Georgia Volleyball Announces 2007 Schedule

ATHENS - Georgia will open its 2007 volleyball season on Aug. 24-25 at the Georgia Southern Tournament in Statesboro, Ga. The Bulldogs are scheduled to kick-off their home schedule against the University of South Carolina-Upstate on Sept. 4 and will host their first Southeastern Conference opponent Sept. 21.

Head coach Joel McCartney is leading the Bulldogs for the first year after taking Winthrop University to five straight NCAA Tournaments. Joining McCartney on the bench in 2007 will be Deitre Collins-Parker, who was a two-time national player of the year at the University of Hawaii and former Cornell University head coach, and Chad Callihan, who is the former Appalachian State University head coach.

McCartney, who is the fifth head coach in Georgia volleyball history, is expecting five new players to add to Georgia's roster, which lost only one senior from 2006 (Simona Speed). Here's what McCartney's thoughts are about the upcoming campaign:

What was your intention when finalizing the schedule for this season? "Most of the scheduling in our sport occurs during the summer and fall for the next season of competition, so the majority of the 2007 schedule was complete when I arrived in January. That being said, the intention of our 2007 schedule is to give our team a chance to be successful in the preseason with the thought that we can use that experience to carry over into the (SEC) competitions.

"We scheduled a few more mid-week matches at home knowing we found ourselves without hosting a tournament for the fall season. However, our home tournament will return in 2008 and we will feature the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech match-up as the highlight for that event. The importance of our 2007 season is evident to each one of us, as it becomes the foundation of everything we are about to embark on with the journey in becoming a competitive program and a contender inside and out of the SEC."

How important is Georgia's five-match homestand during the middle of the season?

"The greatest benefit to any extended homestand in the middle of a season is the needed physical and emotional rest it will provide. We feel it could serve as a springboard for the remaining half of our season and look forward to using it as a benchmark as to what we would be able to accomplish to that point in the year. On a personal note, I am eager to meet our Bulldog fans and look forward to leading our program to the place they long for Georgia volleyball to be."

With five new players joining the team, how long are you expecting them to take to get up to the speed of volleyball in the SEC? "The initial focus will be getting our new athletes up to speed with the Georgia systems so that hopefully we can rely upon them to help us achieve some success prior to entering the SEC season. If we are able to use some of our newcomers early on, they should have the necessary experience to assist in conference play as well."

How did you decide on the Georgia Southern Tournament and what are you hoping the team can pull from those matches? "The Georgia Southern tournament was available late in the scheduling process and when our tournament fell through, we were able to join their event. The tournament should provide a good early test for our program, however at this point I could only guess as to who would be on the court for the Bulldogs and even then I would probably be wrong. We really will have to wait and see what the preseason camp turns out to have a better idea of not only who will be on our court, but also what the team will be capable of doing this season. Equally important to the talent mix will be our ability to mesh the personalities of this group and we will take every measure possible through the duration of our season to address those elements of concern."

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