ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech volleyball team begins their quest to return to the NCAA Tournament this week as the team reports to practice Tuesday.
The Jackets return only five players from a team that finished the 1999 season with a 17-14 record, 6-10 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. However, three of those five players are veteran starters in juniors Kyleen Bell (Rocklin, Calif.) and Maja Pachale (Schwerin, Germany) and fifth-year senior Teryl Townsend (Alexandria, Minn.).
Tech adds nine new faces to the squad, including junior all-America setter Kele Eveland (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Romanian national team member Dorie Pap (Budapest, Hungary), junior olympic beach player Gesske Banck (Hamburg, Germany), Enkeleida Mabry (Divjake, Albania), an all-Atlantic 10 transfer from Temple, and Junior Olympic all-America Amanda Hess (Indianapolis, Ind.), all of whom could play vital roles on this year’s squad.
“I am real excited about this season,” said head coach Shelton Collier, beginning his 10th season on The Flats. “With a core of returning players and some very talented new players, I am expecting some great things from this year”s team.Our international players are very experienced, and both Eveland and Hess competed for very talented club programs and are both exceptional players.”
Tech will start the first of nine two-a-day practices Wednesday in O”Keefe Gymnasium at 9 a.m. and Collier is anxious to see how things look.
“Our players are all in great shape, and they are all looking forward to pre-season practice,” said Collier. “Our five returning players worked very hard during our spring drills and in the weight room, and they are very anxious to add some players to the mix and begin the season.”
The Jackets, chosen to finish second in the annual ACC coaches preseason poll, will be led by outside hitter Pachale, a first-team all-ACC selection last season who led Tech in virtually every statistical category, and perhaps the top middle blocker tandem in the conference in Bell and Townsend.
“I am anxious to return to the gym and see how our veteran players and new players gel as a unit. If this team works hard during these pre-season practices, we could see some great things develop with this team,” said Collier.
Tech opens the 2000 season Sept. 2 in the Davidson Invitational in Davidson, N.C.