Toledo Opens Season at OSUís Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic This Weekend
TOLEDO, OH - Toledo commences its 2012 campaign this weekend with a trip to Columbus, OH to participate in Ohio State's Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic. UT will open the tournament on Friday, Aug. 24 against Houston and No. 20 Oregon before facing the No. 24 Buckeyes on Saturday, Aug. 25.
The Rockets return a veteran group of attackers in 2012 - senior Sondra Parys and juniors Dakota Harkins, Jordan Kielty, Lauren Rafdal and Becca Reidy - who have seen extensive action since arriving on campus as freshman.
That experience will be necessary to ease the transition to a new setter following the graduation of three-time All-MAC Second Team honoree Kassie Kadera. Junior Adria Pryor has the inside track at the position and will compete for the job with freshman Alex Hines. Pryor has played in just two matches in a Rocket uniform, one each as a freshman and sophomore.
The Cougars are tabbed to finish fifth in Conference USA this season and return second-team all-league honorees Katie Norris and Chandace Tryon. Norris averaged 2.96 kps and 1.36 dps, while Tryon tallied a .314 ATK%, 2.23 kps and 0.82 bps.
Ohio State has made back-to-back 'Sweet 16' appearances and returns five starters, including All-Big Ten selection Mari Hole. Hole averaged a team-high 4.02 kps and 2.79 and will be joined by fellow senior OH Emily Danks (.274 ATK%, 3.36 kps, 0.72 bps).
The Ducks have six starters back with AVCA Third-Team All-American Alaina Bergsma leading the way with 4.51 kps and 2.14 dps. Oregon also returns junior S Lauren Plum, an All-Pacific-12 honoree who averaged 11.67 aps and 2.38 dps in 2011.
Following is the schedule for this weekend with all matches to be played in St. John Arena (13,276):
FRIDAY, AUG. 24
Houston vs. Toledo, 11:30 a.m.
Ohio State vs. Houston, 5:00 p.m.
Oregon vs. Toledo, 7:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, AUG. 25
Ohio State vs. Toledo, 11:30 a.m.
Oregon vs. Houston, 1:30 p.m.
Ohio State vs. Oregon, 7:30 p.m.
ROCKETS RECEIVE AVCA TEAM ACADEMIC AWARD
Toledo was awarded the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2011-12 school year. It marked the 12th straight season the Rockets have received the award which is the second-longest streak in the country.
BLUE-GOLD MATCH RECAP
Senior Sondra Parys led the way offensively with 15 kills...Junior Jordan Kielty added 10 kills with junior Dakota Harkins, junior Lauren Rafdal and freshmen Daiva Wise contributing eight terminations apiece...Harkins and Wise also dominated the net defensively with seven and five blocks, respectively...Junior Adria Pryor and freshman Alex Hines switched sides throughout the match and dished out 28 and 27 assists, respectively.
Toledo has four newcomers - sophomore Allison Griffiths (DeWitt, MI) and freshmen Celina Diaz (Hesperia, CA), Alex Hines (Canton, MI), Daiva Wise (Glen Ellyn, IL) - joining its program for the 2012 campaign.
NEW FACE ON THE BENCH
Nick Perakes joined the Rocket coaching staff over the summer after serving as the girls' freshman volleyball coach at Ann Arbor Skyline High School and as the Girls' Under-16 coach at the A2 Volleyball Club.
During his time in Ann Arbor, Perakes also coached the University of Michigan's club team to a 44-8 overall record, a No. 6 ranking nationally and an appearance in the Silver Championship Match at nationals.
An Orlando, FL native, Perakes was a four-year starter (2006-09) at Lewis (IL) University. He earned first-team All-Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association honors as a libero in 2009 after ranking eighth in the nation with 2.82 digs per set. He graduated as the Flyers' career-digs leader (964) and is a three-time MIVA Academic All-Conference honoree.
ROCKETS VS. THE FIELD
Toledo will be meeting Houston and Oregon for the first time in program history...The Rockets are winless in seven matches against Ohio State, including a 3-1 home setback in last year's Rocket Classic.
- Junior MB Dakota Harkins set a school record last year and ranked seventh in the Mid-American Conference with a .321 attack percentage.
- The Rockets' lone victory over a nationally-ranked opponent was a 3-2 win over No. 12 Michigan in the 2010 Rocket Classic. UT will face a pair of ranked teams in this weekend's tournament.
- Head Coach Greg Smith is undefeated in three season openers at the helm of the Rockets. Smith spent three seasons (1997-99) as an assistant coach at Ohio State.
A LOOK AHEAD
The Rockets will travel to Rochester, MI next weekend to compete in Oakland's Golden Grizzlies Invitational. UT will open play against the hosts at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31 followed by matchups against Iowa and Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively.
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