Aug. 22, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. -
The 2012 Catamount Volleyball season begins Friday with Western Carolina’s season-opening match against Northern Kentucky at 6:00 pm on the first day of the Western Carolina Invitational Volleyball Tournament, presented by Best Western Plus. WCU returns nine to its roster in 2012 while welcoming five newcomers.
Freshmen Tina Nazario and Cally Pfeiffer will battle for the starting role at the setter position in 2012. Having two setters will give WCU versatility to run multiple offenses this season. A season ago, the Catamounts utilized converted setter - Brittany Lysik - solely in the position. Nazario graduated from Spring Valley High School (Columbia, S.C.) in December of 2011 and joined the WCU family in January of 2012 to get a jump start with the Western Carolina program. Pfeiffer had a strong finish to her senior year as she was named Wakefield High School’s Most Valuable Player.
Last season senior Brittany Lysik moved to the setter’s role for Western Carolina. Lysik led the team in assists with 1,075 in 2011 to move the Cary, N.C. native to tenth on the all-time assists list. Lysik averaged 8.86 assists per set. Lysik was also second on the team in service aces with 31.
Junior libero Morgan Cochran will look to continue her solid defensive play in 2012 after leading the Catamounts in digs for the second straight season. A 2010 SoCon All-Freshman Team member, Cochran ranked fourth in the SoCon averaging 4.63 digs per set. Cochran totaled 417 digs on the season.
Sophomore Paige McConlogue had a solid start to her WCU career in 2011 as the Albermarle, N.C., native finished the season with 229 digs as a defensive specialist for the Catamounts.
Transfer Cayla Crawley brings leadership as one of two seniors on the roster. The Bryson City, N.C., native played three years for Lenoir-Rhyne University. Also returning is sophomore Mallory Harris who saw limited action in 2011. Incoming freshman Elyssa Mulheron will be transitioning to a defensive role from the outside hitter position that she played in high school.
-OUTSIDE HITTERS/RIGHT SIDE-
Senior captain Abbey Scroggins returns for her final season in the Purple and Gold. The Gaston, Indiana-native posted 181 kills, 149 digs and 58 blocks during the 2011 season. Joining Scroggins on the right side will be sophomore Brandy Anderson. Anderson - the tallest Catamount at 6-3 - saw limited action in 2011.
Returning to the outside will be two members of the 2011 SoCon All-Freshman Team, Caitlin Piechota and Jordan Timmermann. Piechota led the team in kills with 286, while Timmermann ranked third with 251.Timmermann ranked second on the team in digs with 355, averaging just over three digs per set. Timmermann and Piechota were both very versatile for the Catamounts in 2011, as Piechota was second on the team in double-doubles (12) with Timmermann following her in third (seven). Brittany Lysik led WCU in double-doubles with 15. Piechota finished the regular season with seven straight double-doubles.
Also looking to make an impact on the outside in her freshman season is Nicole Ford. Ford was the Big South 3A Conference Player of the Year for her efforts at Kings Mountain HS.
The Catamounts look to replace two of the most successful middle blockers in Western Carolina history in graduates Carrie Minogue and Rebecca Stoltz. Minogue was second on the team in kills (281) while leading the team in blocks in 2011 with 87, while also becoming WCU’s fifth all-time blocker logging 305 over her career. Minogue also finished eighth all-time in hitting percentage (.243). Stoltz led the team in service aces (37), logged the second most blocks (80) while also moving into the all-time blocks list (10th) with 265 total blocks.
Sophomores Addy George and Leah Butler will assume the roles in the middle. George is a versatile player who has now found a home as a middle blocker. George saw action in 11 matches in 2011 with hitting percentage of .348. Butler - who also competed with the track team in 2011 - brings physicality and athleticism to the middle.
Nicole Ford, an athletic freshman from Kings Mountain, N.C., also looks to add depth and could compete for playing time early in the season as an outside hitter and/or a middle blocker.
The Catamounts will play at 6:30 pm against NKU Friday with two matches being played on Saturday (St. Peter’s, 12:00 pm; North Carolina A&T, 6:30 pm). All three of WCU's matches during the tournament will be streamed on CatamountSports.com by TV-62 with Game Tracker also being available.