University of Delaware Volleyball Opens 2012 Campaign This Weekend With Two Matches at SDSU Aztec Invitational
August 22, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The two-time defending Colonial Athletic Association champion University of Delaware volleyball team opens another highly anticipated season as the Blue Hens begin their 2012 campaign this weekend by competing in the Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State.
Delaware kicks off its season on Friday when the Blue Hens take on San Diego State at Aztec Court at 10 p.m. Eastern. The Blue Hens will then play California, which was ranked No. 17 in the AVCA Preseason Poll earlier this month, on Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern. The contests will be Delaware’s first ever meeting with both the Aztecs and Bears.
The Blue Hens, led by 11th-year head coach Bonnie Kenny, return four starters from last season’s squad that finished 21-13 and won the conference tournament title with a pair of dramatic 3-2 victories over James Madison in the semifinals and VCU in the championship. Delaware then defeated American, 3-1, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to ninth-ranked Penn State in the second round.
UD will be paced by senior outside hitter Alissa Alker, a first team All-CAA selection a year ago who was named honorable mention AVCA All-East Region. Alker led the Blue Hens with 466.5 total points during her junior campaign, when she ranked second on the squad with 382 kills and third with 384 digs. She reached double figures in kills 20 times on the year, including a season-high 24 during a win at James Madison.
Senior middle hitter Chelsea Lawrence also returns for the Blue Hens after earning second team all-conference laurels in 2011. Lawrence, who led UD with a .264 hitting percentage a year ago, posted 120 blocks to rank second on the squad and 271 kills to place fourth. Junior outside hitter Katie Hank, whose 397 kills and 3.18 kills per game were team-highs last season, and junior middle hitter Karina Evans, who made a team-best 127 blocks to go with 168 kills, also return after starting all 34 matches a season ago.
Following this weekend’s action, the Blue Hens will travel to Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 for three matches at the University of Virginia Tournament. Delaware will face Lehigh on the opening day of the invitational, before taking on Western Kentucky and the host Cavaliers the following day.
Delaware, which will play all of its home matches in the Bob Carpenter Center for the first time in 2012, opens its home schedule with the University of Delaware Invitational on Sept. 7-8. The Blue Hens will take on Columbia at 12 noon and Texas A&M at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7, before facing Xavier at 7 p.m. the following night.
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