Regular season opener against Eastern Illinois is set for August 28
UIC will host 13 home matches at the Flames Athletic Center
Mereday is a 6-foot-0 outside hitter from New Jersey
Schedule highlighted by home tournament on April 18
Carla Salvato (5-foot-5 libero) and Haley Sullivan (5-foot-3 libero) will join the Flames next season
2013 UIC Invitational (Sept. 6-7)
Former NCAA All-American and national champion at Penn State Katie Schumacher-Cawley was named the head coach of the UIC volleyball program on December 5, 2008. She served as an assistant coach for six seasons prior to taking over the program.
Schumacher-Cawley concluded her sixth season as head coach in 2014 with 85 victories at the helm of the UIC program. She earned a four-year contract in March 2013 and will be the Flames' leader through 2017.
Schumacher-Cawley was named the 2013 UIC "INSPIRE" Award winner in November 2013. As part of Employee Recognition Month at UIC, the award recognizes individuals who have based their work and daily attitudes on UIC's core values of Integrity, Nurturance, Service, Pride, Intellect, Respect and Excellence.
Schumacher-Cawley finished her fifth season at the helm of the program in 2013. Junior Sara Sternard (329 kills and 80 total blocks) was named to the 2013 All-Horizon League Team while senior MaryKate Imrie (1,084 assists) finished her career with 3,634 assists, which ranks third all-time in program history.
Schumacher-Cawley led the Flames to the Horizon League Championship in 2012 for the first time since 2006. The team compiled a 10-4 Horizon League record and earned the No. 2 seed heading into the League tournament. Three Flames were named to the Horizon League all-League team and two were named to the all-tournament team. Setter MaryKate Imrie was named an AVCA Midwest Region Honorable Mention and the team earned a No. 9 Midwest Region ranking on Nov. 12.
During the 2011 season, Schumacher-Cawley guided Kelsey Safranek and Sara Sternard to All-Horizon League honors. Safranek grabbed first-team honors, while Sternard was named to the All-Newcomer team. The 2011 campaign was highlighted by a five-match winning streak that included defeating four conference foes. Among the victories, UIC defeated Loyola and Green Bay, which led to Sternard being named the Horizon League's "Offensive Player of the Week."
In 2010, Schumacher-Cawley compiled a recruiting class that received Honorable Mention recognition from PrepVolleyball.com, becoming the only Horizon League program to garner that distinction.
During the 2010 campaign, the team captured the Best Western Invitational championship in Jacksonville, Fla. That title marked the first non-conference tournament triumph away from Chicago in over 15 years. UIC also took second at the annual Chicagoland Challenge during the season's opening weekend. The Flames toppled DePaul in five thrilling sets in the first match before falling to a Northwestern team that eventually would advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the championship.
In 2009, her first season at the helm, Schumacher-Cawley helped guide the Flames to an overall record of 16-18 and 8-8 in Horizon League play. UIC posted key conference victories over Loyola, Milwaukee and eventual League champion, Cleveland State. The Flames concluded the 2009 season with a trip to the Horizon League Championship semifinals, a level that they had not reached since 2006.
Schumacher-Cawley, assisted in the development of outside hitters, Casie Sullivan and Safranek. Sullivan was voted to the all-League team as chosen by the conference's coaches after leading her team with 194 kills and ranking second with 192 digs in conference play. Safranek was named to the all-Newcomer team upon totaling 170 kills, 25 digs and 31 total blocks against league opponents.
A 2002 graduate of Penn State, Schumacher-Cawley helped lead the Nittany Lions to the 1999 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship and three Big Ten Conference titles during her career at University Park.
Schumacher-Cawley was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, two-time All American and an AVCA All-Region selection in 2001. Schumacher tallied 1,310 kills (13th in Penn State history) 772 digs and 299 blocks.
Schumacher-Cawley served as a volunteer coach for Illinois during the 2002 season, in addition to spending her collegiate career at Penn State serving as a coach for the Nittany Lions' summer camps in both volleyball and basketball.
She first broke onto the local sports scene as a prep star for volleyball power Mother McAuley. From 1993-97 she excelled at volleyball and basketball, earning All-Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC) honors in both sports and leading the Mighty Macs to state and national titles in volleyball. Schumacher-Cawley was named the 1996 Player of the Year by The Star Newspaper and the 1997 Chicago Sun-Times Female Athlete of the Year, among many awards and highlights, before heading to Penn State.
She was inducted into the GCAC Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Catholic League Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2008 a resolution in the Illinois House of Representatives congratulated Schumacher-Cawley for her achievements.
On October 15, 2008, Schumacher-Cawley was inducted into the prestigious Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame for her contributions to the sport of volleyball as an athlete and a coach. She was inducted in a class that featured the likes of Pro Football Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers and Marv Levy, Chicago Cubs great Andre Dawson and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Schumacher-Cawley was married on May 26, 2007 to Mike Cawley of Pittsburgh. The couple has three daughters named Stella (4), Nora (3) and Shea (born June 2014). The family resides in Chicago.