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2014 Volleyball Preview: Outside Hitters

Valerie El Houssine leads the group of outside hitters.
Valerie El Houssine leads the group of outside hitters.
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Aug. 12, 2014

TULSA, Okla. - The University of Tulsa volleyball team enters the 2014 season with four solid outside hitters - three returners with seven combined years of collegiate experience and an incoming freshman.

The returners consist of Valerie El Houssine, Erica Bohannon and Paige Panfil, while Audrey Grant enters her inaugural season at TU.



Head Coach Ryan Wills has keyed in on exactly what he expects on the floor from the outside hitters during preseason.

"Our main focus is to create consistency and work on our ball handling with our outside hitters," said Wills. "We are looking to see where people fit best into our system."

El Houssine and Bohnannon each bring experience to the Golden Hurricane in 2014. El Houssine, a senior out of Longchamps, Belgium, played in 28 matches, recorded 270 kills, 2.45 a set, recorded 400 digs, 3.64 a set and totaled 13 service aces last season. She came to TU prior to last season, after lettering twice at South Florida.

Bohannon was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2013. She recorded 288 kills, 2.45 a set, 15 service aces and played in all 31 Hurricane matches. She recorded double-digit kills in 14 of the 29 regular-season matches, including a career game against Oral Roberts in which she totaled 17 kills to lead all players.

"Both Val and Erica are highly competitive student-athletes that have played at a high level for a long period of time," said Wills. "Their toughness and competiveness are contagious to the rest of the team. More than anything I think they expect to win. They are tough kids and we are going to rely on them a lot."

Panfil, a two-year letterwinner for the Hurricane, has played in 37 career matches at TU. In her time as a Hurricane, Panfil has totaled 88 kills and 56 digs.

"Paige had a great spring for us, she's a great athlete," praised Wills. "Fans are really going to enjoy watching her play because she gets off the ground with pretty incredible speed. She can be a sparkplug for this team from a kills perspective."

Grant rounds out the group of outside hitters as an incoming freshman from Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School in Wichita, Kansas. She was a four-year letterwinner, totaling 433 career kills, 180 digs and 22 service aces. She was also named to the all-state team in both her junior and senior seasons. "She adds size to the team," said Wills.

"She has a great volleyball build. She has flexibility from hitting on either side of the net. Right now working with her, she is refining some of her skills and getting adjusted to the speed of the game at this level."

Tune in Thursday as we preview TU's setters.

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 (http://twitter.com/TulsaVolleyball) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TulsaVolleyball).