Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina's volleyball student-athletes report to campus on Wednesday (Aug. 6) to begin preparations for their 2014 season which opens Aug. 29 in tournament action in Orlando, Fla.
The volleyball Catamounts report Wednesday afternoon with the first team meeting scheduled for that evening. The first practice session of the preseason is slated for 9:00 am on Thursday morning, with a second practice to be held later in the afternoon.
All told, WCU's preseason schedule features 17 practices including six two-a-day sessions. Once classes begin on Monday, Aug. 18, the focus shifts back to a normal practice schedule as the squad eyes its season-opening tournament at UCF in Orlando, Fla. The Catamounts are scheduled to hold their first intrasquad, Purple & Gold scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 23 that will be open to the public.
WCU plays its first home match in the Ramsey Center on Tuesday, Sept. 9 against in-state foe, Charlotte.
Fourth-year head coach Karen Glover returns a bulk of her squad from 2013, which finished the year 18-13 overall - its first winning ledger and the most victories for the Purple & Gold in a single-season dating back to 2002 (22-12). Glover's squad posted an 8-8 mark in the Southern Conference, advancing to the post-season conference tournament for the first time since 2011.
WCU's 2014 roster features four seniors including last year's offensive leaders in Jordan Timmermann and Caitlin Piechota, as well as the squad's defensive leader in Addy George, who led the team in blocks (137 total, 1.28 block/set). Timmermann amassed a team-high 374 kills with a 3.37 kill per set average, while Piechota was second with 274 kills and a 2.47 average. Right-side hitter Brandi Anderson, a product of Holly Springs, N.C., rounds out the quartet of seniors coming off a season where she averaged 1.41 kills per set.
The Catamount side also returns three juniors including starters in setter Cristina Nazario (10.14 assists/set) and Nicole Ford (1.71 kills/set, 0.89 blocks/set). Junior libero Elyssa Mulheron has played in 42 career matches including 24 a year ago behind WCU's all-time leader in digs, since graduated senior Morgan Cochran (2,165 career digs).
Rounding out the 2014 roster, Glover and WCU have two sophomores in outside hitters Courtney Ireland and Lauren Saxby, with five new faces including middle blocker Kaycey Cermin (College Station, Texas), defensive specialist Lucy Lambert (Matthews, N.C.), middle blocker Katie O'Connor (Cartersville, Ga.), defensive specialist Reeve Reinsborough (Dallas, Texas) and setter Jo-Leigh Vervelde (Oostburg, Wisc.).