Husky Volleyball Begins Fall Practice

Aug. 11, 2004

SEATTLE -- The seventh-ranked Washington volleyball team began fall practice today, with 10 returners from last season's Elite Eight team. Head coach Jim McLaughlin is excited about the year ahead and hopes the Huskies can once again make a strong run in the postseason.'Everybody is excited about the beginning of the season,' said McLaughlin. 'It's always a thrilling time and it's the easiest part of the season because the positions aren't defined as we are getting back into the swing of things. It's just exciting that we get to play again. Our girls are more ready than I have ever seen them.'The 2004 edition of Husky volleyball includes four returning starters including outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic, middle blocker Darla Myhre, libero Candace Lee and setter Courtney Thompson. Last season, all four players were named to All-Pac-10 teams and Tomasevic earned first team All-American honors. This season, Tomasevic and Thompson will return as team captains.'Sanja and Courtney did great last year as captains so we are going to go with them again,' said McLaughlin. 'They have provided some really sound leadership and we don't want to change things--we just want them to get better.'The Huskies enter the season with a No. 7 national ranking in the AVCA USA Today/CSTV poll but aren't letting the top 10 ranking go to their heads.'Every year you respond the same,' said McLaughlin. 'Last year we weren't ranked in the preseason poll and we finished in the top 10. This year we are in the top 10, but we try not to focus on that too much. The girls are excited but what matters to us is that we get a little better every day. We need to just take care of what we need to take care of and make progress every time we're on the court. If we do that, the ranking is going to be kind of fun in the end.'The Huskies were also picked to finish third in the Pac-10 by the league's coaches. It's a ranking that legitimizes the improvements McLaughlin has made to the program over the last three years.'I kind of went `wow' when I saw us picked to finish third but the preseason ranking doesn't mean too much,' said McLaughlin. It's just a bunch of coaches' opinions. UW is beginning to move up a little bit and people are beginning to give us more respect but what happens along the way is what is going to matter. We have talked about it early on and we are talking about it again. We are getting better and that is just kind of the Washington way.'The Huskies open the season with an exhibition match against Trinity Western on Sept. 1. Gametime is slated for 5 p.m. and admission will be free.

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