August 12, 2010

ISLANDER LIBEROS USING PRESEASON TO SETTLE INTO ROLES

The libero position for the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi volleyball team will be occupied by a pair of newcomers and one familiar face in a new spot this season as the players work into their individual roles.

Senior Jessica Jennett will be starting her fourth year in the Islander program and is one of just two players on the roster to be in the system for more than two seasons. In those four years, she has been through several position changes and a coaching change before getting settled into the defensive specialist/libero position that she will occupy this season. Head coach Tony Graystone thinks the definitive role will help her thrive in her final year.

"Jennett's role has probably changed several times over her four years here and with the coaching change," said Graystone. "I know how hard it is when a player gets bounced around from one position to another.

"We have had her in the system for two years now and I think she feels pretty good about where she is right now. I'm sure she is looking forward to her senior season and with the position being a real strength on the team, we should match up well against most teams we play."

While Jennett is the mainstay of the team, the other players occupying the slot are true freshmen who have yet to play a collegiate match. Despite that fact, the team is fully confident in the abilities of Micah Nolan and Paige Hoffler to help run the Islander defense.

Nolan comes to the Island after a very successful high school career that resulted in a pair of Texas 5A State Championships at Amarillo High School. Standing just 5-6, her athleticism allowed her to lead the team with 401 kills in her senior season. That athleticism will be critical in her success at the libero position.

"Micah is great player and a terrific athlete," said Graystone. "She was an accomplished hitter in high school, but, due to her size, is more equipped to be libero at our level."

Hoffler is a freshman from Phoenix, Ariz., who will also compete for playing time as a true freshman. Her instincts on the court will help the Islanders extend points and give them an advantage.

"Paige kind of fits the mold of what we look for in a libero," said Graystone. "She is really athletic and reads plays well so she should do really well in our defense."

The trio will help make up one of the most athletic positions on the court and will be a key component in the Islanders continued improvement this season.