Volleyball Set To Open Season On Friday

The Flames wil host the two-day UIC Wilson Volleyball Invitational, Sept. 1-2, at UIC Pavilion
The Flames wil host the two-day UIC Wilson Volleyball Invitational, Sept. 1-2, at UIC Pavilion

Aug. 31, 2000

Chicago, Ill. - An air of excitement is surrounding the 2000 UIC volleyball team.

On paper, the squad is one of the school's most talented and this year's Flames seem to have all of the necessary tools to make a run at a league title and their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

But championships are not won on paper, they are won on the court, and the journey toward their lofty goals begins this Friday at UIC Pavilion as the Flames host the two-day inaugural UIC Wilson Volleyball Invitational.

"We are confident," Head Coach Don August stated on his outlook for the 2000 campaign. "We haven't played anyone yet, though, so there are a lot of unknowns going into the weekend. We do have the advantage of being at home, not having to travel and playing in familiar surroundings. We are anxiously awaiting getting things started."

Youngstown State and Indiana State will open the round-robin tournament at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, with the main event, UIC vs. Southeastern Louisiana, getting started at 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, the Flames will open the second day of competition at 12:00 p.m. versus Indiana State. Southeastern Louisiana will follow with matches against Youngstown State at 2:00 p.m., and Indiana State at 5:00 p.m., with the tournament's marquee match-up pitting the Flames versus the 1999 Mid-Continent Conference Champion Youngstown State Penguins at 7:00 p.m.

"It's a nice tournament with good quality competition," commented August. "Youngstown State is coming off a great year with most of their starters back. Indiana State is a solid club and Southeastern Louisiana had a terrific recruiting class and their staff is expecting big things from them."

The Flames will have a strong mix of youth and veteran experience on the floor when the first serve is put into play on Friday. UIC's five newcomers have shown they are ready to compete at the Division I level right away while the returning Flames are poised to build on their success of last season.

Senior Erica Anderson, who has helped set up five all-conference hitters in her tenure with the Flames, is back anchoring the setter position, needing just 639 helpers this season to become UIC's all-time assists leader. Fellow senior's Ann Hintz and Jill Greer are also back in the rotation. Junior Lynn Clarkson will help control the middle of the Flames' attack while junior Amy Zabojnik and sophomore Amy McMahon have impressed coaches in preseason workouts and along with Vicki Lublow, Gina Caneva and Kim Forster will be a huge factor in the team's success this year.

UIC's five newcomers - Lara Clarkson, Lindsey Filkins, Teaha Shepperd, Dawn Strahanoski and Jordan Studzinki - have put a little extra bounce in the Flames' attack this season as they bring size and talent to the floor. Freshman outside hitter Lindsey Filkins, a 1999 First-Team All-State honoree out of Downers Grove South High School, and Kalamazoo, Mich., native Teaha Sheppered are at the head of the rookie class and should see plenty of opportunities to make their mark over the weekend. DePaul transfer sophomore Lara Clarkson, sister of junior Lynn Clarkson, will also be looking to make an early impression with her new team. The 6-foot outside hitter was a member of the 1999 Conference USA All-Newcomer Team and only the second freshman in Blue Demon history to record 400-kills and 400-digs in a season.