Volleyball Optimistic As Preseason Camp Opens
Aug. 9, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Third-year head coach Chris Rushing welcomed his 2007 East Carolina volleyball team to Greenville on Wednesday as the Pirates opened their preseason camp with morning and evening practices inside Minges Coliseum. Five starters and eight letterwinners return from a squad that posted a 19-12 overall record and a program-best 10-6 mark in Conference USA play.
Headlining the team are seniors and 2006 Conference USA first-team honorees Mignon Dubenion and Kelley Wernert. Wernert was also recently named to the preseason C-USA volleyball team, the first ECU player to garner such honors in program history. She needs just seven more kills to reach 1,000 for her career.
Rushing will also have at his disposal six experienced returners as well as a talented corps of six freshmen. "We are going to have a very good team this year," Rushing said. "Everything is only going to build from here. Each of the freshmen are going to add something different, which will allow us to fill in the gaps of what we may not already have from our returning players."
Despite having a large portion of his team back in Minges, Rushing knows that he will have to find a replacement for setter Heidi Krug. Krug left the Pirates as the all-time leader in assists with 4,438 which also puts her eighth in C-USA history. "Heidi did a fabulous job as our starting setter," Rushing continued. "She holds just about every record in the books. What is encouraging is that we believe both of our setters can eventually end up making a similar impact."
After the morning practice, Rushing felt that his squad was off to a good start. "Our passing was crisp but there is always room for improvement," Rushing finished. "We can't afford to take plays off. Our work ethic is going to need to be at its highest level, whether that means going after every ball or serving as tough as possible. If our serving can get our opponents out of system, we've won half the battle."
ECU will open the season Aug. 24 when it takes on ACC opponent Duke in the first match of the Duke Invitational at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham. The Pirates will also battle Purdue and Winthrop to close out the tournament.