Volleyball Opens Season at Marshall's Thunder Invitational|
Aug. 25, 2014
CHICAGO - The UIC volleyball team begins its 2014 campaign Friday at the two-day Thunder Invitational in Huntington, W.Va. The Flames open the season Friday at 6:30 pm CT against Virginia. During the second day of the Invitational, UIC faces host Marshall at 10:00 am CT, followed by Eastern Michigan at 4:00 pm CT.
A LOOK AT VIRGINIA
A LOOK AT MARSHALL
A LOOK AT EASTERN MICHIGAN
UIC MATCH NOTES
BACK FROM THE 2013 SEASON
UIC returns eight players to the 2014 roster from last season, including seven letterwinners. The Flames bring back a large senior class as Sara Jo Sternard (763 career kills), Maggie Strus (1,250 career digs) and Molly McCoy (479 career kills) will be in their final seasons at UIC. Productive freshmen Kara Johnson (304 kills) and Casey Harris (73 total blocks) also return to the Flames’ lineup.
UIC ADDS HIGHLY TOUTED TRANSFER
UIC head volleyball coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley made a big splash in January when she announced that junior Stephenee Yancy, an Aroma Park, Ill. native who spent the last two seasons with Western Michigan, will join the Flames for the 2014 campaign. Yancy has two years of eligibility remaining.
A 6-foot-2 middle blocker who graduated from Kankakee High School in 2012, Yancy appeared in 50 matches over the past two seasons at Western Michigan and recorded 38 starts. She put down 469 kills with a stellar .298 attack percentage. Yancy also collected 134 total blocks over 171 sets played. Yancy was named the 2012 MAC Freshman of the Year and was selected to join the 2013 USA Volleyball High Performance Indoor Women’s Junior A1 National Training Team Program.
SCHUMACHER-CAWLEY ADDS THREE FRESHMEN
UIC head volleyball coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley has brought in three freshmen in Angela Evans (Elkins Park, Pa.), Kyisha Hunt (Kankakee, Ill.) and Allie O'Reilly (Elgin, Ill.). Evans is a 6-foot-0 middle blocker, Hunt is a 5-foot-10 outside hitter and O’Reilly is a 5-foot-4 defensive specialist.
Evans, who put down 545 kills in her high school career, was selected Class AA All-State in 2012. Hunt, a left-handed attacker who jump touches 9’10, is a versatile athlete and turned down several Division I basketball offers to follow her passion of volleyball. O'Reilly holds Burlington Central High School’s single-season dig record with 681 digs and broke the Big Northern Conference record with 1,479 career digs.
UIC’s 2014 schedule features 12 home matches and the annual UIC Invitational in mid-September. The Flames will also play seven contests against in-state opponents and begin Horizon League action on Sept. 26 when UIC travels to Milwaukee, an NCAA tournament participant in 2013. UIC will make non-conference tournament trips to Marshall, Chicago State and defending-national champions Penn State prior to the beginning of Horizon League play.
The fourth weekend of the season (Sept. 19-20) will see the Flames make a trip to Pennsylvania to compete in Penn State’s Alumni Classic. Penn State head coach Russ Rose will welcome UIC head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley and three other Penn State alumni to campus for the tournament. The other head coaches participating include Nadia Edwards (DePaul), Kate Price (Eastern Illinois) and Julie Torbett (Eastern Carolina).
STERNARD AMONGST THE HORIZON LEAGUE’S BEST
Senior Sara Jo Sternard capped a stellar junior season in 2013 by being named to the All-Horizon League Team. It was Sternard’s second yearly honor from the League as she was selected to the All-Newcomer Team following the 2011 season.
Sternard led UIC with 329 kills and 80 total blocks. She finished the season ranked fourth in the Horizon League with a .293 attack percentage and seventh with 3.02 kills per set. During League play, Sternard ranked fifth in the conference with 3.20 kills per set.
Sternard owns 763 career kills and needs 237 kills this season to become the 16th member of UIC's 1,000 Kills Club. She ranks third in program history with a .282 career attack percentage and tenth with 57 solo blocks.
STRUS SEEKS PROGRAM RECORD
Senior Maggie Strus set UIC’s single-season record with 600 digs in 2012 and owns 1,250 career digs, which ranks seventh in program history. She needs 282 digs as a senior in 2014 to become UIC's all-time dig leader.
Strus holds the single-match program record with 35 digs against Belmont on Sept. 15, 2012. Strus missed three matches last season due to injury and ranked second on the squad with 298 digs.
McCOY’S STRONG RETURN FROM INJURY
Senior Molly McCoy ranked third on the squad with 255 kills last season but missed four contests from Oct. 4-12 due to injury. She returned to action on Oct. 18 and averaged 2.80 kills per set over the final 10 matches of the season.
During Horizon League play, McCoy ranked ninth in the conference with 2.74 kills per set. McCoy, who owns 479 career kills, recorded double-digit kills on 13 occasions in 2013.
JOHNSON RETURNS AFTER IMPRESSIVE FRESHMAN CAMPAIGN
Sophomore Kara Johnson was a solid offensive contributor as a freshman in 2013 as she ranked second on UIC with 304 kills. She took a team-high 1,000 swings and collected 15 double-digit kill efforts, including five straight to conclude the season.
Johnson was also productive on the defensive side of the ball with 219 digs and 20 service aces. She had four of UIC's 11 double-doubles.
HARRIS PUTS UP A BIG BLOCK
Sophomore Casey Harris was a major presence at the net as a freshman last season. She ranked second on the team with 73 total blocks and led the squad with 39 blocks in 50 sets during Horizon League play.
Harris had nine block assists at Cleveland State (Oct. 11) to record the Horizon League’s fifth best block performance. She also put down 153 kills and averaged 1.55 kills per set.
FRIEL DANGEROUS AT SERVICE LINE
Redshirt junior Tracy Friel was dangerous at the service line last season as she ranked second on UIC with 24 aces. She began the 2013 campaign with four service aces against Elon and had eight aces over the last 11 contests of the season.
Friel was also a major contributor on the backline as she ranked third on the squad with 232 digs. She recorded nine double-digit efforts in 2013, including a career-high 18 at Oakland (Nov. 15).