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Clemson Volleyball Returns Six Starters

Aug. 30, 1999

The Clemson volleyball team, ranked 27th nationally, will open the season September 3-4 at the Michigan State Volleyball Classic, where the Tigers will face 16th-ranked Texas A&M and 22nd-ranked Michigan State.

Twelve letterwinners and all six starters return off last year’s team that posted a 22-11 record, making Clemson the 1999 preseason favorite in the ACC.

The Tigers are looking to earn their fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament and their sixth 20-win season under head coach Jolene Jordan Hoover.

Tigers Preseason ACC Favorites

Clemson was selected by the league’s nine head coaches as the preseason favorite for the upcoming 1999 ACC volleyball season. The Tigers collected 77 votes out of a possible 81. The complete poll is as follows:

   1   CLEMSON     2   Virginia     3   Georgia Tech     4   Florida State      5   N. Carolina   6   Wake Forest   7   Duke   8   Maryland   9   NC State

Clemson Ranked Among Nation’s Leaders

The Clemson volleyball team is tied for 27th nationally according to the AVCA Division I Coaches Preseason Poll, The Tigers received 89 votes in the national poll, the highest total among all teams in the ACC.

North Carolina ranks 33rd with 30 votes, while Georgia Tech is 39th with 15 votes. Virginia placed 40th in the preseason poll, pulling in 12 votes, and Florida State is picked 44th in the preseason with seven votes.

In their first weekend of competition, The Tigers will face 16th-ranked Texas A&M and 22nd-ranked Michigan State.

Other ranked teams on the Tigers’ schedule include 20th-ranked Arkansas, 29th-ranked Notre Dame, plus Illinois State and South Carolina, who are tied for 49th nationally.

Record Seekers

As the team enters the 1999 season, several Tigers are among Clemson’s career leaders in many categories.

Senior Alison Coday ranks second in kills per game (3.81), sixth in kills (1163), eighth in attempts (2914) and ninth in hitting percentage (.261).

Senior Cindy Stern holds the Clemson record with 1.37 blocks per game and ranks third in kills (1213), third in block assists (364), fourth in kills per game (3.44), fifth in block solos (120), seventh in hitting percentage (.269) and ninth in attempts (2867).

Senior Skye Frost holds the career record with 3.37 digs per game and is tied for second with 0.40 aces per game.

Junior Missy Kudelka holds the Tiger record with 11.79 assists per game and ranks sixth with 1485 assists. Sophomore Jodi Steffes is fifth among Clemson career leaders with 2.92 digs per game.

Hoover Breaks Clemson Coaching Record

Head Coach Jolene Jordan Hoover, now in her seventh season as the Tigers’ head coach, became Clemson’s all-time winningest volleyball coach last season. In 1998 she led the team to a 22-11 record, pushing her record at Clemson to 143-60 and increasing her career record to 236-91.

Hoover has a stellar 67-35 record in ACC matches for a .676 winning percentage, best among active league head coaches.

Meet the Rookies

Two freshmen are joining the Tigers this season. Mallory Benson, a middle hitter from Angola, IN, earned all-state and high school All-America honors as a senior after helping Angola High to a 28-3 record and a conference championship. She averaged 4.75 kills and 1.54 blocks per game, for a season total of 318 kills, 103 blocks and 45 aces. Benson trained with the Ft. Wayne Volleyball Club, which placed second at Junior Nationals and was the Tampa Bay National Qualifier Champion.

Jessi Betcher, a setter from Boulder, CO, is Clemson’s first Volleyball Magazine “Fab 50” selection. She led Boulder High to a 71-14 record her last three seasons and was chosen all-state and all-league all three years. Betcher earned the 5A Player of the Year Award in 1996 and 1998 from the Rocky Mountain News and the same award from the Denver Post as a junior and senior. She participated at Junior Nationals with the Boulder Volleyball Club from 1995-98, helping the team to an 11th-place finish in 1998, and was named to the all-Rocky Mountain Regional Team three years and was a member of the Northeast National Qualifier All-Tournament Team in 1996.

There’s No Place Like Home

Clemson recorded a 12-2 record in Jervey Gym last season and ranked 26th nationally in home attendance. During the 1997 season the Tigers went 13-2 at home and had the 28th-highest home attendance in the nation. Under head coach Jolene Jordan Hoover, the Tigers are 72-19 (.791) in Jervey Gym.

The Tigers open the home season with a six-match home stand beginning Sept. 7 versus Winthrop. The Big Orange Bash will be held Sept. 10-12, when Clemson plays host to Kentucky and Notre Dame.