UM volleyball season gets underway Saturday

Coach Joe Getzin believes the Lady Rebels can make a step up this season and show even more progress.

After two weeks of intensive pres-season training on campus, the Ole Miss volleyball team begins transitions from pre-season drills to game week preparation as the Rebels will open up the season with Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, August 27, at 2 p.m.

The Rebels reported to camp on August 5, and went through daily workouts and practices in preparation for the season. From conditioning work, to installing the offense and working the six newcomers into the system, Ole Miss hit the court running and has not looked back.

"I'm very pleased with the progress we have made in our preseason training," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. "The team came back with a great deal of energy and effort. The girls are responding to the new challenges we are putting in front of them.

"We also have a new assistant coaching staff and that has really brought a lot of experience to us and they bring an experience and energy that adds a bright new perspective to things," Getzin said.

The Rebels return eight position players and bring in six newcomers for the 2005 squad, but of the 15 players on roster, only two have more than one year of experience on the court for Ole Miss. Juniors Kristen Carroll and Jaclyn Toohey are the only returning players who have played more than one season with the young squad. That doesn't mean the Rebels are without talent or experience, however.

Seniors Tricia Agee, Nikki Hill and Ashleigh Shear bring a wealth of volleyball experience with them, as all three transfers bring a mix of athleticism, perseverance and leadership. Hill transferred to Ole Miss from Northwest Shoals Community College and was a two-time All-America selection at that level before joining the Rebels for the 2004 season. Agee and Shear both transferred from Western Carolina and the U.S. Naval Academy, respectively, to join the Rebels a season ago. All three will be looked to for leadership and consistency in the 2005 season.

Among the newcomers are a mix of positions and talent from across the country as all come to Ole Miss with a wealth of volleyball experience and knowledge that can help the Rebels immediately.

"We have six newcomers who have really filled their roles nicely and are challenging for positions and time on the floor," Getzin said. "They are far enough along in the development and learning the system that all are pushing for playing time, and that is a good thing when you have options. Now it's simply a matter of fine tuning our offense and defense as we get ready for our first match and an exciting season."

The Rebels will take to the court for the first match on Saturday before then heading out on the road to play at the University of Houston the following weekend in a tournament. Ole Miss will then return home to host the 2005 edition of the Magnolia Invitational featuring teams like top-25 Texas, North Carolina State, Lamar and Lipscomb.

The season opener this weekend is earlier than those in the past, but it is one that Getzin feels has helped his team in the preseason as it prepares for competition.

"We are really excited about the earlier start date for this season when we open up with Louisiana-Monroe," Getzin said. "We have been more focused in the preseason about being prepared. We are ready for school to start and move into game preparation mode this week. We're really looking forward to the rhythm of being in season."

Ole Miss and Louisiana-Monroe will face off at 2 p.m. at the Gillom Center on Saturday, August 27. The matches are free to the Ole Miss student body, but admission will be charged for the first time this season. Tickets for the general public are five dollars on an individual game basis. High school students and under will be admitted for two dollars.

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