(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans volleyball team will open the 2013 season this Friday at the Oklahoma Baptist Tournament in Shawnee, Okla. The Wolf Pack will take on Texas College at 12:30 p.m. and Wiley College at 5:30 p.m. They will continue action on Saturday with Mid-America Nazarene University at 11:30 a.m. and will face tournament host Oklahoma Baptist University at 4:30 p.m.
Following their 28-9 campaign in 2012, the Wolf Pack enters their fourth year in the highly competitive Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) with high expectations.
Coming off one of their most successful seasons in school history, the Loyola volleyball team returns 12 members from last season. Three newcomers have been added to the roster along with new head coach Margot Frederick.
Returning to the Pack is senior middle blocker Sabrina Stansberry who was named to the SSAC Second Team last year. Stansberry led the team in total blocks (95) averaging 0.8 per game. Senior Katie Broadbent was named to the SSAC All-Academic Team and earned the NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athlete Award at the conclusion of her junior campaign after sustaining a season ending injury the previous year. She contributed 13 kills and nine total blocks in 19 games played and posted career-highs in both categories.
Additionally, juniors Tiffany Walker, Lauren Brand and Kara Nishimuta earned spots on the SSAC All-Academic Team. Walker also earned the Champions of Character award. Brand ranked second on the team in kills per game with an average of 2.49 and a total of 261 kills on the season. Nishimuta tallied career-highs in digs and service aces as a sophomore last year.
Sophomore Eva Allen led Loyola in kills per set with a 2.8 average. Allen along with fellow sophomores Katie Hamilton and Kaitlin Mohr were awarded SSAC All-Freshman Team honors at the conclusion of last season.
With the loss of two seniors, who both had very productive final seasons for the Pack, the incoming freshman class will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact. Freshman Wren Overesch will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the squad. She has played for a number of high-level volleyball clubs and will add depth to the heavy hitters at the outside position. Fellow freshman Katie Philippi’s competitive nature and aggressive style of play are expected to boost team morale and establish a powerful court presence. Daniela Leal led her high school squad to its first ever State Final Four berth and will further develop those leadership skills on the court for the Wolf Pack as a setter.
Following the Oklahoma Baptist Tournament, Loyola will travel to Houston, Texas to compete in the University of St. Thomas Tournament on August 30-31.
The Pack will open regular season play with their first home match against Southern University New Orleans on September 4. The team will see action versus cross-town rivals Xavier University on September 18 as well as conference foes Faulkner University on September 13 and Spring Hill College at the end of the month before a six-game stretch in The Den that runs through the beginning of October.
The team will host the Wolf Pack Invitational on October 18 and 19 and close out regular season play with road trips to SUNO and the University of Mobile at the end of the month.
The SSAC Tournament is slated to begin on November 7 in Montgomery, Alabama. Coach Frederick and her team are excited and optimistic about their chances of capturing a conference title and entering the NAIA Opening Round on November 23. The NAIA Nationals will be held from December 3 to December 7 in Sioux City, Iowa.