JOHNSON CITY, TENN. (Sep. 2, 2004) - The Lady Bucs volleyball squad will begin the 2004 season tomorrow when they travel to Auburn, Ala. to face the host Tigers in the Mizuno/Auburn Challenge. ETSU will also face Iowa State and Birmingham Southern at the two-day event to conclude on Saturday.
Auburn compiled a 10-18 record during the 2003 season competing in the highly talented Southeastern Conference. The Tigers will return five athletes from last year's squad and welcome four freshmen to the 2004 roster. Returning for AU will be their top attacker, Ashlee Johns, who posted a 3.90 kills per game average, as well as their top defensive specialist Julie Bosler who managed 89 total blocks last year. The Tigers are coached by Laura Farina who enters her third season at the helm of the AU program.
Head coach Lindsey Devine returns four starters and a total of six letterwinners from the 2003 squad who went 9-22 with a trip to the Southern Conference championship tournament last November. Karen Freeburg (New Castle, Ind.), the team's lone senior and co-captain, will lead ETSU in becoming a tough conference contender during the 2004 season. Natalie Pittenger (Gaston, Ind.), a sophomore libero for the Lady Bucs, also carries co-captain honors this season.
"We are so excited to have the opportunity to step onto the court this weekend and face tough competition while also seeing our team really come together. We have worked extremely hard throughout the preseason weeks and this weekend will be a great start to our season," Devine said.
Sara Scandiffio (Purcellville, Va.) will bring a strong defensive presence to the net for the Bucs after posting 54 total blocks and 146 kills last year. Brittany Kessel (Libertyville, Ill.) joins the 2004 squad, a transfer from Kent State University, Kessel will step into the setter position this season after a successful freshman campaign where she posted 38 assists and seven kills in 42 games played for the Golden Flashes. Freshmen Michelle Mislan (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Callie Kiselich (Colorado Springs, Co.) will play major roles throughout the 2004 squad as well as Katie Longden (Fort Dodge, Iowa) a transfer from Iowa Central Community College.
Follow the Lady Bucs volleyball squad on www.ETSUBucs.com throughout the weekend for updated scores and game stories.