CULLOWHEE, N.C. - With the preseason winding down and the new school year just over the horizon, the Western Carolina volleyball team will hold its annual Purple & Gold scrimmage Saturday afternoon from noon until 1 pm inside the Ramsey Center Auxiliary Gym. It will be the fans first opportunity to catch the team in action prior to its season opener Aug. 25 against Charleston Southern.
Head coach Karen Glover welcomed in 15 student-athletes to preseason camp which began on Aug. 7 with a team meeting and dinner prior to the first practice of the 2017 season on Aug. 8.
“Overall I’m pleased with how we’ve been coming along and meshing as a team,” said Glover prior to Friday afternoon’s practice. “We still have a lot of work to do but overall I’ve been really happy with the intensity and focus we’ve had so far.”
The Catamounts feature a five-member senior class who will be looked upon to lead the squad this season. Jo-Leigh VerVelde, Katie O'Connor, Gabby Edmondson, Reeve Reinsborough and Kaycey Cermin will all play a significant role in leading the team this season during their final year wearing the Purple & Gold.
“They are doing a great job of including the younger players and setting the standard of this is how we act, how we train and how we do things,” said Glover when talking about her senior class. “They have been leading by example and keeping the culture of our team in a really good place.”
The Catamounts also have five freshmen who are taking in the college experience for the first time. The group is one of the most highly-decorated freshmen classes in Glover’s time at Western Carolina and fans can expect some early contributions from several members of the group. Gabby Gray, Caroline Perret, Hannah Price, MaKenzie White and Morgan Williams will all vie for spots in the lineup this season.
“We are really excited about this incoming group and I believe it’s one of the best recruiting classes we’ve had,” said Glover when talking about her talented freshmen. “I’m really excited to see the things they will be able to do this year for the team and I think you’ll see some of them make immediate contributions to the program.”
Every preseason camp features several team-building activities that have included white water rafting and hiking in the past but coach Glover believes those outside factors have not been needed as much this season as she has seen her team come together mostly on their own.
“This preseason was a little more low key,” said Glover. “We just did some games and things like that. This group has just come together really quickly on their own and not needed a lot of external forces to try to make them bond. They are a really close group and it is nice to see. They are a fun group to work with and a fun group to coach.”
One annual tradition that continued this season was the program helping with Freshman Move-In Day on campus. The team volunteered their time Friday morning to help move first year students into their dorm rooms.
“We love doing things that give back to the community and especially to our campus,” said Glover. “Being able to help out with move-in day is a great thing for those incoming freshmen and their parents to get a warm welcome to Cullowhee and our campus.”
The Catamounts will hit the court tomorrow, Aug. 19 at noon for the Purple & Gold Scrimmage and fans are invited to attend. The match will take place in the Auxiliary Gym inside the Ramsey Center. Following the scrimmage fans can move outside for the football team’s “Meet the Cats” scrimmage which will take place from 1 pm until 3:30 pm. Both events are free to the public.