Volleyball team begins practice

The University of Tennessee volleyball team officially christened the 2010 campaign on Wednesday, conducting the first team practice of the season. Four highly touted freshmen joined a total of 10 previous Lady Vol letterwinners as they hit the court together for the first time in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee Head Coach Rob Patrick's squad is looking to build off a highly successful 2009 season in which it reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, fashioned an overall record of 24-8, including the most Southeastern Conference wins (16) in school history, and finished with a No. 24 national ranking.

Leading the way in 2010 will be senior Nikki Fowler, a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-SEC member. The Dallas, Texas, native spent her summer with the U.S. Women's National A2 Blue Team with whom she won a gold medal at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships in Phoenix, Ariz.

Fowler begins this season ranked 12th on Tennessee's career kills chart with 1,256 and needs 526 to break the school record.

Another offensive standout returning for UT is junior Kayla Jeter. A Second Team All-SEC selection in 2009, the Solon, Ohio, product made a name for herself last season, finishing behind only Fowler in the kills department with 353 putaways, good for an average of 2.92 per set. She produced 70 blocks, 97 digs and 10 service aces as well.

Also returning for the Lady Vols are seniors Leah Hinkey and Emily Steinbeck, juniors Amanda Friday and Kelsey Mahoney and sophomores Alyssa Hilby, DeeDee Harrison, Leslie Cikra and Amanda Brown.

Donning the Orange and White for the first time this season are four highly regarded freshmen in Kelsey Robinson, Carly Sahagian, Kylann Scheidt and Ellen Mullins.

Tennessee will kick off its 2010 schedule August 27-28, when it hosts the eighth annual Comcast Lady Vol Classic. The Lady Vols will welcome Xavier, Chattanooga and Virginia Tech to the friendly confines of Thompson-Boling Arena for the two-day competition.


The Lady Vol volleyball team and head coach Rob Patrick will host a free coaches' clinic from 1 to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The clinic, which is geared toward high school, middle school and club coaches, will begin at 1 p.m. when participating coaches will have an opportunity to watch Patrick and his staff demonstrate various drills during a live practice situation from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

An hour-long classroom and question-and-answer session will then follow from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the volleyball locker room.

For more information, please contact assistant coach Dani Busboom in the UT volleyball office at 865-974-8881 or at dbusboom@utk.edu.

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