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Volleyball Practice: Breaking down the Middle Blockers

Hannah Stout
Hannah Stout
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Donald W. Reynolds Center

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Aug. 26, 2010

TULSA, Okla. - The Tulsa volleyball team enters the 2010 season with four middle blockers, looking to improve its blocking at the net and to hit for high percentages.

The group charged with the challenge of TU's front-line defense includes seniors Hannah Stout and Shaylin Werner, sophomore Miriele Gobbo and freshman Elizabeth Kale.

Stout is a two-time All-Conference USA selection and a preseason All-C-USA selection this season. In 2009, she ranked 12th in the nation with a .388 attack percentage, and carries a .320 career attack percentage. She totaled a career-high 302 kills and 2.52 kills per set last season, and totaled 95 blocks (0.79 per set). She also amassed 354.0 points, averaging 2.95 points per set. Stout enters the season second in block assists (292) and fourth in total blocks (334), while her career hitting percentage is currently tops in school history by 23 points.

"We expect her to be one of the strongest middles in the league," head coach Ed Allen said. "We expect her to hit for a very high percentage again. We expect her to make good decisions defensively for us. We expect Hannah to be an extremely strong M1 in our league again. We expect her to compete for a high hitting percentage nationally as well. We expect those number to be very similar again this season."

Werner played in five matches last season, seeing time in seven sets. She totaled four kills and five blocks in that short time on the court. For her career, Werner hits .311, has 48 kills, 28 total blocks, and has contributed 62.5 points. She enters the 2010 season looking to challenge for playing time once again.

"Shay, we expect to again challenge for some playing time," said Allen. "I think she will probably be a solid backup right now to start the season, to both Hannah and El."



Gobbo, a transfer from the University of Texas at Brownsville and a Brazil native, played one season at the UTB, and helped her team to the Red River Athletic Conference Championship and to the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Volleyball Championship. In 27 sets, she hit .417, totaled 39 kills, 11 service aces, 14 digs and eight blocks.

"Miri, we expect to continue to get better, and hopefully at the end of the year," Allen said, "challenge for a position either on the right side or in the middle. She's shown tremendous progression in the first few weeks."

Kale comes to TU from Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas, where she was a two-time member of the All-District 9-4A team. She led her team into the regional round of the state tournament as a senior, and was named the 2008 District 9-4A Outstanding Blocker and Offensive Player of the Year.

"We have been really pleased with El's performance to start the season," said Allen. "She is starting to catch up to the game a little bit, but she still has to improve dramatically in terms of her transition timing. We expect her to be a solid M2 for us. She has great all-around volleyball skills. She uses her forearms pretty well, and has a great serve."

The Golden Hurricane begins the 2010 season at the IPFW Invitational, Aug. 27-28. TU plays at the 2010 Asics Challenge in San Francisco on Sept. 3-4, and plays host to the Radisson Tulsa Airport Invitational Sept. 10-11 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com. Follow Tulsa Athletics on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TulsaHurricane. Become a fan of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane page on Facebook - www.facebook.com/TulsaHurricane.