B-CU VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON: What To Watch For
By Dan Ryan
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Bethune-Cookman volleyball opens preseason training camp Thursday preparing for what should be a record-breaking season for several of its returning players.
- ONE LAST LOOK: B-CU finished 13-19 in 2011 under first-year head coach Isaac Raphael, a six-win improvement over 2010. The non-conference schedule included victories over Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Maryland Eastern-Shore and a victory over Wofford in the Stetson tournament that gave B-CU a share of the team title. In conference play, B-CU had a 6-4 mark and finished third in the Southern Division. The Lady Wildcats won a five-set instant classic with Morgan State in the MEAC tournament semifinals before falling to Florida A&M in the semis.
- B-CU is vying for its first winning season since 2004.
- KRYSTA(L) CLEAR: Senior Krysta Gardner could turn the B-CU volleyball record book into an autobiography if she matches her 2011 season in which she set the school single-season kills record (479). The senior needs 170 kills to reach the 1,000 career mark of 1,060 held by Melissa Sanders. Also, Gardner needs 40 service aces to break Javanne Johnson's career record of 126.
- IN THE BOOKS: Senior Janeen Davis is also poised to join the 1,000 kill club. She needs 325. Junior Jennifer Jimenez can enter the record books via defense. She had a school record 395 digs last year and needs 241 to break Sanders' career total of 852.
- PRESEASON STORYLINE: There's no middle ground with this team. The Lady Cats have the experienced crew of Gardner, Davis and Jimenez and then there's a crew of seven incoming freshmen. Sophomores Aubrianna Curtis and Aria Cormier represent the only second-year players.
- NEWCOMERS TO WATCH: Monica Lowe will aid the Lady Cats' defense while Destiny Hudson will contribute as an outside hitter.
- FIRST MATCH: Charlotte on 8/24 in the East Carolina tournament.
- OTHER KEY MATCHES: At Wyoming (8/31); at Stetson (9/4); 2011 NCAA tournament participant Baylor (9/28 in Lake Charles, La.) and, of course, Florida A&M (9/12 in Tallahassee and 11/11 in Daytona Beach).