday afternoon in the Ramsey Center Auxiliary Gymnasium.
The 90-minute, three-set scrimmage featured two teams, but interchangeable personnel as the WCU coaching staff continued to mix-up both lineups throughout the scrimmage to allow for position assessment. Each set was closely contested, two going beyond the regulation 25 points to be decided.
"Overall, I was pleased with the level of play and how far we've come this preseason," said head coach Karen Glover. "We saw some good things, and obviously saw a few things we need to work on. We were able to move some people around. We'll look over the film and use that to make some adjustments in practice before we head into the first week of our season."
"I want to thank all the fans for coming out; it was a great turnout. Hopefully this will translate to our regular season and we'll keep getting fans to come out. It was nice to see the girls step up and play in front of a live audience, to get that chance to get some of the jitters they might have out," added Glover.
WCU's 13 healthy players all saw action with two senior leaders - Caitlin Piechota and Jordan Timmermann - pacing the way in the unofficial statistics. Timmerman was credited with a double-double, collecting 11 kills and 13 digs while classmate Piechota just missed the double-dip with a match-high 16 kills and nine digs. Freshman middle blocker Kaycey Cermin had 10 kills with two Catamounts - senior Addy George and sophomore Courtney Ireland - finishing with nine kills apiece. George - who paced the SoCon in blocking a year ago - added four blocks.
Sophomore Lauren Saxby thrilled the crowd with numerous thunderous kills, credited with eight on the afternoon to accompany nine digs. Freshman Katie O'Connor was also impressive, finishing with six kills and a match-high five blocks including three solo. Returning letter winner Brandi Anderson recorded seven kills and a pair of block assists while Nicole Ford posted four kills and a block.
The two setters, which alternated sides the most during the scrimmage, both had strong outings on the afternoon. Returning junior Cristina Nazario posted a double-double with 28 assists and 12 digs while her freshman counterpart Jo-Leigh Vervelde was credited with 35 assists and 20 digs, pacing both sides with five service aces.
The afternoon began with a hotdog cookout with the 75-plus spectators that filtered into the Auxiliary Gymnasium treated to a free lunch prior to the exciting on-court action. Prior to the first serve, Glover addressed those in attendance including introducing each player by name, class and position.
Western Carolina opens regular season play on Friday, Aug. 29 in tournament action in Orlando, Fla., in the Radisson UCF Invitational. The Catamounts face Florida International at Noon on Aug. 29, before facing the host Knights at the Venue at UCF at 7:30 pm. WCU wraps up tournament play against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Aug. 30.
The first home match for the volleyball Catamounts is Tuesday, Sept. 9 against in-state foe, Charlotte, at 7:00 pm in the Ramsey Center main arena.
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