Holmes attacks against West Virginia State
Ky. - Even on a perfectly sunny day this season, opposing volleyball
teams can expect plenty of thunder and lightning when they arrive
at Northern Kentucky University.
The fall forecast
inside Regents Hall will not be found on any weather channel, but
the thunderous attacks of All-American Liz Holmes and the lightning-bolt
swings from the left arm of Kristina Eisenmenger will mean hazardous
travel for NKU’s opposition. And it doesn’t take doppler
radar to accurately predict those two elements will be hovering
above when the Norse take the court in 2006.
Holmes, a junior
middle hitter, led NKU in kills (471), hitting percentage (.351),
blocks (88) and service aces (65) last season. She also had 315
digs and emerged as one of the top players in the nation, earning
honorable mention All-America accolades from the AVCA.
Holmes has recorded 868 kills and 580 digs in two seasons with the
Norse. She was tabbed first team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference
as well as All-Great Lakes Region by the AVCA last year.
recorded 375 kills and a .325 hitting percentage to earn Great Lakes
Region Freshman of the Year honors last season. She also earned
first team All-GLVC honors.
Holmes and Eisenmenger
helped a youthful NKU squad record 26 wins last fall. The Norse
nearly advanced to the GLVC Tournament championship match, but a
five-game loss to SIUE in the semifinals ended NKU's season.
two players give us a great 1-2 punch offensively,” NKU head
coach Carlos Chia said. “Liz is already one of the best to
ever play volleyball at NKU, and she has a chance to lead us to
a great season. She attacks with such strength and accuracy. Liz
is a great defensive player as well, and her serving is outstanding.
are few players who have the all-around game like Liz, and I believe
she will be challenging for All-America status the next two years.
Kristina had a great freshman year, and she was the best right-side
attacker in the region.”
With five starters
returning from that 26-7 team, not to mention a strong recruiting
class, Chia expects much from his 2006 Norse. Chia beefed-up this
year’s non-conference schedule with matches against defending
NCAA Division II national champion Grand Valley State, perennial
powerhouse Tampa and 2003 national champion North Alabama - all
in the first two weeks of the season.
with an attack
his sixth season as head coach of the Norse, should have a good
idea of how NKU stacks up against the nation’s top teams early
in the year.
playing a very difficult schedule, and it should help us when tournament
time arrives,” Chia said. “Our conference is very tough,
but we are also playing national powers like Grand Valley State,
Tampa and North Alabama. We want to be able to compete against the
best teams, and this will give us an opportunity to see where we
need to improve to get to that level.”
Andrea Lanham, a four-year starter who ranks No. 2 in school history
with 3,477 career assists, returns to the lineup. Lanham earned
second team All-GLVC honors last season and led the GLVC in service
aces at 0.58 sapg.
A graduate of
Notre Dame Academy, Lanham served up a school-record nine consecutive
aces in the opening round of the GLVC Tournament against Lewis last
had a fine junior year, and I think she is going to be one of the
region’s top setters this season,” Chia said. “She
has a great deal of experience and does a fine job of running our
NKU is also
bolstered by the return of junior outside hitter Tristen Dye, who
collected 370 kills and was named second team All-GLVC last season.
could be a big key for us this season if she keeps improving,”
Chia said. “She is in great condition and did a fine job of
working during the spring and summer.”
Maria Tieman finished with 289 digs and 40 service aces. Natalie
Forbes returns after enjoying a solid freshman year as a defender
and setter, while senior outside hitter Jennifer Wirtz will contend
for significant playing time on the outside.
Brittany Dixon, a junior defensive specialist, will provide depth
is going to be a lot of competition for playing time at several
positions. We return some experienced players who need to step up
and play consistently each match,” Chia said.
is a key in the back row
did a very good job in the back row last year and serves the ball
well. Natalie gained a lot of experience as a freshman and is a
versatile player. Brittany
and Jennifer both helped us at times last year.”
Plenty of help
is on the way for NKU in the form of four recruits from Kentucky
state runner-up St. Henry High School. Chia brought in outside hitter
Andrea Price, middle hitter Nicole Baker, defensive specialist Megan
Dooley and defensive specialist Lindsay Zumdick for this season.
Price, an athletic
leaper with a powerful swing, will challenge for a starting position.
The daughter of former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Joe Price, the 5-foot-10
freshman is expected to make an immediate impact for NKU this season.
is a well-coached athlete who jumps extremely well and can terminate
from all positions,” Chia said. “Andrea has great shot
selection and amazing body control. She also brings outstanding
defense and passing ability, in the tradition of NKU style. Andrea
will bring an incredible work ethic and a winning tradition.”
Baker is a solid
blocker at 5-10 who could challenge for significant playing time
as a freshman. Dooley, a quick athlete with excellent serving skills,
will bring her ability to the back row. Zumdick will provide depth
and gives Chia another player with a fine serve.
and Dooley also played for the Junior Olympic team coached by Chia,
so the newcomers will be familiar with NKU’s style of play.
almost as if they have a whole season under their belts already,
like Liz Holmes did prior to coming to NKU,” said Chia, who
coached Holmes’ club volleyball team before she signed with
the Norse. “It is very exciting to know what to expect from
each and every one of them going into the preseason. There will
be no unknowns as far as their work ethics, demeanor or skill level.”
to challenge SIUE, Indianapolis, Rockhurst and Southern Indiana
for the GLVC title this season. The Norse won five consecutive GLVC
Tournament championships from 1997-2001 and captured NCAA Division
II Great Lakes Region titles in 1998 and ‘99.
The top eight
teams will again qualify for the GLVC Tournament this season, with
the No. 1 seed earning the right to host the event. SIUE is the
defending GLVC Tournament champion.
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