SEC Coaches Beach Volleyball Championships
April 15, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee volleyball team will head to the Sunshine State this Saturday to take part in the Fiesta on Siesta Key, one of the largest collegiate beach volleyball events in the country. The Lady Vols will compete in the second annual SEC Coaches Beach Volleyball Championships which will run concurrent to the Collegiate Beach Volleyball Challenge, on Saturday, April 18, in Siesta Key, Fla.
"This is a very exciting tournament for everyone involved," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "Beach volleyball is not only an exciting sport, but is a game that allows our players to develop their all-around skills to enhance our indoor abilities, all while having fun.
"To have so many teams coming down to participate this weekend just shows how popular beach volleyball is around the country," Patrick said. "I could not be more excited that the SEC is leading the charge to bring collegiate beach volleyball to the forefront, which I think is very important to the overall success of the game of volleyball, in general."
The Big Orange put forth a strong showing at the inaugural competition in 2007, highlighted by the duo of Milan Clarke and Laurén LaFlamme outdueling the pairing of Chloe Goldman and Leah Hinkey to earn the title in the Harvey Schiller bracket.
UT will send seven players to the event this year where they will compete against teams from each of the other 10 volleyball-sponsoring schools in the SEC. Leading the way for Tennessee will be second-time competitors Nikki Fowler, Kylie Marshall and Carol Cheade, while freshmen Kelsey Mahoney, Kayla Jeter, DeeDee Harrison and Amanda Friday will join them on the beach for the first time.
Playing together for the second straight season will be Fowler and Marshall. Fowler is coming off a stellar 2008 campaign in which she earned honorable mention AVCA All-America honors, in addition to being named the only unanimous selection to the All-SEC First Team and a member of the CVU.com Stellar Spikers honorable mention list. The Dallas, Texas, native finished her sophomore campaign ranked second in the conference with 3.80 kills per set. For the year, she led UT in kills (427), kills/set (3.62), attacks (1139), points (493.0) and points/set (4.18).
Marshall, meanwhile, put together a solid season of her own as well, ending her junior season with 209 kills, good for fifth on the team. The 5-11 outside hitter from Puyallup, Wash., also ranked second with 336 digs, third with 22 aces and sixth with 54 total blocks. Fellow classmate Cheade played in 18 matches for UT, recording seven kills on 18 swings and seven blocks.
UT's second pairing will consist of Mahoney and Jeter, while Friday, Harrison and Cheade will comprise the team's third entry into the tournament. The team's starting setter for most of the fall season, Mahoney topped the team in assists with 691, while finishing fourth on the squad with 192 digs. Jeter, a powerful outside hitter from Solon, Ohio, saw action in 19 matches, accumulating 27 kills on 108 attacks and tallying totals of 31 digs, 14 blocks and three aces. A 5-7 defensive specialist, Friday recorded seven digs and two aces in 16 matches, while Harrison, a 6-3 middle blocker from Nashville, Tenn., redshirted this past fall.