The University of Tennessee volleyball team officially opened the 2007 campaign for Lady Vol athletics, conducting the first team practice of the season. A pair of freshmen joined 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad as the team hit the court together for the first time. UT will be looking to match the school record with its fourth-straight NCAA appearance.
“It was good to be back in the gym,” UT head coach Rob Patrick said. “Our coaching staff and the players are very excited to get things going. We were very glad to get some of the rust off and it’s always fun to work with players that are so motivated.”
A rising junior, Mindy Flynn will be looked at to lead the way for the Orange and White as two-time AVCA Honorable Mention All-American Yuliya Stoyanova makes her way back from a knee injury. One of the Lady Vols’ top performers last season, Flynn posted 135 blocks and 248 kills, good for second and fourth on the team, respectively. Her breakout performance came at the Comcast Lady Vol Classic Aug. 25-26, where she claimed tournament MVP honors after recording 25 kills with just one attack error in 53 attempts over the course of the three-match competition.
One of the most reliable freshmen for the Big Orange last season, Leah Hinkey will also be counted on heavily for significant contributions. The Glenwood Springs, Colo., product started in 29 of the team’s 31 matches, recorded the fifth most kills on the squad (221), as well as the third highest block total (133). Her 1.19 blocks per game average ranked her seventh in the Southeastern Conference. For her efforts, Hinkey was named to the league’s all-freshman team.
Also returning will be senior Joselyn Johnson, juniors Milan Clarke and Laurén LaFlamme, sophomores Jena Berg, Carol Cheade, Chloe Goldman, Jaye Loyd, Kylie Marshall and Farren Powe. Donning the Orange and White for the first time will be highly-regarded freshmen Krista Brenner and Nikki Fowler.
The Lady Vols will open their 2007 schedule with defending national champion Nebraska at the AVCA Showcase in Omaha, Neb., Aug. 24.
Story Courtesy: Lady Vols Sports Information