Volleyball Opens 2014 Preseason Camp
BATON ROUGE, La. – Over seven months since last season came to a close in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the LSU volleyball team returned to the court on Saturday as a team for the first two practices of the 2014 campaign in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, as the Tigers opened preseason camp.
Forging into a new season with nearly the entire team returning, the entire LSU squad reported to campus on Friday, where the team received new equipment, while also meeting with compliance, academics and athletic training before the night ended with a group dinner at head coach Fran Flory’s house.
“After talking much of the offseason about what we wanted to accomplish this year, I think the team came out focused for these first two practices and really wanted to set the tone early,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We have an opportunity to build on what we did last year, and the positive way the team approached their conditioning and training in the offseason will only help us get better going forward.”
With such a large group returning to the team this season, the Tigers will look to recapture the mojo that had the team return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2010 season, and winning postseason match for the first time since 2009. LSU returns six starters and 11 total letterwinners from that team that won 19 games, in a program that has averaged 20 wins per season since 2005.
The mix of veteran leadership will come from all over, beginning with returning All-American candidate Briana Holman, who was an honorable mention selection by the AVCA last year and was also an All-SEC pick. The team as a whole is littered with talent, with top kill producer Cati Leak, setter Malorie Pardo, all-around player Katie Lindelow, defensive specialist Haley Smith and senior outside hitter Helen Boyle all donning the Purple and Gold once again.
“I think this year we are doing a lot to stay together and push each other as a team,” Holman said. “We know what our goals are, and the only way we can do that is staying together as a group.”
The rotation will be fortified by multiple returning letterwinners Khourtni Fears, Madi Mahaffey, Emily Ehrle, Laura Whalen and Katarina Raicevic, who all saw playing time throughout the season, ready to be called on when the season starts.
Bolstering the group is the influx of seven newcomers to the team, which has already earned praise as one of the top overall recruiting classes in the country, earning a placing as high as 13th in the nation by some outlets. With stellar prep resumes in their own right, the Tigers will welcome Kelly Quinn, Elly Ogle, Mimi Eugene, Gina Tillis, Kelly Esch, Cheyenne Wood and Toni Rodriguez this fall to the lineup.
LSU will get challenged before it reaches conference play with three weekends of top-notch competition in the form of tournaments at Purdue, Florida State and UTSA in the non-conference portion of the schedule, before jumping into SEC play with the league opener against Kentucky at the PMAC. The season begins August 29 against San Diego at 11 a.m.
The 18 game league schedule will feature nine games in Baton Rouge beginning with the Wildcats, which will also begin a string of available games for fans to watch through a host of options. With the launch of the SEC Network, fans will be able to see 14 of the team’s SEC games either on ESPNU, the SEC Network or SEC Network Plus, the new network’s digital platform.
LSU has earned 190 victories sparked by five 20-win seasons to go along with seven SEC Western Division titles since 2005. The Tigers also are one of 29 programs to appear in at least seven NCAA Tournaments during the past nine seasons.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter and @lsuvb on Instagram.
2014 LSU Volleyball Preseason Practice Schedule – Times Subject to Change
Sunday, August 10
4-5 p.m. (Fan Day – Maddox Field House)
5:30 – 8 p.m.
Monday, August 11
Tuesday, August 12
Wednesday, August 13
Thursday, August 14
Friday, August 15
Saturday, August 16
Sunday, August 17
Monday, August 18
Tuesday, August 19
11:30 a.m. (Media Day)
Wednesday, August 20
Thursday August 21
Friday, August 22
Saturday, August 23
Sunday August 24
Monday, August 25
Tuesday, August 26
Wednesday, August 27
Friday, August 29
Mortar Board Premier [West Lafayette, Ind.]
vs. San Diego – 4 p.m.
vs. South Florida – 5 p.m.
Saturday, August 30
Mortar Board Premier [West Lafayette, Ind.]
vs. Purdue – 6 p.m.