New Orleans, LA - The Loyola University New Orleans volleyball team will start the season on Friday at the Illinois Tech Tournament in Chicago. The Wolf Pack will open with Concordia at 1 p.m. and Calumet College of St. Joesph at 5 p.m. The tourney concludes on Saturday with the ‘Pack taking on Purdue University Calumet at 11 a.m. and host Illinois Tech at 1 p.m.
Entering their third year in the extremely competitive Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC), the Loyola volleyball team expects to have an outstanding 2012 season following last year’s 23-10 campaign.
Loyola returns ten members from last season, including two seniors, four juniors, and four sophomores. Five new freshmen have been added to the roster, and Head Coach Tommy Harold hopes they will look to the leadership of the seniors.
Returning to the ‘Pack is senior setter Samantha Worsham who ranked 19th in Division I in total services aces (64), and ranked 25th in service aces per game (0.520), following last year’s stellar season. The Chicago native also led the team in assists (1096), averaging 8.8 per game. The Louisiana Sports Writers Association named Worsham Honorable Mention All-Louisiana. The SSAC tabbed her to their All-Conference Team.
Joining Worsham for her senior season is outside hitter Kailey Tuthill, who averaged 2.5 kills per game last season. Tuthill, who hails from Colorado Springs, was named All-West Division by the SSAC.
Junior middle blocker Sabrina Stansberry led the pack in blocks last season with a total of 57. She averaged 1.86 kills per game with a percentage of .260. She joined Tuthill on the SSAC All-West Division Team.
Other returners include junior Libby Collyer (.88 kills/game) and Shelby Plant (.73 kills/game). Katie Broadbent is back after missing 2011 due to an injury. She was second on the team in blocks per game with a .70 average in 2010.
Back for her sophomore seasons outside hitter Lauren Brand, who earned All-Freshman honors by the SSAC. Brand averaged 2.31 kills per game. Also returning after their freshmen campaigns are Becca Burnett (2.04 digs/game) and Tiffany Walker (.8 kills/game).
An exciting group of five newcomers look to make an impressive impact this year. Outside hitters, 5-9 Eva Allen (Oakland, CA) and 5-11 Katie Hamilton (Crystal Lake, IL), will look to make a striking offensive impact. 5-11 middle blocker Kaitlyn Mohr (Winnetka, IL) will add some height to the front line, alongside 5-10 setter Haley Crane (Long Beach, NY). Finally, 5-9 libero Kaylin Storey (Spring, TX) will cover the back court.
Following the Illinois Tech Tournament, Loyola will head south to Houston for a tournament at the University of St. Thomas on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
Loyola will return to New Orleans on Sept. 4th facing cross-town foe, Xavier University. Prior to the start of conference play, the Pack will play in three more road matches including the University of Mobile, followed by Brenau University and Truett McConnell in Georgia.
The team will host their home opener on Sept. 18th against Jesuit rival Spring Hill College, and head to Jackson, MS on Sept. 25th to face Belhaven, before a five-game homestand from Sept. 28th through October 9th, taking on Coastal Georgia, Brewton Parker, Lee University, Faulkner University and Tougaloo College.
The Wolf Pack will finish out the month of October with three away matches at Emmanuel College, Southern Wesleyan and Spring Hill College, and then return home to host the Hampton Inn Wolf Pack Invitational on Oct. 19-20 and the University of Mobile on Oct. 23rd. They will close out the month with a tournament at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS on Oct. 26th, and host Belhaven College at home and face Dillard University in New Orleans on Nov. 1st.
The SSAC Tournament is scheduled to start on Nov. 8th in hopes of a conference title to head into the NAIA Opening Round on the 17th. The NAIA Nationals are scheduled for Nov. 27th – Dec. 1st in Sioux City, IA.