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Women’s Volleyball Aiming for ACC Repeat

August 12, 1998

CLEMSON, S.C. – As the 1998 season unfolds, the Clemson Tiger volleyball team looks to defend its 1997 ACC Title. In the programs sixth year under the direction of Head Coach Jolene Jordan Hoover, Clemson looks to record its fifth 20 win season and earn its 4th NCAA Tournament bid.

Clemson is coming off a successful 1997 season that saw the Tigers win their first ACC Title in Clemson volleyball history, receive the programs third bid into the NCAA Tournament, and defeat 15th ranked Maryland, the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated in history.

Of course, the biggest highlight of 1997 was winning the programs first ACC Title. Head coach Jolene Jordan Hoover stated, “Winning the ACC Championship meant so much to the entire program. This title was not only shared by the 1997 team, but also with past teams who created such a solid foundation and played a part in making the championship a reality.”

It seems to be clear that under the direction of Hoover, the Clemson Tiger volleyball team will continue to strive for many more titles, as well as continuing to raise the bar of excellence as Clemson student-athletes.

Hoovers team heads into the 1998 season returning nine letter winners. The team will also welcome three incoming freshmen to the squad and will look to the four returning starters for leadership. With these 12 players, the Tigers are looking to be competitive in non-conference matches, and in defending the title in ACC matches.

According to Hoover, this years strength will be in the middle position.

“We are returning senior Stephanie Schulz, junior Cindy Stern, and sophomore Jackie Dalleska in the middle position. We will also be adding freshmen Anne Berki and Meredith Kirkland. We definitely have the most depth that we have ever had in the middle position. Clemson has always had great middle hitters and this group looks to continue that standard of excellence.”

At the helm of the middle hitters is Schulz. She has been a three-year starter for the Tigers and looks to continue her success as a top line middle hitter this year. “We will look for Stephanie to work into a leadership position. She was named ACC Rookie-of-the-Year in 1995, and from that point on other players and coaches have all respected her play. She is looking to have an exceptional senior year and we will be looking forward to watching her help us defend our title.”

Stern is also a returning middle player and will bring two years of starting experience, as well as the knowledge she gained from her training with the United States National Team. “Cindys exposure and training with the national team at the Olympic Training Center has been very exciting for our program. This privilege Cindy has earned is something that is going to not only help her, but it will also help take our team to the next level. When she comes back into the gym after competing on a national level, that competitiveness should carry over to the other players. I look for her to bring great leadership qualities to help lift our level of intensity in both practices and matches.”

Behind the strength of Schulz and Stern, Dalleska will also look to earn some quality playing time as she did during her freshman year. As Hoover states, “Jackies greatest attribute is her blocking, and she is definitely going to see a lot of playing time again this year.”

As a result of all the depth in the middle, Hoover feels, “We may look to red-shirt freshman Anne Berki. We do not have to declare this until the end of the season, so she will continue to compete for playing time.”

Another freshman, Meredith Kirkland out of Miami, FL, will look to serve as a more versatile player. “Meredith is a great athlete, which is why we are going to train her in the middle and outside. She could very well play any of the three positions, middle, outside, or right-side.”

At the outside hitter position, the Tigers return last seasons starters, juniors Alison Coday and Skye Frost. Junior veteran Emily Gorla also looks to receive a shot at the starting outside hitter position.

Coday was an AVCA All-District selection last year, and according to Hoover, “Allison’s strength is definitely hitting and blocking; but every year her ball control and defense have improved as a result of all her hard work.”

Frost was one of last seasons most consistent performers. “Skye is a very complete player for us. She is the teams stabilizer and the glue that holds the six pieces together. Her strength is her passing, defense and shot selection. Skye is a great player, which she proved last year when she was selected to the ACC All-Tournament Team.”

The third outside hitter is Gorla. Last season, Gorla saw most of her time in the back row for teammate Alison Coday; however, according to Hoover, this year Gorla will get her chance to play all around. “Emily brings another dimension to the court. She makes everyone take their play up a level with her competitiveness.”

The two positions Hoover will have to replace are both on the right side. Graduating setter Michelle Thieke was a three-year starter for the Tigers and became the career record holder for most assists during the 1997 season. Looking to fill Thiekes shoes will be junior Mary Trull and sophomore Missy Kudelka. “The setter position has been a challenge between Mary and Missy. This challenge and competition for starting setter will continue into pre-season. Both have strong attributes; but both are very different individuals. I think it will be interesting to see who will step up and provide the most consistency as a setter. Both athletes have a lot to add to this team and I hope they will both be able to contribute quite a bit.”

The other right-side position was vacated by graduating senior Jill Heavey. “We are looking for freshman Jodi Steffes to step in and play on the right-side. She is a left handed hitter with a great attitude and will put up a great block on the right-side. Jodi is a strong ball-handler and a smart offensive player. She should make a smooth transition into the collegiate game. She is certainly someone to look for as an ACC Rookie-of-the-Year candidate.”

Filling the shoes of defensive specialist Blythe Gardner will be sophomore Heidi Cooper. “Heidi saw limited time last season, playing behind both Blythe and Emily. She is a great addition to the team and continues to develop at a fast rate.”

All in all, the lineup should prove to be very strong, with four returning starters. The Tigers are also extremely deep in many positions, which indicates the bench will be incredibly tough as well.

The Tigers will compete in three tournaments, as well as facing in-state rival South Carolina and Georgia before heading into ACC play. The first of three tournaments is the St. Louis Tournament followed by Clemsons Big Orange Bash and finally the Kentucky Invitational. “All of these opening matches will be a good test. I think this is a competitive schedule, but we can be successful because of our returning depth and experience.”

After three tournaments, and two non-conference matches the Tigers will play host to the NC State Wolfpack on September 25th, in their first ACC match-up of the 1998 season. From that point on, it is basically one ACC match after another.

This years ACC matches should once again prove to be quite exciting, especially considering the Tigers will be out to defend their ACC Title. The Tigers will look once again to be extremely successful on their home court, and will try to once again fill Jervey Gym with Tiger fans. “Last season, we finished 28th in the country in home attendance and I know this played a part in our success. I am hoping that we will be able to attract as many, or more fans this season. We have great community support and this will be a great help in defending our ACC Title,” Hoover states.

Along with the nine returning letter winners, and the four returning starters, there is one other element the Tigers are blessed with and that is the return of the entire coaching staff. As mentioned above, Hoover is in her sixth year as the Tigers head coach, while both Becky Kanitz and Heather Kahl are returning for their third year as assistant coaches.

Hoover comments, “This is definitely one of the best and most enjoyable staffs I have ever worked with. Becky and Heather are supportive, loyal and hard-working. I could not ask for any more from them. We have all put a lot into this team and I think we are all looking forward to watching the team in another successful season.

“Over the five seasons I have been at Clemson there have been some very exciting accomplishments for this program. We captured the 1997 ACC Championship, we have been to the NCAA Tournament three times in the last five years, had two Rookie-of-the-Year award winners and had an ACC Tournament MVP. With these highlights and Cindy Stern being able to train at the Olympic Training Center with the National Team, I see our program getting even more national exposure. I think Clemson is the total package with its commitment to academics, administration, and with the outstanding surrounding community. Clemson is really a great place to be a student-athlete.”

1998 CLEMSON VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE

DATE         DAY           OPPONENT                                TIMESept. 1     (Tues.)        GEORGIA                             7:00 p.m.

Sept. 4-5 (Fri.-Sat.) at Saint Louis Tournament TBA (Clemson, Eastern Illinois, Ga. Southern, St. Louis)

Sept. 11-13 (Fri.-Sun.) BIG ORANGE BASH TBA (Auburn, Central Florida, Clemson)

Sept. 16 (Wed.) at South Carolina 7:00 p.m.

Sept. 18-19 (Fri.-Sat.) at Kentucky Tournament TBA (Arkansas State, Clemson, Kentucky, SMU)

Sept. 25 (Fri.) * N.C.STATE 7:00 p.m. Sept. 26 (Sat.) * FLORIDA STATE 6:00 p.m. Sept. 29 (Tues.) * NORTH CAROLINA 7:00 p.m. Oct. 2 (Fri.) * at Virginia 7:00 p.m. Oct. 3 (Sat.) * at Maryland 5:00 p.m. Oct. 9 (Fri.) * DUKE 7:00 p.m. Oct. 10 (Sat.) * WAKE FOREST 6:00 p.m. Oct. 14 (Wed.) * GEORGIA TECH 7:00 p.m. Oct. 17 (Sat.) FLORIDA A&M 12:00 p.m. Oct. 20 (Tues.) * at Duke 6:00 p.m. Oct. 21 (Wed.) * at Wake Forest 6:00 p.m. Oct. 24 (Sat.) GEORGIA STATE 7:00 p.m. Oct. 27 (Tues.) * at Georgia Tech 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 (Sun.) * at Florida State 1:00 p.m. Nov. 6 (Fri.) * MARYLAND 7:00 p.m. Nov. 7 (Sat.) * VIRGINIA 6:00 p.m. Nov. 11 (Wed.) COL. OF CHARLESTON 7:00 p.m. Nov. 13 (Fri.) * at N.C.State 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 (Sat.) * at North Carolina 6:00 p.m. Nov. 20-22 (Fri.-Sun.) at ACC Tournament TBA

Home Matches in CAPS * ACC Match

1998 Clemson Volleyball Roster

ALPHABETICAL

 # NAME                 POS. HT.   CL.  HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB TEAM)16 Anne Berki           MH   6-2   Fr.  Hinsdale, IL (Hinsdale Central/Spikettes) 5 Tammy BySura         DS   5-4   Fr.  Chagrin Falls, OH (Kenston/Sputnik Juniors) 2 Alison Coday         OH   6-1   Jr.  Springfield, MO (Kickapoo/Lebanon Juniors) 1 Heidi Cooper         OH   5-8   So.  Clemson, SC (Daniel/Clemson Juniors)15 Jackie Dalleska      MH   6-0   So.  Union, IL (Huntley/Sports Performance) 4 Skye Frost           OH   6-0   Jr.  Port Macquarie, Australia (Westport Tech/Westport)10 Emily Gorla          OH   5-10  Jr.  St. Peters, MO (Incarnate Word Academy/St.Louis Jrs.)14 Meredith Kirtland    OH   5-11  Fr.  Miami, FL (Westminster Christian/South Florida) 7 Melissa Kudelka      S    5-10  So.  Temperance, MI (Bedford/Borderline)13 Stephanie Schulz     MH   6-2   Sr.  Chesterfield, MO (Parkway West/Team St. Louis) 6 Jodi Steffes         RS   6-1   Fr.  Elwood, IL (Providence Catholic/Spikettes) 9 Cindy Stern          MH   6-3   Jr.  Cincinnati, OH (Mother of Mercy/SW Ohio Thunderbirds)11 Mary Trull           S    5-10  Jr.  Richardson, TX (Berkner/North Dallas Jrs.)

NUMERICAL

 # NAME                 POS. HT.   CL.  HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL/CLUB TEAM) 1 Heidi Cooper         OH   5-8   So.  Clemson, SC (Daniel/Clemson) 2 Alison Coday         OH   6-1   Jr.  Springfield, MO (Kickapoo/Lebanon Juniors) 4 Skye Frost           OH   6-0   Jr.  Port Macquarie, Australia (Westport Tech/Westport) 5 Tammy BySura         DS   5-4   Fr.  Chagrin Falls, OH (Kenston/Sputnik Juniors) 6 Jodi Steffes         RS   6-1   Fr.  Elwood, IL (Providence Catholic/Spikettes) 7 Melissa Kudelka      S    5-10  So.  Temperance, MI (Bedford/Borderline) 9 Cindy Stern          MH   6-3   Jr.  Cincinnati, OH (Mother of Mercy/SW Ohio Thunderbirds)10 Emily Gorla          OH   5-10  Jr.  St. Peters, MO (Incarnate Word Academy/St.Louis Jrs.)11 Mary Trull           S    5-10  Jr.  Richardson, TX (Berkner/North Dallas Jrs.)13 Stephanie Schulz     MH   6-2   Sr.  Chesterfield, MO (Parkway West/Team St. Louis)14 Meredith Kirtland    OH   5-11  Fr.  Miami, FL (Westminster Christian/South Florida)15 Jackie Dalleska      MH   6-0   So.  Union, IL (Huntley/Sports Performance)16 Anne Berki           MH   6-2   Fr.  Hinsdale, IL (Hinsdale Central/Spikettes)               Head Coach: Jolene Jordan Hoover (Illinois State 86)Asst. Coaches: Becky Kanitz (Purdue 89), Heather Kahl (Clemson 96)

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