Skinner Helps U.S. Men Place 10th in ParaVolley Sitting World Champs
Joe Skinner looks ahead to his first fall with the 'Dogs after joining the team in February.
Joe Skinner looks ahead to his first fall with the 'Dogs after joining the team in February.

June 27, 2014

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FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State volleyball team welcomed back assistant coach Joe Skinner this week after the first-year Bulldog helped the U.S. Men's National Team place 10th in the recent ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championships.

Skinner served as an assistant coach for the squad that matched their-tourney seeding with a 10th-place finish in the event hosted in Elblag, Poland on June 15-21.

The U.S. team opened the tourney in pool play with a 3-0 loss to Egypt, 3-0 win over Iraq and 3-0 loss to Iran, 3-1. In the advancer's bracket, USA lost to Germany, 3-0, beat Croatia, 3-0, then lost to the Netherlands in the ninth-place match, 3-1.

On the women's side, the Americans took second and fell to reigning world champion China, but still picked up one of the two automatic qualifying bids for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janiero.

Results and more tournament information on the event is available at the and websites.

Sitting volleyball uses the same size volleyball as its national team counterparts, and is played from a sitting position on the floor. The sport is governed by the same set of rules as the able-bodied game, with a few minor rule modifications. Players are allowed to block serves, but one "cheek" must be in contact with the floor whenever they make contact with the ball.

Remaining rules are also very similar - sending the ball over the net through the crossing area and trying to ground it on the court of the opposing team. Each team is allowed to have up to three contacts with the ball before returning it to the opposing team's side of the court. Each team has a maximum of 12 players and six play at a time.

Teams play a best-of-five-set format with each set won by 25 points by a minimum of two points (and a fifth set is decided similarly at 15 points).

The net is about 3 feet high, and the court is 10 x 6 meters with a 2-meter attack line. The court is divided into two sides of 5m deep by 6m wide. The net height, lower than that of able-bodied or standing volleyball, is set at a height of 1.15m for men, and 1.05m for women.

Players must remain in contact with the court at all times when handling the ball. Standing, rising, or taking steps is not permitted. A short loss of contact with the court is permitted in two scenarios: when making a defensive play in the back zone to save a ball and when making a defensive play in the front zone.

The World ParaVolley (formerly the World Organisation Volleyball for Disabled) is the International Sport Federation.

Closer to home this summer, the `Dogs look ahead to head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell's seventh season at the helm, and begin practice on Saturday, August 9.

The Bulldogs will point towards a 34-match slate with 11 home dates at the Save Mart Center, including early season exhibitions against an Alumni Squad on Saturday, August 23, and Fresno Pacific on Tuesday, September 23.

The season officially starts with the Rice Invitational (August 29-30) in Houston, Texas. The `Dogs then have three more away early-season tournaments - the Sacramento State Invitational (September 5-6), St. John's Kissler Classic (Sept. 12-13) and CSU Bakersfield Tournament (Sept. 19-20).

Afterward, Fresno State has nine home weekend conference tilts against Nevada (Thu., 10/2), San Jose State (Thu., Oct. 4), San Diego State (Thu., Oct. 23), UNLV (Sat., Oct. 25), Colorado State (Thu., Nov. 6), Wyoming (Sat., Nov. 8), Boise State (Thu., Nov. 13), Utah State (Sat., Nov. 15) and New Mexico (Fri., Nov. 21).

Fans can find a complete schedule with *tentative* start times is available at the link at the top of the page.

Fresno State's list of returnees from 2013 include senior and sophomore libero/defensive specialists Christina Lee and Maggie Eppright, sophomore setter Brooke Legaux, junior and senior outside hitters Zana Bowens and Jaimee-Lee Morrow, senior right side hitter Katie Pearson, and senior and junior middle blockers Maci Murdock and Molly Pearson.

This year's Bulldog squad welcomes a talented newcomer class that features two transfers - junior setter Jelena Jovanovic (Florida Atlantic / Belgrade, Serbia) and redshirt freshman Haylee Roberts (Oregon / Bakersfield, Calif.).

The team's other four newcomers are freshmen - outside hitters Taylor Brubaker (San Clemente, Calif.) and Carly Scarbrough (Sarasota, Fla.) Calif.), middle blocker Lauren Torres (Visalia, Calif.) and defensive specialist Jacqueline Hutcheson (Exeter, Calif.)

Last fall, the `Dogs (17-15, 11-9) capped their 43rd season of play with their first pair of back-to-back winning seasons since 2003 and `04, and tied for fourth place in the MW Conference - two places better than their MW Preseason Coaches Poll position.

"Catch the Wave!" - Volleyball season tickets for the team's 10-match home schedule in 2014 are available at the website.



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