UMES KICKS OFF SEASON THIS WEEKEND AT BRADLEY
Aug 29, 2013
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The UMES Volleyball Team will begin a new era in 2013 under first-year head coach Millicent Van Norden. Van Norden will look to continue a tradition of success at UMES, leading the two-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion in hopes of a three-peat.
They start the title defense this weekend in Peoria, Ill. playing in the CEFCU Classic, hosted by Bradley University. The Hawks will play three matches, one on Friday against the University of Tennessee-Martin at 4:00 p.m. and then a pair of matches on Saturday playing the host Braves at 1:30 p.m. and then Western Illinois at 6:00 p.m. All matches will have live stats and live video with the latter on a pay-to-view basis.
"We just hope to develop some chemistry on the court and get a feel for who does what well. We have practiced well in the pre-season but nothing prepares you for game action and with so many new players it's important we use this event as a learning experience," said Coach Van Norden.
In 2012 the Hawks had their most successful season in school history, going 28-6 with three in-season invitational championships and winning their second MEAC title in a row, earning a berth into the NCAA Tournament. This year's team will have to reload the talent, after the departure of all-conference players Ndidi Ibe and Jessie Vicic and all-tournament players Saitaua Iosia and Victoria Williams, with just one returner and a solid incoming class that brings in 11 newcomers.
Transferring from Winthrop University, sophomore Diara Lewis (Columbia, S.C.) will join the UMES ranks this season. Playing sparingly for the Eagles last year, Lewis is a former member of the USA Junior National Team on 2009 and 2010.
Another four-year transfer will be Ashley Smith who comes in after playing one season at DII Kentucky Wesleyan College. As a true freshman, Smith was second on the team in kills and attacks and third in hitting percentage. She earned All-Tournament honors in the season as well.
Odessa Junior College transfer Lauren Berry (Bloomington, Ill.) also comes to UMES for her first season. A two-sport athlete at Odessa in volleyball and basketball, Berry hit .262 for the Wranglers last season, earning 252 kills and 43 blocks.
After the Hawks lost a pair of California hitters, freshman Moriah Brookins (Cypress, Calif.) will look to fill the void. The team captain of Cypress High led the Centurions to a regular season title in the CSS Empire Division last year.
Coming in from Scottsdale Community College, junior Amanda Hanson (Phoenix, Ariz.) was the top offensive player for the Fighting Artichokes. Hanson earned a squad-best 237 kills and 21 service aces, hitting .279 with 45 total blocks and 166 digs.
Freshman Haley Robinson (Honolulu, Hawaii) joins the ranks from Hawaii after playing on one of the best high school squads in the country. Robinson earned all-league honors with the `Iolani School, ranked 88th in the country in 2012.
Brookins can also compete as a middle blocker as well as on the outside.
A pair of freshmen will look for time on defense. Precious Manu (Carson, Calif.) from, Carson High School along with Allison Woods (Magnolia, Texas), an all-district player that helped Magnolia High go undefeated in league play last year, will look for time on the defense.