Aug. 15, 1997

Volleyball Ready for 1997 Season

In her second season at the helm, head coach Karen Mendes returns eight letterwinners from last season's 18-17 squad. Three seniors have graduated including one of the all-time best players in the history of the program in Becky Loftus. A two-time All-BIG EAST performer, Loftus graduates as one of the top hitters in the 20-year program.

With the most experience on the squad, senior tri-captain Heidi Brady (Woodside, CA) will lead the Lady Friars at the net. A strong and powerful middle blocker, Brady is a two-year starter and will be the catalyst on the floor. One of only four players to see action in every game a year ago, she is a solid blocker who tallied 112 blocks as a junior. She was also strong offensively as she put down 278 kills which was third best on the squad. Brady has a slew of natural athletic ability and will look for a strong end to her career. She should battle for All-BIG EAST honors.

Alongside Brady in the middle is junior Melissa Crotty (St. James, NY), who is still an untested player. At 6-1, Crotty uses her size well and is a solid player, although has seen limited action because of a wrist injury. She recovered with an excellent spring season and is expected to have a solid season. Sophomore transfer Brooke Chupaila (Liverpool, NY), a 6-3 middle blocker, could see immediate action as well.

Helping make the offense powerful, junior tri-captain Sherryl Jones (Burlington, Ont) is one of only two experienced outside hitters from a year ago. She was the team's favorite target in 1996 as she tallied a team high 1,098 attempts at the net. With 335 kills, Jones is an experienced player who has a solid all-around game. She will be a go-to player in the big games.

Sophomore rightside hitter Rachel Doxtater (Tucson, AZ) stepped into the lineup immediately as a freshman and played in every game. A natural leader, Doxtater is one of the team's best passers and defensive players. She tallied 186 kills, 252 digs and 38 blocks as a rookie. Doxtater should again see starting duty. Senior Jen Ferencko (N. Kingstown, RI) should add depth to the outside hitter spot.

Freshmen Heidi Filippi (Wooster, OH) and Samanthaa Lennon (Montclair, NJ) will be tested early. Filippi has pure power and athleticism and has always been part of a strong tradition at Wooster High (OH). Lennon should also bring to the program much needed net play.

Senior Kristen Kam (Buffalo, NY) has three-years of experience at the setter position. A strong floor leader, Kam has tremendous hands on the court. She is also a talented hitter and could be used in a variety of roles. She will again be pushed by sophomore Colleen Lee (Tonawanda, NY). Lee took over starting duties midway through last season and finished with a team high 665 assists. Lee is a versatile athlete who is a consistent outside hitter as well.

Sophomore Michelle Galliano (Glendale, CA) will add depth to the setter spot and will also fill in as a defensive specialist. Sophomore Sarah Fabiaschi (Minnetonka Beach, MN) joined the squad last spring and could see time at setter, but more likely as a defensive specialist.

Freshmen Amy Acuna (Tucson, AZ) and Deb Bihday (Warwick, RI) are expected to see quality time immediately. Acuna will be a primary passer while Bihday could see action at the net and also as a utility player.

Prior to BIG EAST action, the Lady Friars will travel to five Invitationals including the University of Texas Pan-American Classic, University of Hartford Tourney, University of Rhode Island Classic, UNC-Asheville Tournament and Dartmouth Invitational.

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