Volleyball Opens Season This Weekend At Rocket Classic

Aug. 23, 2010

Game Information

Toledo - August 27, 2010 - 7 p.m.
Michigan - August 28, 2010 - 12 p.m.
Binghamton - August 28, 2010 - 5 p.m. 

Location Toledo, Ohio | Savage Arena
Online Media Live Stats

BALTIMORE - The Loyola University Maryland Volleyball team returns to the court for the 2010 campaign this weekend with a trip to the University of Toledo for a trio of matches at the Toledo Rocket Classic. The Greyhounds will face Toledo on Saturday, August 28, before playing Michigan and Binghamton on Sunday, August 29.

Loyola looks to build off of a 15-18 record last year, compiling a 10-8 tally in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play to finish fifth in the conference. The Greyhounds found their momentum near the end of the season to close out 2009 winning six out of the last nine matches.

"As a team, we want to be better than we were and perform at a high level consistently," said Head Coach Scott Pennewill. "We want to be able to come out of a tough five-set match on top, and we can do that if we're able to take our experience and learning and grow that into a couple more wins."

This year, the Greyhounds have definite postseason plans as all MAAC schools will compete in the MAAC Championships this year at Kissimmee, Fla. Loyola will look from contributions from every player on the floor to help the squad make a run at the tournament title.

"With all teams making it to the MAAC Championships, we want to mesh our experience with our incoming talent and see how far we can go in the tournament," Pennewill said. "We want to be playing our best volleyball in November."

Nine freshmen, five sophomores and two seniors make up a squad that features a young but talented squad around an experienced core, featuring 2009 All-MAAC First Team honoree Nina Camaioni (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) and fellow senior Brittany Born (Ellicott City, Md./Archbishop Spalding).

Camaioni enters her senior season just 321 kills short of the Loyola career record while holding the single-season kills record with 539. One of the team's three captains along with Brittany Born and sophomore Janet Pressler, Camaioni led the Greyhounds offense last year and will be counted on to be one of the team's stars in 2010.

"Nina is by far the most complete player on the floor," said Pennewill. "She has excellent ball control, she's very effective offensive weapon with great first contact skills and she's an effective blocker."

Brittany Born joins Camaioni for her senior season at libero. Born holds the Loyola career record for digs and will serve as co-captain for the second straight year. As one of two players with three years of experience, Born will be a vocal in communicating strategies and providing leadership.

"We're looking for Brittany to command the floor as a primary passer as that defensive floor master," Pennewill said. "Not only will she need to perform individually, but she will also need to take the game plan and really be the coach on the floor."

Five sophomores will take lessons learned from last year and apply them to the 2010 campaign.

Janet Pressler (Smithfield, R.I./La Salle Academy) represents the third of the three co-captains for the squad this year. Pressler recorded 120 kills and 170 digs and emerged as a vocal leader in her freshman season as an outside hitter. Though only a sophomore, she will be expected to fill a considerable leadership role as a high-caliber player.

"We're going to utilize Janet as a primary passer and ball control specialist," said Pennewill. "Her quick hands and ability to read opposing hitters makes her an excellent floor defender."

Katie Dircks (Stony Brook, N.Y./Ward Melville) will look to build on her freshman season, which saw her register 306 kills and 285 digs as an outside hitter to trail only Nina Camaioni in kills and prove one of the Greyhound's most productive players.

"We're hoping to take Katie's offensive performance and match ball control with it, both on offense and defense," said Pennewill.

Taylor Koncelik (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) spent most of her first season in the middle of the floor, but Pennewill said that may change this year, thanks to Koncelik's versatility.

"Taylor's being trained at all positions," said Pennewill. "She has a potent serve and we hope to combine that with an ability to shut down one-on-one and help her develop offensively from pin to pin."

Annie Manes (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y./Croton-Harmon) and Aubrey Kirven (Hartville, Ohio/Lake) round out the sophomores for Loyola. Manes had an educational freshman year at middle blocker, seeing more action as the year progressed and becoming capable of creating trouble for the opposition.

"She has the quickness to create opportunities," said Pennewill. "She can match that that with her very deceptive blocking abilities."

Aubrey Kirven returns as the team's setter after racking up 1,202 assists in her first year wearing a Greyhound uniform. With one season under her belt, Pennewill says the coaching staff hopes to give Kirven more responsibilities on the court.

"Aubrey's a fierce competitor and we're looking for her to help lead our team and continue to improve with decision-making and implementing tactical game plans," he said.

Nine new Greyhounds join the squad this season. With newcomers making up over half of the roster, several could make an impact in 2010.

Three freshmen skilled at middle hitter will have a chance to show off their skills. Jac Bullock (Aubrey, Tx./Aubrey), Katrina Pisch (Blue Bell, Pa./Merion Mercy) and Simone Reid (Marietta, Ga./Marietta) can make waves from the middle of the floor.

"Jac Bullock will make an immediate contribution from the middle hitter position," Pennewill said. "With Katrina and Simone, we're looking to develop them and have them be able to step on the floor, should the call come."

Nicole Sarby (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central), Faye Lukas (Stockertown, Pa./Nazareth), Samantha Reeves (Fairfax, Va./Chantilly) and Meghan Lowry (Norristown, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) will have a chance to compete for action at the outside hitter position.

"Those four are each very talented and hopefully can learn to keep up with the speed of the game to see some playing time," Pennewill said.

Vanessa Gailius (Waban, Mass./Newton South) also joins the squad as a defensive specialist and setter, while Casey O'Hanlon (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) arrives to provide depth at libero.

"We plan to work on developing Vanessa and Casey's collegiate game," Pennewill said. "They need to be prepared should they be called upon."

As the preseason winds down and the first match on August 27 grows closer, the Greyhounds' hope of a strong season has only gotten stronger.

"This team wants to leave a legacy to build on, and I feel this team has the ability to do that," said Pennewill. "In a short time, this has become a very close group with great chemistry."