The new era of Charlotte 49ers volleyball got underway Thursday morning as the first official practice of the new season took place at 8:00 a.m. The Niners will have just over two weeks before their annual Green/White Scrimmage on Saturday, August 23rd before hosting the five-team 49er Invitational to kick-off the 2014 regular season.
First year Head Coach Gokhan Yilmaz, along with new assistants Nicole Miller and Margeaux Sinibaldi, will look to turn around a struggling program in years past during the 2014 campaign. Charlotte went just 12-17 a year ago, 2-12 back in the tough Conference USA missing out on the annual league tournament.
Claire Kreuz returns for her second season as the team’s kill leader returning from a year ago with 253 in her 29 matches played. Junior Sarah McDonald returns after 173 kills last season while senior Savannah Gaster recorded 126. Setting up 1,115 kills for the Niners last year, Britney Leigh Held returns looking to do more of the same while libero Michelle Hovey will look to add upon her 556 digs. Hovey stands just 209 digs away from joining the exclusive 1,000-dig club at Charlotte.
Other returners include senior Laura Cantrell will look to continue provided senior leadership after playing in 17 matches in 2013 while Jackie Servais and Morgan Barker will look to be more comfortable on the floor after their inaugural seasons with the Niners. Abreia Epps, injured during the final days of preseason practices last year, missed all of 2013 looking forward to 2014.
Coach Yilmaz will also have six newcomers joining the squad to round out the 2014 roster. Irem Asci and Semen Sen each join the Niners from their home country of Turkey while Sarah Adams, Shelby Green, Michaela White, and Marshae Bradbury will compete in preseason for playing time during the regular season.
Fans will get more of an in-depth look at the new-look Niners during their preseason training to be complete with practice footage, interviews and more. A photo gallery of today’s first practice is available by clicking the link above. To stay up-to-date with everything Charlotte volleyball, follow the Niners via Twitter online at http://twitter.com/49erVolleyball.
Charlotte’s annual Green and White match will take place on Saturday, August 23rd at 7:00 p.m. inside Halton Arena where fans will get their first look at the Niners. The 2014 regular season will officially begin at the same place on Friday, August 29th with matches against Morgan State and UNC Greensboro at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.