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Young Bobcats Look to Claw Back to Top of AMCC This Year
08/29/2002

FROSTBURG, MD- After two straight appearances in the NCAA tournament and four consecutive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference titles, the Frostburg State University Women’s Volleyball team had an uncharacteristic 14-18 mark under first-year head coach Jeff Billington.

The young squad improved as the season went along and finished the year by upsetting top seeded Penn State Altoona in the first round of the conference championship before losing in the final to Penn State Behrend.

Billington sees last year as a building year for those young players saying, “This year the returning players are stronger and more mentally prepared for the season, which should be evident during the first few weeks.”

This year’s team features six returnees, including Newcomer of the Year and All-AMCC sophomore setter Carrie Ness (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key), who led the team with 864 assists and was second with 57 service aces.

“Carrie showed up stronger this year and is taking over the role as team leader,” Billington said.

All-Conference players Lauren Petrick (Denton, Md./North Caroline) and Jen Vance (Cumberland, Md./Fort Hill) are also returning for their sophomore seasons.

Petrick led the team with 309 kills and 60 service aces from her outside hitter position. “Her arm swing is powerful and she will be the go-to person on this team,” said Billington.

Vance, who was second on the team with 272 kills last year, started at outside hitter last year but will move to middle hitter this season.

“We moved Jen inside this year because of her athletic ability and good vertical jump.”

The other three returners are junior Jen Fagan (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard), senior Stacy Bureau (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) and sophomore Sammy Seyffreth (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck).

Fagan is the lone remaining member of those two NCAA tournament teams and brings experience to this team. “Jen has gotten better every year, and her work ethic is outstanding,” said Billington.

Bureau tied for the team lead with 235 digs, and added 31 service aces. “Stacy has a 25-inch vertical leap and brings quickness and athleticism to this team, which is why we moved her to the middle where she will start this year.”

Seyffreth was second on the team with 220 digs and showed her durability as one of only three players who played in every match.

“Sam’s our motor on the court, and her confidence is growing each day,” said Billington.

Billington sees a lot of promise in his seven newcomers. “We have added height, speed and athleticism which should help us compete on the national level.”

Junior transfers Kelli Bumgarner (Chesapeake Beach, Md./Calvert) and Emily Lewis (Cumberland, Md./Allegany) along with freshman Kim Embrey (Sumerduck, Va./Liberty) are all 5’10”, and should give the Bobcats great presence along the front line.

Bumgarner was an All-American at the College of Southern Maryland, where she led her team to the Maryland JUCO championship. “Kelli is a very skilled player who passes exceptionally well, and she will be a starter for us this year.”

Embrey and Lewis will look to battle for playing time at middle hitter. “They both are improving everyday, and will help us out this year.”

Freshmen Dani Matousek (Edgewater, Md./AACS) and Carly McDonald (Owings, Md./Northern) will look to contribute off the bench at outside hitter.

“These two girls will make an impact this season. Both are great all-around players and have strong work ethics.”

Rounding out the newcomers are sophomore Mandy Williams (Charlotte Hall, Md./Chopticon), a transfer from St. Vincent College, and freshman Kristie Butt (Germantown, Md./Seneca Valley). “Both girls should see playing time early and have great attitudes.”

This year’s team has a tough road ahead as the overall strength of schedule has improved with perennial powers Juniata and Catholic on the card and the addition of three Division II teams.

“We have good competition in practice, which should prepare us well for the upcoming season and those tough teams in the conference as well.”

Billington believes that this year Frostburg State will return to its winning ways, which was echoed when the league coaches picked them to finish second in a preseason vote.

“This year I think we will surprise some people. Hopefully we can bring another AMCC championship back to Frostburg and make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.”

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780
E-mail: sportsinfo@frostburg.edu