2006 Volleyball outlook: Setters and defensive specialists
This upcoming Saturday, Aug. 19, the Longhorns volleyball team will meet the public at the "Sneak Peak/Open House/Youth Clinic" at Gregory Gym. The youth clinic begins at 3:30 p.m., followed by an Alumni match and a dinner for all fans and friends in a "meet and greet" the team setting. This is the second of two parts of the 2006 season preview where head coach Jerritt Elliott breaks down his team by position. Today, his focus is on the setters and the defensive specialists.
There always is strength in numbers, and for the 2006 UT volleyball team, the team's strength and depth is indicated at all positions -- especially at the setter and defensive specialist spots. Texas enters 2006 with three setters -- two experienced, and one a consensus high school All-American - and with a trio of defensive specialists as well.
"This is the first time we have depth at every position, and that is what it takes to be a championship-type program -- you have to have that type of competition, in your gym and in your practices, every day," notes Longhorns head coach Jerritt Elliott.
En route to UT's 24-5 season a year ago, the Longhorns received a great performance from All-America setter Michelle Moriarty. Moriarty enters her junior season after averaging 13.38 assists per game in 2005, a mark which ranked 10th nationally as she led the Horns to a .272 team hitting percentage. She recorded 1,392 assists in 2005, the eighth-highest single-season total in UT history.
Michelle Moriarty (#4, 5-10 Jr.)... 2005 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention, 1st Team All-Region, 1st Team All-Big 12 ... 2006 All-Big 12 Preseason Team ... recorded 1,392 assists, eighth-highest single-season UT total ever ... 10th nationally with 13.38 assists per game
· Both Engle and Andrew add another dimension at the net with greater attacking and blocking capabilities.
Elliott's Outlook: The Setters
Jenny (Andrew) had a great spring, improved tremendously, and will again push for playing time. Ashley is a tremendous talent with USA junior national team experience. She only has been setting for a few years, but the strength in her hands is at an elite level. With her height and versatility, she can be a major offensive threat as a setter and arguably also is one of the best attackers coming into the college game as well."
Defensive Specialist Headlines
Elliott's Outlook: Defensive Specialists
Kiley Hall had a great spring after seeing significant time as a defensive substitute last year, and we expect her to get better and better. Kiley has a solid jump serve as well and can add depth to our team on the outside hitter position.
With Heather Kisner, there are a lot of similarities to Alyson in terms of her competitiveness and her ability to sacrifice her body a lot. She will push immediately for playing time due to that competitiveness, and our fans will really enjoy watching her personality on the floor.
These three give us an exciting group of players who can hold down the ball control and complement the big players up front."