DETROIT -- The Marygrove women's volleyball team will open the 2014 slate with a week-long road trip that will span from the season-opening match Monday (Aug. 25) at Cincinnati Clermont to a weekend invitational at the College of Coastal Georgia against four formidable NAIA opponents. A brief stay in Chattanooga, Tenn. is sandwiched between the Ohio and Georgia stops as the Mustangs prepare for a 7 p.m. tilt Wednesday (Aug. 27) at Tennessee Temple.
Led into action by third-year head coach Jamie Baker, the Mustangs will aim to take another step forward this season as they set their sights on year three in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) and a potential return trip to the United States College Athletic Association (USCAA) National Championship Tournament.
The Mustang Sports Network will travel with Coach Baker and the Mustangs to Ohio and Tennessee before they turn around to cover Marygrove's inaugural video broadcast Saturday (Aug. 30) when the men's soccer team hosts Rochester. The network will provide live audio and live stats for matches in Ohio and Tennessee on marygrovemustangs.com/live. The College of Coastal Georgia will provide live video coverage of this weekend's Mariner Invitational here.
A LOOK AHEAD
Marygrove at Cincinnati Clermont
Date: Monday, August 25
Time: 6 p.m. EST
Location: Cincinnati Clermont Student Center – Batavia, Ohio
Coverage: Live Audio | Live Stats
Marygrove at Tennessee Temple
Date: Wednesday, August 27
Time: 7 p.m. EST
Location: McGilvray Gym – Chattanooga, Tenn.
Coverage: Live Audio | Live Stats
Marygrove at Mariner Invitational
Dates: Friday, August 29 & Saturday, August 30
Times: (F) 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. | (S) 11:30 a.m. & 4:30 p.m.
Location: Howard Coffin Gym – Brunswick, Ga.
Coverage: Live Video
THE LAST TIME THEY MET
Marygrove and the Cincinnati Clermont Cougars squared off last season at the USCAA National Championship Tournament in Canton, New York, where the Mustangs came away victorious in a shortened pool-play match, two-sets-to-none. The Mustangs have never faced the remainder of this week's opponents.
A LOOK AT THE COUGARS
Like the Mustangs, Cincinnati Clermont opens the season with a new-look roster that includes a heavy dose of freshmen and incoming transfers. The Cougars qualified for the USCAA National Championship last year and are hopeful to return this season.
A LOOK AT THE CRUSADERS
First-year head coach Mary Willis inherits a Crusader squad that finished the 2013 campaign with an 18-15 overall record. Five juniors and four seniors lead Willis' group as they open the season.
THE MARINER INVITATIONAL
The Mustangs will face four tough NAIA opponents when they take part in Coastal Georgia's Mariner Invite Friday & Saturday. Coach Baker and the Mustangs will open play Friday against Faulker (Ala.) at 2 p.m. and the host Mariners at 7 p.m. Saturday's matches will see the Mustangs take on Webber International (Fla.) at 11:30 a.m. before a 4:30 p.m. match against Brenau (Ga.).
COACH BAKER'S CORNER
"I'm excited for this year's team," said third-year head coach Jamie Baker. "Our returners have been fantastic as far as their leadership goes and I believe they are all ready to take another step forward this year," continued Baker. "We also have a strong contingent of freshmen expected to play a big role on the team immediately. We're all very happy to finally get to play after working very hard during the preseason."
LOOKING BACK AT 2013
The Mustangs begin the 2014 slate with renewed goals for the program after finishing third in the USCAA last season. The 2013 campaign played witness to the team finishing with its first winning record (19-16) in program history and the most wins (19) recorded in a single season. The season also brought plenty of awards, including one for Kara Kempinski who was named the WHAC's Libero of the Year. Kempinski is one of three seniors (Kiara Cobbs & Nicole Kempinski) on this year's team.
DYNAMIC DEFENSE LEADS THE WAY
Last year, the Mustangs were paced by a high-octane offense – which included top hitters Kat Hall, Sarah Suppelsa and Millie Velez. This season, the Mustangs will look to their athletic, scrappy defense to lead the way behind twins Kara and Nicole Kempinski, Alyssa Adkins, and newcomer Amber Kelly. Nicole Kempinski will shift to the back row from setter to help solidify the Mustangs' defense, while Kiara Cobbs, Ashley Murphy, and Alixandria Pappas return to carry the front row attack. Hayley Jury returns at setter to give the Mustangs a nice touch around the net.
NICE TO MEET YOU
Coach Baker and assistant coach Breann Dotstry brought in a well-rounded 2014 recruiting class after graduating a talented group of seniors last season. In all, the Mustangs added five freshmen (Hailey Brandes, Mary Chambers, Paige Hughes, Amber Kelly, and Skylar Zeigler) and three transfers (Jessie Liinangi, Amber Staudt, and Rachel Staudt).