Aug. 15, 2012
IRVING, Texas -
Two-time defending Conference USA champion Tulsa has been tabbed as the 2012 C-USA Volleyball Preseason favorite. The Golden Hurricane collected 142 points and 11 of 12 first-place preseason votes as selected by the league's 12 head coaches. The Golden Hurricane advanced to the second round of the 2011 NCAA Championship after producing a 28-7 overall record and 18-2 league mark. Tulsa returns 88.4 percent of its offensive power, 96 percent from the dig category and 81 percent of its blocking presence at the net.
2012 C-USA Composite Volleyball Schedule
2012 C-USA Preseason Release
Second-year head coach STEVEN McROBERTS returns five starters, including two-time C-USA Player of the Year TYLER HENDERSON, nine letterwinners and the 2012 C-USA Libero of the Year in senior JESSICA ADAMS. Henderson enters the season as the league's Preseason Player of the Year and a member of the preseason all-conference team. The senior outside hitter repeated her AVCA All-America second team honors after ranking fifth in the NCAA in kills per set (4.86) and 13th in points per set (5.11). She also is a three-time All-C-USA and AVCA Midwest Region First Team honoree. Adams and senior DIANA SILVA, both 2011 All-C-USA First Teamers, also appear on the All-C-USA Preseason list after having stellar junior campaigns. Adams averaged 4.85 digs per set last year, while Silva tallied 13 double-doubles in 35 matches.
Rice tallied 119 preseason votes for second, while UCF was a close third with 113 points. UAB rounds out the top four with 103.
The Owls finished the 2011 campaign with an 18-13 record and tied for second place in the conference standings with a 13-7 mark. For the 2012 season, ninth-year head coach GENNY VOLPE welcomes back 10 letterwinners and all six starters, minus the primary libero, from last year's squad. Rice returns All-C-USA selections and preseason honorees in senior outside hitter NANCY COLE and junior setter MEGAN MURPHY. Cole earned first team accolades while Murphy was voted to the second team. In addition, the duo placed on the AVCA All-Midwest Region and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention teams. She led the club and ranked fourth in C-USA with a .335 hitting efficiency (378K-108E-807TA) followed by appearing at No. 7 in the league with 3.23 kills per set and No. 8 in blocks (1.03) and points (3.99) per set. Murphy dished out 10.89 assists per set to rank fourth best in the league.
After an impressive 20-win season a year ago, UCF enters the 2012 campaign with a C-USA preseason team ranking of No. 3 and one first-place vote. Fifth-year head coach TODD DAGENAIS
returns an experienced group that includes six-of-seven starters, including Preseason and 2011 All-C-USA First Team selection ANGELICA CRUMP
. The junior outside hitter ranked third in the league with 499 kills and a 4.34 kills per set average, a figure that also placed 22nd in the nation. Her offensive and defensive success resulted in accumulating 529.5 points which appeared third best on the C-USA list. Crump became the youngest Knight to earn AVCA Honorable Mention accolades along with earning AVCA All-Midwest Region First Team honors.
UAB ranked fourth in the preseason standings. The Blazers are another program that returns all six starters but seventh-year head coach KERRY MESSERSMITH must find a way to replace the program's all-time great libero in Heather Thomas. UAB returns 93 percent of its offense and 95 percent of its blocking from a team that finished tied for second in the C-USA ranks at 13-7 and 23-9 overall. The Blazers will look to Preseason All-C-USA selection SAM SERLEY as she became just the second player in UAB volleyball history to earn back-to-back AVCA All-America Honorable Mention merits a year ago. The senior middle blocker concluded the 2011 slate ranked third in C-USA in hitting percentage with a .351 accuracy and blocks per set at 1.31. Her strong performance in the front row, where she recorded 154 total blocks, helped her earn All-C-USA First Team honors.
Houston, SMU, Memphis and UTEP are slated to finish a respective No. 5 through No. 8 in the league standings, while Tulane, Southern Miss, Marshall and East Carolina look to surprise some teams this season.
Also earning All-C-USA Preseason honors were ALTRESE HAWKINS of Memphis, SMU's COURTNEY MANNING, CORI MARTONE of Tulane and UTEP's XITLALI HERRERA.
Hawkins, a senior outside hitter, is coming off a stellar season as she led the team and ranked second in Conference USA with 532 kills and a 4.40 kills per set average, which ranked 19th nationally. Hawkins led the Tigers with a .285 attacking percentage en route to becoming a two-time AVCA All-American Honorable Mention honoree as well as a two-time AVCA All-Midwest Region and All-C-USA First Team selection last season.
Manning, a senior middle blocker, was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. She finished the season with a team-high .307 hitting percentage, ninth best in Conference USA, and registered 2.21 kills per set. Defensively, she was ninth in the country with a conference-high 1.49 blocks per set, and tied for second in the nation with 184 total blocks, third most for a C-USA single season. Her 161 block assists also ranks as the second most in league history for a single season. Against C-USA opponents, the Mustangs established league records for most blocks (249) and block assists (431) for a single season.
Martone was the headliner for the Green Wave during the 2011 campaign. She earned All-C-USA Second Team accolades, after being named C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2010. The junior spent time at both the middle blocker and outside hitter positions and ended the season ranked among the conference leaders in kills and points per set. She ranked fifth in the league for most kills per set at 3.45, followed by ranking sixth for most points per set with a 4.03 average.
Herrera concludes the 11-member preseason all-conference team. The junior middle blocker was named to the all-conference first team and appeared on the All-Midwest Region Honorable Mention list in 2011. Herrera led the Miners in hitting percentage (.321), blocks (132) and kills (384). For the year, she registered 11 double-doubles and recorded double-digit kill performances in 25 matches.
All 12 Conference USA volleyball programs are set to open the 2012 season at various tournaments the weekend of August 24-26.
After a two-year hiatus, the Conference USA Championship will return. Tulsa, the two-time defending regular season C-USA champions, will host the 2012 tournament Nov. 16-18 at the Reynolds Center. Rice won the last C-USA Championship in 2009, the school's first conference volleyball title.
2012 C-USA PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL COACHES POLL
|1. Tulsa (11)|
|3. UCF (1)|
|10. Southern Miss|
|12. East Carolina|
(#) First Place Votes in Parenthesis
2012 C-USA PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL TEAM
|Altrese Hawkins||Memphis||OH/5-10||Senior||Schaumburg, Ill.|
|Nancy Cole||Rice||MB/6-3||Senior||Pasadena, Texas|
|Megan Murphy||Rice||S/5-10||Junior||Plano, Texas|
|Courtney Manning||SMU||MB/6-0||Senior||Mesquite, Texas|
|Cori Martone||Tulane||MB/OH/6-0||Junior||Baton Rouge, La.|
|Jessica Adams||Tulsa||DS/L/5-7||Senior||Oklahoma City, Okla.|
|Tyler Henderson||Tulsa||OH/5-10||Senior||Oklahoma City, Okla.|
|Diana Silva||Tulsa||OH/5-9||Senior||Niteroi, Brazil|
|Sam Serley||UAB||MB/6-2||Senior||Nashville, Tenn.|
|Angelica Crump||UCF||OH/6-3||Junior||Atlanta, Ga.|
|Xitlali Herrera||UTEP||MB/6-0||Junior||Juarez, Mexico|