JACKSON, Tenn. - 8/18/2010 - The Union (Tenn.) University volleyball team is receiving votes in the NAIA preseason rankings. Union also was picked to finish second in the 2010 TranSouth Conference standings by the coaches.
Union is coming off a 30-10 season and posted a runner-up finish in the 2009 TranSouth Tournament. Union won the conference tournament in 2008, advancing to their second NAIA National Tournament. Union was one win away from a third appearance in 2009 with their loss in the conference title game.
Kelly Elliott is in her first season as head coach of the Union volleyball team. Elliott spent seven seasons (1997-2003) as the assistant coach at King (Tenn.) College under head coach Susie Toomey. Toomey, the mother of Elliott, spent 25 years at King accumulating a 749-229 record, which is sixth in the NAIA in total wins and seventh in the NAIA in winning percentage for a coaching career.
The Union Lady Bulldogs return four award winning starters from last season's team that posted a 30-10 record and a runner-up finish in the conference tournament. Union lost one senior, setter Katie Adams to graduation, and the libero to transfer.
Union has three seniors this year including Marcela Madeira, Kelsey Duling and Heather Lieberman. All three players were selected to the all-conference team in 2009, while Madeira was also named an NAIA All-American. This group will look to be the leadership that helps Union return to the national tournament as they did in 2008. Three juniors highlight the roster including returning starter Anna Sims. Sims was named an all-conference player in 2009. Newcomer Emmie Moroski will take on the role of setter in 2010. Cassidy O'Hair, another newcomer, will help add depth on offense and defense.
The sophomore class is made up of three players, all returning from successful freshman seasons. Lauren Sprouse, Shelby Swink and Caroline Robbins will look to continue to tribute to the success of Union's program.
Jami Humphries is the lone freshman on the roster. She will get early opportunities to build her skills and contribute to the program's success over her career.
Union will face a tough schedule this season with six games against teams that were ranked or receiving votes in the final poll last season. Union has six matches against teams that advanced to the national tournament last season, including a matchup at semifinal contender Lee (Tenn.).
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