|2001 Season Preview|
The women's volleyball team enters 2001 with all six starters and 11 of its 12 players from last season's 35-6 team, one of the best ever. The Cardinals won a school-record 18 consecutive matches and captured the CAC regular-season championship along with the Washington and Lee Tournament for the second consecutive season. The team also captured the titles at the Galluadet University Tournament and its own CUA Invitational. For his team's success, head coach Nagy Abdelrazek earned Mid-Atlantic Region and CAC Coach of the Year honors in 2000.
"2001 is going to be a very special season for myself and my players. All the hard work will pay off for the young ladies, especially the seniors. We hope to be the first team in school history to go to the NCAA Tournament," says Abdelrazek, entering his ninth season. Abdelrazek led Catholic to the CAC championship game for the second consecutive season and was named CAC Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1999.
"Winning those tournaments were great for the program and the awards were an honor for myself and the team, but we have our sights set on the NCAA Tournament."
Coach Abdelrazek and his team have all the tools to help accomplish that goal. Returning are first-team All CAC selections senior captain Mary Ellen Ryan (Gulph Mills, Pa./Merion Mercy Academy) and junior co-captain Bridget Guetle (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Ursula Academy).
Ryan, a senior, was second on the squad a year ago in kills (307), service aces (44), and her 3.55 digs per game led the team. She was also named CAC Player of the Week.
"We feel that Mary Ellen might be one of the premier players in the CAC, possibly an MVP candidate," adds Abdelrazek.
Guetle, a junior and the CAC Rookie of the Year in 1999, was the team's setter, averaging 9.3 assists per game and shoveling out 3.3 digs per contest. Her 451 digs and 55 service aces led CU in 2000. Junior Katie Acuff (Hanahan, S.C./Hanahan) provides excellent depth for the Cardinals at the setter position.
Also adding an offensive punch up front will be senior Liz Carden (Baker, Fla./Baker). A second-team All CAC selection, Carden led CU in kills (331) and kills per game (3.21). Teaming with Ryan, the duo will be one of the more potent outside hitters in the conference.
Sophomore Kathleen McGlynn (Tallahasee, Fla./Leon), last year's CAC Rookie of the Year will be looked upon to shore up the middle. Her .247 hitting percentage led CU and her 69 blocks were second to Liz Schreiner (West Chester, Pa./Villa Maria Academy), who led the team in blocks (174) and blocks per game (1.67).
Sophomore Anji Wall (Daphne, Ala./McGill Toolen),
senior Alexis Rollert
(Comstock Park, Mich./West Catholic), and juniors Tarrah Beebe (Hull, Mass./Notre Dame) and Amanda Cook (Lake Mary, Fla./Seminole) will add valuable depth to the middle blocker and outside hitter positons.
Senior co-captain Kelly Kings (Pensacola,
Fla./Pensacola Catholic), "is one of
the hardest working individuals on the team," says Abdelrazek. "Her
leadership and toughness will hopefully rub off on the younger players."
Freshman Emily Mott (Vestao, N.Y./Vestao) will see some time, backing up Bridget Guetle at the setter position. Mott was a three-year starter and team captain in high school, leading her squad to the state championship during her senior year.
The Cardinal will play in seven tournaments this season including the season-opening Franklin and Marshall Tournament and participate in Washington and Lee, Richard Stockton, and Salisbury Tournaments. Catholic will also travel to Atlanta for the first time to play in the Emory University Tournament.