Volleyball Kicks Off Season With OSU Showcase

Aug. 28, 2001

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THE OPENING WEEKEND: The Oregon State volleyball team kicks off the 2001 season with the annual OSU Volleyball Showcase from Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at Gill Coliseum. Joining the Beavers will be San Jose State, Sacramento State and Southern Illinois. OSU faces San Jose State at 7 p.m. on Friday, with matches against Southern Illinois (12 p.m.) and Sacramento State (7:30 p.m.) on Saturday. Admission is free for all matches.

PUT THOSE RALLY CAPS ON: Several significant rules changes have been implemented for the collegiate volleyball game this season. The most noticeable difference will be the move from sideout volleyball to a rally scoring format where each play will result in a point. The first four games will be scored to 30 points, with the winner holding a two-point lead. The fifth and deciding game will be played to 15 with the winner leading by two points. Other significant changes involve the serve. Players must serve the ball within eight seconds after the referee authorizes service and will not be allowed a second toss for service. Further, the collegiate game will mimic the international game with the let serve. A served ball will remain in play if it hits the net and continues its path to the opposition's court. A service ace can be earned if the ball falls to the opposition's side of the court on the serve, despite contact with the net on service.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE BEAVERS: Oregon State returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from the 2000 team that went 16-16, narrowly missing out on being eligible for the NCAA Tournament.

PROBABLE STARTERS (with notes and 2000 statistics)

#2 Gina Schmidt, 5-11, Sr., OH2000 All-Pacific-10 Team, 548 kills (4.42 kpg), 397 digs (3.20 dpg), 4th in Pac-10 for kills, 6th for digs

#5 Michele Solomon, 6-0, Jr., MB9th in the Pac-10 for blocking in 2000, 120 blocks (0.98 bpg), 436 kills (2.40 kpg)

#6 Lori Daedelow, 5-10, Sr., OH162 kills (1.95 kpg), 192 digs (2.31 dpg)

#13 Joscelyn Hannaford, 6-1, Jr., OH/MB330 kills (2.89 kpg), 238 digs (2.09), Ranked 7th in the Pac-10 for serving, with 0.32 sapg (36 total)

#21 Amanda Eggert, 6-4, Fr. (RS), MBRedshirted her true freshman year in 2000

#23 Laura Collins, 5-9, So., SLimited action as a true freshman in 2000, 2.72 apg, 1.16 dpg

Probable Defensive Specialists

#10 Jessica Papell, 5-8, Sr., DS291 digs (2.53 dpg), 25 aces (0.22 sapg)

#31 Nikki Neuburger, 5-8, Jr., DS255 digs (2.22 dpg), 17 aces (0.15)

SOMERA SAYS:

* On preparation leading up to the season opener:'The preseason always comes and goes rather quickly and you always wish you had more time. But, we're itching to get across the net with someone other than OSU. We're eager to kick the year off right. Offensively, we're a lot more offensive that we've been in the past. Defensively, we should be steady against anybody.'

* On the new rally scoring format:'It's hard to say whether it will play in our favor. It definitely keeps the game progressing to the end faster. There's not a whole lot of time to think about things. You just need to move on. I think it will be more exciting to watch.'

TOUGH FIELD AT THIS YEAR'S SHOWCASE: The Beavers will be challenged to repeat as champions of the Volleyball Showcase, with this year's field featuring some tough competition. Sacramento State and San Jose State both advanced to the NCAA last season. Sacramento State returns five starters from last year's squad, which went went 21-12 and won the Big Sky Conference. San Jose State was 22-10 last year, placing second in the Western Athletic Conference, with five starters back on the team this season. The Spartans received three votes in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll. While Southern Illinois went just 8-22 a year ago, the Salukis do have all six starters back this year.

LAST YEAR'S SHOWCASE: The Beavers captured the 2000 Volleyball Showcase title with wins over Boise State, Stetson and Western Illinois. Current junior Michele Solomon was named the tournament MVP after hitting .543 with 28 kills and eight blocks. Current senior Gina Schmidt also picked up all-tourney honors after leading the Beavers with 34 kills and 33 digs in three matches.

MILLENIUM MARK NEARING FOR SCHMIDT: Gina Schmidt needs just 19 kills to reach 1,000 kills for her career. She enters the 2001 season with 981 career kills, ranking 11th on the career charts. Just one kill will tie her for 10th place in OSU history. Schmidt, who had 548 kills as a junior (third on the OSU single-season charts), could very well reach the 1,000 kill milestone against San Jose State in the first match of the season as she had 20 kills in 12 matches last year. Schmidt would become the ninth OSU player to record 1,000 career kills should she reach that milestone. She could also become the ninth Beaver to record 1,000 digs, as she enters the season needing 204 digs to join that group. She had a team-high 397 digs (sixth on OSU's season charts) a year ago.

SOLOMON MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Michele Solomon has already made her way into the top 10 for career blocks after just two seasons with the Beavers. She ranks 10th for total blocks, with 231 - 27 away from tying Chris Eilliott (258, 1980-83) for ninth place. Solomon also ranks eighth for career block assists with 201. With 26 more, she'll tie Shelly Smith (227, 1991-94) for seventh place.

BEAVERS PICKED EIGHTH IN PAC-10 COACHES' POLL: For the second year in a row, the Pac-10 volleyball coaches have picked Oregon State to finish eighth in the league, according to their preseason coaches' poll. USC, ranked second in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Top 25 Poll, narrowly egded out Stanford as the coaches' prediction to win the Pac-10 this season. Stanford, Arizona and UCLA join USC in the national poll as well.

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: The Beavers are under the direction of third-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 24-34, arrived at OSU in February 1999 after spending time as an assistant coach at USC since 1991. While at USC, Somera helped the team earn eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. She also helped develop eight USC All-Americans. Somera also played collegiately at USC, and she was a two-time All-Pacific-10 Team selection. She still holds the USC record for career and single-season aces.

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