INVITATIONAL FACTS -- The Emory volleyball team will open the program's 28th season of intercollegiate competition this Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 30 - 31) when it travels to Rome, Georgia, to compete in the Berry College Invitational. On Saturday, the Eagles open the Invitational with a noon match against Randolph-Macon before closing out the day with a 6:00 p.m. tilt vs. Lynchburg. On Sunday, Emory faces a 2:00 p.m. test against DePauw University and then winds up the weekend with a 4:00 p.m. meeting against Berry.
The Eagles open 2014 ranked as the No. 2 D-III program in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Preseason Poll.
THE COACHES – Emory head coach Jenny McDowell (Georgia, '89) begins her 19th year at the helm of the Eagles' program with a school and career mark of 579-139. She has 15 campaigns of 30 or more wins, and has directed the program to 18 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. She has steered the Eagles to four berths to the national semifinals and has a national championship to her credit in 2008.
2014 represents the 13th year that Bill Rogers (Virginia Commonwealth, '90) has been calling the shots for the Randolph-Macon program. During his stint with the Yellow Jackets, he has manufactured an overall record of 275-111.
Beth Ellinger (Lynchburg, '02) will start her ninth season as the head coach at Lynchburg College. The Hornets have finished .500 or better in all eight years that she has directed the program, and she claims a school and career won-lost slate of 150-89.
In her 21st season as the head coach at DePauw, Deb Zellers (DePauw, '92) has enjoyed an abundant amount of success, compiling an impressive record of 458-234. She has guided the Tigers to nine consecutive years of 20 or more wins and has appeared in a total of three NCAA Division III Tournaments.
Guiding the fortunes of the Berry College program for her seventh season is Mika Robinson (Harvard, '96). Robinson, the fourth volleyball coach in the program's history, has totaled a school and career ledger of 128-65. Robinson was named the Southern Athletic Association 2013 Coach of the Year.
2013 RECORDS – Emory ended last year with an overall record of 34-5. The Eagles recorded their 18th straight trip to the postseason where they advanced to the national semifinals. The squad's win total represented the program's seventh consecutive campaign of 30 or more wins and Emory closed the curtain on the season ranked No. 5 nationally by the AVCA.
Randolph-Macon finished the 2013 season with an overall record of 22-7, its sixth straight year of 20 or more wins. The Yellow Jackets shared the Old Dominion Athletic Conference regular-season championship with Washington & Lee with a 10-1 mark.
Lynchburg, another member of the ODAC, fashioned an overall slate of 14-13 last season. The Hornets were 7-4 in league play and advanced to the title match of the league championship.
DePauw is coming off a strong effort in 2013 that saw it rack up an overall record of 26-7 that included a berth in the NCAA D-III Tournament. The Tigers registered a 6-2 performance in North Coast Athletic Conference action, good for a second-place tie. DePauw received votes in the 2014 AVCA Preseason Poll.
Berry College looks to continue the momentum from a successful 2013 season, which saw it knockout 26 victories in 34 outings. The Vikings swept their way to SAA regular season and tournament titles, and in the process earned their first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. Berry also received votes in the AVCA Preseason Poll.
SERIES RECORDS – In a series that dates from 1992, Emory stands 11-0 all-time against Randolph-Macon. The Eagles came away with a pair of hard-fought 3-2 decisions last season, the first coming at the RMC Invitational and the second at the Emory Tournament.
Emory and Lynchburg have met on four occasions with the Eagles prevailing in every match. EU and Lynchburg met once during the 2013 campaign at the Emory Tournament with the Eagles notching a 3-0 victory.
Emory has won the only match contested against DePauw which was played during the 2002 season.
Emory claims a 10-0 record against Berry. The Eagles earned a pair of wins during the 2013 season including one in the semifinal round of the Atlanta Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
EMORY CAPTAINS – Serving as the captains for the 2014 Emory volleyball team will be senior quartet of Cat McGrath (St. Louis, MO), Kate Bowman (Corpus Christi, TX), Leah Jacobs (Linville, VA) and Olivia Volarich (St. Louis, MO) and junior Sydney Miles (Oklahoma City, OK).
MILES BACK TO DIRECT EMORY OFFENSE – After turning in an outstanding 2013 campaign that culminated in her second straight AVCA First Team All-America berth, junior setter Sydney Miles returns to direct the Emory attack. The 6-foot-1 Miles led the University Athletic Association and ranked 22nd nationally in assists (10.17 aps), and her total of 1,393 assists ranked as the seventh-highest seasonal mark in school annals. Tabbed as the UAA Player of the Week a total of four times during her first two years, Miles ranks sixth all-time at Emory in assists (2,778) and is fourth in assists average (10.44 aps).
HOLLER LOOKS FOR REPEAT PERFORMANCE – Sophomore middle Jessica Holler (Roswell, GA), one of 14 returning letterwinners back from a year ago, hopes to enjoy a repeat of an outstanding rookie campaign. The 6-foot-1 Holler earned a bevy of accolades including a spot on the AVCA All-America Second Team. In addition, she was chosen as the Rookie of the Year by both the UAA and AVCA South Region Coaches after pacing all conference players and ranking 15th nationally with a 1.13 blocks-per-set average. She made the most of her hitting attempts, ringing up 16 matches of double-figure kills and holding down the No. 2 position on the league chart and placing 33rd nationally with a .356 hitting percentage.
SENIOR DUO COMING OFF BIG YEARS – The senior tandem of outside hitter Kate Bowman and middle Cat McGrath will be aiming for big final years after the pair each captured honorable mention All-America acclaim in 2013.
The 5-foot-9 Bowman, who enters this year as the most experienced Eagle on the roster with 86 matches and 290 sets to her credit, landed First Team All-UAA kudos last season after placing second on the team and ninth in the league with a 2.80 kills-per-set average. The owner of a team-leading 10 double-doubles, she chalked up 17 outings of double-figure kills and 18 contests of double-digit digs.
McGrath, 6-foot-2, led the UAA with a .381 attack percentage with that showing ranking 12th nationally and ninth on the school's seasonal ladder. A formidable presence at the net, she was second on the team and third in the UAA in blocks (0.85 bps).
JACOBS & VOLARICH ROUND OUT SENIOR CLASS – Rounding out the four-member senior class with Bowman and McGrath are Leah Jacobs and Olivia Volarich.
Jacobs emerged as a key contributor in 2013, landing honorable mention All-UAA status, after appearing in a career-high 37 matches and leading the team, while holding down the No. 8 spot on the league list, with a 2.91 kills-per-set average.
Volarich stood second among Emory players with 30 service aces and ranked among the UAA's top 20 performers in aces per set.