FROSTBURG, MD -
The Frostburg State University volleyball program is looking to continue its trend of winning Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championships and earning NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003, gathering both in 2002 after a rebuilding year in 2001.
With something to prove last season, the young Bobcats posted a 25-10 record, including a perfect 12-0 mark in the conference, their fourth perfect AMCC record in five seasons. FSU won its fifth AMCC Championship in six years and earned its third berth in the NCAA Tournament in four years.
Nine players return from last year’s team, led by junior Lauren Petrick (North Caroline/Denton, Md.) the AMCC Co-Player of the Year, and All-AMCC second-team performers senior Kelli Bumgarner (Calvert/Chesapeake Beach, Md.) and junior Carrie Ness (Francis Scott Key/Taneytown, Md.).
With the addition of his strongest recruiting class, Head Coach Jeff Billington is very excited about the prospects for this season.
"This is the deepest team I have had at Frostburg State. Our practices are highly competitive, and we don’t miss a beat when one of our new players steps in to contribute."
Petrick, one of three captains this season, was named the AMCC Pre-Season Player of the Year, after leading the Bobcats with 421 kills and a .264 hitting percentage last year. She also set the FSU single-season record with 88 service aces.
"Lauren will have a break-out year," said Billington. "She should see more single blocks now and has the entire arsenal of shots to boot."
Ness, also a captain, led FSU with a career-high 1,099 assists and was second on the team with 84 aces.
"Carrie is a team leader who should have another strong year," said Billington. "She has improved her setting tempo and will benefit from more weapons this year."
Adding depth as a setter this year is freshman Amanda Hernandez (Arundel/Crofton, Md.), who according to Billington, "has great hands and allows us to use other offensive strategies."
Bumgarner returns as the second-leading hitter with 359 kills and ranked third on the team with 261 digs.
"Kelli will be our primary passer, and I look for her to have another strong season," said Billington.
Junior Sam Seyfferth (Broadneck/Annapolis, Md.) a defensive specialist who led Frostburg State with 304 digs, is the third team captain.
"Sam is fantastic. She doesn’t let many balls hit the floor and helps energize us on the court."
Looking to compete for time alongside Seyfferth are sophomores Dani Matousek (AACS/Edgewater, Md.) and Kristie Butt (Seneca Valley/Germantown, Md.).
"Both girls have improved significantly since last season and will give us more flexibility in our rotations," Billington stated.
Freshman Lori Potts (Loudoun Valley/Purcellville, Va.) who will red-shirt this season, helped lead Loudoun Valley to the Virginia AA state title as a junior and brings a great work ethic to the Bobcat program.
Sophomores Carly McDonald (Northern/Owings, Md.) and Kim Embrey (Liberty/Sumerduck, Va.) will look to again contribute to the success of the team.
McDonald, an honorable mention All-AMCC selection last season, was the most versatile of all of the Bobcats in 2002 as she finished second in assists (181), third in service aces (76) and fourth in both kills (225) and digs (233). Embrey led the team with 71 total blocks and was fifth with 127 kills.
"Carly is a total player who will be key to our success this season," says Billington. "Kim has improved her game and her confidence and will look to contribute more this season."
Rounding out the returners is senior Jen Fagan (Quince Orchard/Gaithersburg, Md.), who is the only current Bobcat to have been to two NCAA Tournament appearances.
"Jen has a great work ethic and is our behind-the-scenes leader," said Billington.
Freshmen Lauren Weller (Gaithersburg/Gaithersburg, Md.), Alana Boyle (Loudoun Valley/Purcellville, Va.) and Amber Riffe (Calvert/Chesapeake Beach, Md.) will all battle for time at the outside hitter position.
Weller has a strong arm swing and is a very good attacker on offense.
"Lauren has had a great preseason and will give us more flexibility in our offensive sets," said Billington.
Boyle helped Loudoun Valley win the Virginia AA state title as a junior, while Riffe is a skilled player who brings a strong high school background from Calvert.
"Alana has good athletic ability and will contribute more as the season progresses," said Billington. "Amber is continuing to improve everyday, and we look for her to get more playing time as the season goes along as well."
Looking to add height to his lineup, Billington added junior college transfer Jodi Carpenter (Linganore/Mt. Airy, Md.) and freshman Kelly May (Fort Hill/Flintstone, Md.).
Carpenter, a 5-11 middle hitter, comes to FSU from Frederick Community College, where she was a first-team All-Maryland JUCO player and led all Maryland junior colleges with 325 kills.
"Jodi is an exceptional athlete with quick feet and a strong arm swing," said Billington, "She will see significant time and will be a go-to person in the front row."
May, a 6-1 middle blocker, was a standout at nearby Fort Hill and is the tallest player on FSU's squad.
"Kelly is improving every day, and we look for her to be a factor as the season progresses," Billington said.
Frostburg State will face one of its toughest schedules in recent years, including regional powers Messiah and Moravian and the first-ever Division III Maryland State Tournament. With more options on offense and a confident group of talented players, Billington and his squad hold high goals for the upcoming season.
"Every year we have the goal of winning the AMCC Championship and getting to the NCAA Tournament," says Billington, "This year we would like to win the NCAA regional and make the national quarterfinals."
FSU begins its season Friday at the Moravian Greyhound Premiere Invitational. The Bobcats will face Alvernia at 5:00 before taking on Muhlenberg at 7:00.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303