Volleyball Hosts UIC Spring Tournament On Saturday
March 31, 2008
Chicago, Ill. - The Flames Athletic Center will be a volleyball enthusiast's paradise on Saturday as the UIC Flames welcome a collection of top regional and national programs for the UIC Spring Tournament.
The day-long event features 20 exhibition matches played on two courts with Colorado, Michigan, Northwestern, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Milwaukee, Loyola and the host Flames making up the tournament field.
Each squad will play five matches over the course of the day with the contests consisting of two games to 25 or one game to 30 for some of the afternoon matches.
UIC is prepping for the upcoming fall campaign with plenty of optimism as the Flames return five starters and their libero from last year's squad, while also welcoming back two-time All-Horizon League outside hitter Katarina Nedeljkovic, who missed the entire 2007 season due to injury.
"I am excited about Nedeljkovic's return to competition," UIC Head Coach Nancy Mueller said. "I think she brings a high level of intensity to the rest of the players which can only help us."
Nedeljkovic posted 414 kills, 356 digs and a career-best 54 service aces in 2006. Those numbers will more than compliment UIC's returning collection of performers.
Outside hitters Katerina Hanackova (358 kills) and Christin Hunt (306 kills) and middle hitter Lana Lobdell (304 kills) each topped the 300-kill plateau last year while Lodbell was the team leader in blocks (119). Libero Taylor Szatkowski is back in the mix after leading the squad with 418 digs in 2007.
The Flames' returning talent will be tested on Saturday. UIC opens play at 8:50 a.m. versus Colorado, a perennial power out of the Big 12 Conference. The Buffs have made nine NCAA tournament appearances in the last 11 years.
The Flames will then square off with Northern Illinois at 10:30 a.m. before locking horns with Michigan, which won 24 matches last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament `Sweet 16', at 12:30 p.m.
UIC wraps up the day by taking on two more 20-match winners from last season in Milwaukee (25-3) at 2:10 p.m. and Western Michigan (21-12) at 3:50 p.m.
"I feel like the tournament is going to be a great challenge for our team," said Mueller. "We are playing some great competition which can only help us improve as a team."
UIC SPRING TOURNAMENT April 5