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Volleyball Begins Preparations For 2012 Campaign With First Practice

Tulsa looks for its third straight NCAA tournament berth this fall.
Tulsa looks for its third straight NCAA tournament berth this fall.
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Aug. 8, 2012

TULSA, Okla. - The University of Tulsa volleyball team, looking for its third straight Conference USA championship, opened up its fall camp with its first practice Wednesday in the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

The Golden Hurricane, under the direction of second-year head coach Steven McRoberts, look to build on their 28-7 record from a year ago and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. TU returns five starters and the libero, and nine letterwinners overall.



"I've saw a lot of energy and excitement about getting the season started," commented McRoberts. "We have a lot of experience coming back. We have five seniors that have 85 wins under their belt, a couple of conference championships, a couple wins at the NCAA Tournament the past few years with wins over LSU and Oklahoma. It is great leadership at the top and we have six freshmen that have come in and are pushing for playing time."

Leading the way for the Hurricane is senior Tyler Henderson, who has earned second-team All-America accolades the past two seasons and was named the C-USA Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011. Henderson ranked fifth in the NCAA in kills per set (4.86) and 13th in the NCAA in points per set (5.11). Fellow seniors Jessica Adams, the 2011 C-USA Libero of the Year and Diana Silva, a first-team All-C-USA member look for success in their final campaign together. Adams averaged 4.85 digs per set last year, while Silva tallied 13 double-doubles in 35 matches. Rounding out the senior class is setter Jordan Clampitt, the 2010 C-USA Setter of the Year who paced TU with 8.17 assists per set last season.

Junior Kellie Culbertson, a 2011 second-team All-C-USA performer, averaged 2.64 kills per set to finish third on the team. Fellow junior Miriele Gobbo was third on the team a year ago in attack percentage with a .295 clip. Sophomore Carly Boatwright, the 2011 team leader in blocks per set with .67 per set, returns along with Bailey Clampitt, who was second on the team averaging 5.35 assists per set.

Tulsa welcomes six newcomers to the roster, including middle blocker Ashley Hooper, outside hitter Maura McGivern, middle blocker Nicole Newton and outside hitter Paige Panfil. In addition, middle blocker Alexis Mitchell and defensive specialist Kelsey Parks will join the squad as walk-ons.

"I feel that our overall athleticism has gone up a notch," McRoberts stated. "I think people are going to see that we are going to be playing a little more above the net."

The Hurricane kick off its 2012 campaign at the Nike Invitational in Norman, Okla. on August 24-25. TU will open up competition playing Western Michigan on August 24 at 5 p.m., before playing Missouri State and Oklahoma on August 25 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

After an away date with Arkansas on August 28, Tulsa hits the road for Lawrence, Kan. for the Kansas Volleyball Invitational on August 31 and September 1. In addition to playing the host Jayhawks, the Hurricane will play Arkansas State and Nebraska-Omaha before returning to Tulsa to face Oral Roberts on September 4 at the Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center on the campus of ORU.

The final road tournament for Tulsa is the Northern Colorado Classic on September 7-8 in Greely, Colo. The Hurricane opens the tournament facing Northern Colorado before facing Creighton and Ball State.

The Golden Hurricane Classic marks the first home matches for Tulsa on September 13-15. Three NCAA Tournament squads from a year ago in Kansas State, Dayton and Minnesota, will descend on Tulsa for the three-day affair. All home regular season TU matches, including the Golden Hurricane Classic, are free to the public.

For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane. Follow Tulsa Volleyball on Twitter (www.twitter.com/TulsaVolleyball) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/TulsaVolleyball).