August 11, 2010

OUTSIDE HITTERS BRING EXPERIENCE TO YOUNG ISLANDERS TEAM

The veterans on the 2010 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team are the outside hitters who make up over half of the returning players from last year. Senior Emma Ridley, junior Jessica Korda and sophomore Sheridan Paulus are 3-of-5 returnees on the revamped 15-player roster.

Ridley leads the team as one of just two seniors as well as the top outside hitter in the conference last season. She led the league with 464 kills and garnering First-Team All-Southland and conference Newcomer of the Year awards.

"Emma spent the off-season improving on every part of her game," said head coach Tony Graystone. "She is now a more complete player and will play an even bigger role on our team this year."

Korda is the second-longest tenured player on the roster after completing her first two seasons as an Islander. She made a dramatic improvement in her second year, recording 309 kills as a sophomore after a 202 kill freshman season.

"As a junior this fall, we are looking for Jessica to take her game to another level," said Graystone. "When she is on, our team usually plays well, so it's important for us to get consistent play from Korda this year."

Paulus is the youngest of the players back after playing as a true freshman last season. Graystone was unsure where to play her early on before settling on outside hitter late in the season. She finished with 26 kills on the year and looks to improve her total while being able to focus on just one position.

"Sheridan bounced back-and-forth between the outside and right side last season, but is now training full time as an outside hitter," said Graystone. "She made some very solid gains and looks ready to compete for a bigger role this fall."

The lone newcomer to the bunch is Isabella Arcidiacono, a 6-0 true freshman who will be able to benefit from playing behind the veterans on the Islander roster.

"Bella is a gifted outside hitter who will have a great career for the Islanders," said Graystone. "She has a very high ceiling and it won't take her long to make an impact for us."

With improvements from the returning outside hitters in addition to adding talent to the position, the team should be in good position to compete in the Southland Conference during the upcoming season.