CORPUS CHRISTI – Monday afternoon marked the opening day of practice for the 2012 Texas A&M – Corpus Christi volleyball team. Head Coach Tony Graystone enters his fourth season with the Islanders, and welcomes eight new players to go along with his 10 returning members from a year ago.
"Since the 2011 season ended, we've been looking forward to this moment," Graystone said. "This is a big year for our program – we have what I think will be a strong team in the Southland Conference and I believe we have the talent to compete for the title. Now we get to put the work in over the next three weeks and grow and improve as much as we can."
Micah Nolan and Logen Bourque will lead the way after setting career records in digs and assists, respectively, in 2011, and Brooke Alverson will also be back after an honorable mention All-Southland season a year ago. Shannon Hullum will be the lone senior on the newest edition of the Islanders team. In addition, Shelby Coppedge, Alexis Fritz, Ashley Phelps, Brianna Brink, Sarah Sanchez and Renee Ramirez will be back for another season.
Tyger Holt, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Victoria, British Columbia, will lead the 2012 newcomers. Shayla Maldonado, Ivy Baresh, Courtney Hall, Haley Satterwhite, Megan Olivarez, Morgan Brubaker and Hailey King will also be new faces for the upcoming year.
The group came together for the first time as a team on Monday, starting practice as they lead up to the season opener. The Islanders will commence the year on the road, taking part in the Baylor Classic on Aug. 24-25 in Waco. In the tournament, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi will face host team Baylor first, followed by matches against Tulane and Nevada to round out the weekend.