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Emory volleyball enters conference schedule with confidence
by Marcel Pourtout
October 16, 2013 10:39 AM | 6852 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye /
Catalina Jimenez works on her bump pass Wednesday morning during volleyball practice at Emory University.
Staff / Katherine Frye / Catalina Jimenez works on her bump pass Wednesday morning during volleyball practice at Emory University.
Coming into the 2013 campaign, Emory volleyball was hoping to improve on its previous two seasons which ended in disappointment, seeing the Eagles fail to even reach the NCAA tournament Final Four. However, with a 21-1 start to this season and undefeated through three University Athletic Association (UAA) conference matches, Emory looks poised to make a run for the program’s second-ever volleyball national championship.

“We didn’t know what to expect with eight new players joining our roster this year,” head coach Jenny McDowell said. “We set goals throughout the season and losing only one game so far has been good with the tough schedule we had.”

The Eagles have been paced by several strong players including junior outside hitter Leah Jacobs who leads the team with 213 kills and freshman middle blocker Jessica Holler, whose 87 blocks are the most on the squad. Holler entered Emory after a stellar prep career at Blessed Trinity in Roswell, where she won multiple state championships. Both players represent the blending of a roster that includes eight freshmen and numerous upperclassmen.

“The game is faster in college but the upperclassmen have done a good job of incorporating us into the team,” Holler said. “Its fun being a leader for the younger players,” Jacobs said. “We reached out the freshman early and it’s crucial to have good chemistry to have the best team possible.”

The Eagles’ conference schedule is unique in that all eight UAA members gather together at one site twice a season to face each other for logistical reasons since the teams are in states such as Illinois, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

“You’re playing a lot of volleyball in a short amount of time so you have to be fit, well-conditioned to be able to get wins,” McDowell said. “The conference schedule is more exciting because the teams get to see each other,” Jacobs said. “We interact with the other teams more and form relationships because we’re in close contact.

On the court, the Eagles are continuing to make improvements as well. “We’ve been blocking well the last two weeks and trying to play a fast-tempo offense,” McDowell said. “We have to improve our defense by being more relentless pursuing the ball and serve more aggressively as well.”

Emory’s next home contest will be against Trevecca Nazarene on Oct. 29.

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