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With eight returnees and nine newcomers, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team heads to Tennessee to participate in the Lady Govs Classic hosted by Austin Peay State in Clarksville, Tenn. to kick off the 2008 season.
Joining the Islanders and the Lady Govs, will be Tennessee-Martin and Southland Conference rival Northwestern State. A&M-Corpus Christi opens the match against UT Martin at 4 p.m. on Friday. They face APSU at 10 a.m. Saturday morning with their third match of the weekend being a non-conference bout with the Lady Demons at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Live stats of the games will be available on goislanders.com, while live video will be available at apsugovernors.com.
The Islanders will be looking to get off on the right foot after finishing 7-22 a season ago. They return seniors Lauren Paslay, Kasey McBrearty and Amber Benjamin as well as sophomore setter Molly McCabe.
"We definitely want to make sure that we get the season started in a positive manner," said Islander head coach Kimberly Martinez, who is entering her third season as the leader. "Being the first tournament of the season, how we perform could set the tone for the rest of the preseason. We are also excited to get the opportunity to play someone else other than ourselves."
Paslay, a middle blocker from Calallen, is in her fourth season with the Islanders. She is the top returnee in kills after having 283 a season ago and is seventh all-time with 656 kills. She also is in the top 10 in attacks, kills per game, block solos, block assists, total blocks and service aces.
McBrearty is beginning her third season with the Islanders. As a junior, she was third on the team in kills with 260 and is the top returnee in digs after posting 195 a season ago. She was second with 23 assists.
Benjamin is in her second season on the Island. She finished third on the team in her first season with 32 total blocks. Benjamin had 30 blocks in Southland Conference action which was a team best.
McCabe, who started at setter as a freshman, had a stellar debut campaign. She set school records for assists in a three-, four- and five-set match. She finish with 837 assists for an average of 10.87. Her assist per game total was third best-in the league and tops by a freshman. The mark was second in school history. She also led the team with 33 aces.
Also returning for the Islanders are Beth Fionda, Jessica Jennett, Meagan Luber and Kandyce Nielson. New to the team are freshmen C.J. Downey, Jessica Korda, Victoria Sookiasian, Holly Watson, Whitney Wehring and Tamara Wostal. Junior college transfers include Chelsea Myers and Lindsey Schindler. Islander women's basketball player Diandra Torres is the ninth newcomer.
"We are going to try some different lineups and rotations and try to figure out what works best," said Martinez. "We have a lot of new players we need to blend in with the returnees. I don't expect perfection, but I want to make sure we improve each time we step on the court."