`Dogs Kick Off Fall with Alumnae Match This Saturday
Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell and the 'Dogs look forward to connecting with former players at the free exhibition match this Saturday at 1 p.m. (Sat., Aug. 23).
Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell and the 'Dogs look forward to connecting with former players at the free exhibition match this Saturday at 1 p.m. (Sat., Aug. 23).
Aug. 21, 2014

By Geoff Thurner

FRESNO, Calif. - Looking ahead to its first home action of the fall, the Fresno State volleyball team will unveil one of its largest newcomer classes in recent memory in its Alumnae Match this Saturday, August 23.

The exhibition match starts at 1 p.m. at the Save Mart Center, and offers free admission and parking to fans. Concessions stands will also be open and will sell nachos, hot dogs, pretzels and soda.

Among the 14-person Fresno State squad, six newcomers will get their first action against an assortment of Bulldog alumnae from the past five decades.

"We always look forward to this weekend," seventh-year head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. "Obviously, it's a great chance to reconnect with Bulldog alumnae and enjoy a competitive reunion. But for the team it's a really helpful to work out some kinks in a match setting. I think it'll be a competitive intersquad scrimmage where we get to try out line-ups, practice our match-day routines, get our bearings in our home facility, and give our newcomers some experience."

The lengthy and tentative list of Bulldog graduates includes three senior starters from last year, two-time captain and middle blocker Lauren Albertson, MW Newcomer of the Year Holly Franks and All-MW outside hitter Korrin Wild. Brianna Clarke ((Hoag) (blocks, second, 436, 2008-11), libero Kelly Mason (Cantu) (digs, fourth, 1,327, 2007-10) and middle blocker Kelly Leonardo (blocks, sixth, 343, 2006-09).



Similarly, two other recent `Dogs were recent team category leaders - libero Meghan Moss (digs, 251, 2.59 p/s, 2008) and setter Kasey Van Grouw (aces, 25, 0.27 p/s, 2008).

The unfinalized alumnae roster also includes Tiffany Bishop, Megan Callahan, Robyn Keune, Lesli Lopes (Malady), Michelle Beveridge (Stetkevich), Lexi Watson and Denise Fowler (Williams).

Bulldog volleyball alumnae still interested in attending or playing should contact assistant coach Mallori Gibson (magibson@csufresno.edu).

"When last year's seniors concluded their final match, I think they started training for Saturday," Netherby-Sewell said. "Unfortunately, we may be limited in our lineups as we heal some injuries before we hit the road for a month. It'll be fun and should be a tough match with two alumnae competing who will soon depart for European professional playing careers (Wild-France; Franks-Sweden)."

For the `Dogs this fall, three regular starters return from 2013 - senior middle blocker Maci Murdock, and the libero duo of senior Christina Lee and sophomore Maggie Eppright - while the trio of junior outside hitter Zana Bowens, senior and junior middle blockers Katie and Molly Pearson also started at various points of the season.

Senior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow and sophomore setter Brooke Legaux round out the list of returnees that is balanced by two transfers and four freshmen.

Junior transfer and setter Jelena Jovanovic (Belgrade, Serbia) was a two-year starter at Florida Atlantic, and redshirt freshman transfer and outside hitter Haylee Roberts (Bakersfield, Calif.) was a former prep All-American before signing a National Letter of Intent with Oregon.

The squad's four true freshman newcomers include defensive specialist Jacqueline Hutcheson (Exeter, Calif.), middle blocker Lauren Torres (Visalia, Calif.) and outside hitters Taylor Brubaker (San Clemente, Calif.) and Carly Scarbrough (Sarasota, Fla.).

Looking ahead to next week, the Bulldogs officially kick off their 34-match slate at the Adidas Rice Invitational (August 29-30) in Houston.

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 Roadrunner Classic (Sept. 19-20).

Fresno State then returns home to welcome Fresno Pacific on September 23 - the first of 10 regular season matches at the Save Mart Center - followed by nine Mountain West Conference home matches in October and November.

The `Dogs return after a 17-15 mark in 2013 (and fourth-place tie in the MW (11-9)) for its first back-to-back winning overall marks seasons since 2003 and `04 and third straight top-four conference finish for the first time since 2001-04.

"Be Bold!" - Fresno State volleyball and football season tickets are on sale at the www.GoBulldogs.com website and at the Bulldog Ticket Office.

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