Loyola University Maryland will kick off the 2013 volleyball season on Friday and Saturday, August 30 and 31, at the Appalachian State Invitational. The event will be held in the Mountaineers’ Holmes Center in Boone, N.C.
The Greyhounds will play host Appalachian State on the opening night at 7 p.m. before facing Norfolk State and Sam Houston State at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Inaugural Patriot League Season
Loyola joined the Patriot League as a full member on July 1, 2013, an the 2013-2014 academic year will be the Greyhounds’ first in the conference.
In volleyball, Loyola will compete eight other Patriot League teams (fellow new member Boston University does not sponsor the sport).
The Greyhounds were picked to finish sixth in the 2013 Patriot League Preseason Poll. American University, which won 10 League titles from 2001-2011, was picked first, followed by the U.S. Military Academy and 2012 champion Colgate University in second and third. Lehigh University and the U.S. Naval Academy rounded out the top five, followed by Loyola, Bucknell University, College of the Holy Cross and Lafayette College.
The Greyhounds finished the 2012 season with a 13-15 overall record. Loyola’s mark represented a five-win improvement over the previous season.
Statistically, Loyola made several improvements over 2011: hitting percentage (2012: .199; 2011: .145), kills per set (12.61; 10.71), assists per set (11.85, 10.71), receiving errors (130; 186), digs per set (15.62; 13.11), blocks per set (1.58; 1.23) and total points scored (1685; 1522). The overall stats came in three fewer matches, as well
On The Attack
Loyola’s top three statistical hitters return from last season, including All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Second Team honoree Jac Bullock. The now-senior led the MAAC in hitting percentage (.337) a year ago while finishing with 315 total kills and 0.74 blocks per set.
Fellow senior Faye Lukas was third in the Greyhounds’ former conference in kills (390) and kills per set (3.61) after recording 10 or more kills in 20-of-28 matches and 18 of the last 23.
Junior Mindy Maloney was just behind Bullock in total blocks, 79 to 80, and she logged 1.81 kills per set as a sophomore.
Get The Ball To The Hitters
Defensively, two of the Greyhounds’ top passers from a season ago are back on the floor for Head Coach Jake Lawrence. Now a junior, Kara Schiffer led the team in digs (396) and digs per set (4.00) in 2012, while Lauren Andersen was fourth on the team with 228 and 2.33.
Andersen was third in the league in assists per game (10.07, 987 total).