FRESNO, Calif. - With the Fresno State volleyball team's season opener less than five days away at the Adidas Rice Invitational, fans can preview a different portion of this year's squad each day this week.
The team's two-person setter unit may be its smallest as far as roster size, but arguably its most important, since timing and rhythm will be critical as the offense replaces three hitters that received conference year-end honors in 2013.
Seventh-year head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell boosted the offense's "quarterback" depth with the addition of junior transfer Jelena Jovanovic - a two-year starter for Florida Atlantic who played all 56 of the team's matches in 2012 and `13.
As a freshman, the former Owl team captain ranked sixth in the conference in assists (9.11 per set), then bettered that average as a sophomore (9.32 p/s). At the service line, she was equally productive and led the team and stood sixth in the conference as a freshman (0.29 aces per set) and second on the squad as a sophomore (0.22 p/s).
Before her collegiate career, the Belgrade, Serbia native enjoyed a lengthy club career, and helped her team claim two national championship silver medals and one regional gold medal.
Then-freshman Brooke Legaux's mid-season emergence in 2013 helped the team quickly switch to a 6-2 offense in early October. The Mission Viejo, Calif., product's play helped jumpstart a 10-2 run in league action that led to a fourth-place conference finish - two places better than the team's preseason pick.
Her season high in assists (21) came in a three-setter vs. conference champion Colorado State, and was one of 10 double-digit assist efforts among the 18 matches she played.
Team-wise last year, Legaux teamed with libero Christina Lee - an early-season emergency replacement - to position the `Dogs second in the conference in hitting percentage (.245) and third in kills (14.03 per set) and assists (13.11 p/s).
Netherby-Sewell hopes that those numbers should only improve with Jovanvic's addition and Legaux's added experience.
Looking ahead, the `Dogs kick off the 2014 campaign in Houston this Friday, August 29 and take on Louisiana-Lafayette at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. They return on the final day of the Adidas Rice Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 30 to face UC Davis and Rice at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. PT, respectively.
"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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