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Clemson Volleyball To Open 2001 Season At The Powerbar Invitational

Clemson Volleyball To Open 2001 Season At The Powerbar Invitational

Aug. 29, 2001

CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson Tiger volleyball team will open its 2001 campaign Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at the University of Colorado Powerbar Invitational. The Tigers will face an AVCA preseason-ranked opponent in Loyola Marymount, as well Colorado who received votes in the preseason list. Loyola Marymount is ranked 24th with 155 points, while Colorado is listed 28th with 108 points. Clemson will also play Oral Roberts, who received a berth in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. Under head coach Jolene Jordan Hoover, the Tigers are 6-2 in season openers and 3-2 in season openers at tournaments. Clemson’s only season opening losses in the last eight years were to BYU at the Shamrock Invitational in South Bend, IN, last season, and to Oregon at the University Park Classic at Fort Collins, CO, in 1995.

Scouting Colorado The Colorado Buffaloes return six starters from a 2000 squad that finished the season with an overall record of 17-12 and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Fifth-year head coach Pi’i Aiu’s Buffaloes are looking to return to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th consecutive year behind the play of All-Big 12 and all-district setter Elizabeth Gower as well as left side hitter Sonja Russell. Gower averaged 13.20 assists per game and was second on the team in digs with 288 defensive saves (2.72 dpg). Russell led the team in digs and kills with a 4.01 kills per game average (425 total) and 406 digs. This will be the first meeting between the Tigers and Buffaloes. Clemson is 1-1 all-time against Big 12 opponents. The Tigers defeated Texas A&M in 1999, but lost to Missouri in 1987.

Scouting Loyola Marymount The 24th-ranked Loyola Marymount Lions return four starters and eight letterwinners from a 2000 squad that posted a 20-9 overall record, and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Twelfth-year head coach Steve Stratos’ Lions are picked to finish second in the West Coast Conference after placing third in the league last season. Setter Nicole Oehlman and sophomore Tiana Newsome will help lead LMU this year. Oehlman was a 2000 AVCA All-Pacific Region honoree who was ranked 25th nationally in assists per game (13.41). Newsome was also nationally ranked (23rd) in blocks with 131, setting a new Lions freshman blocking record. Clemson and Loyola Marymount have never met on the volleyball court. However, the Tigers are 1-1 against West Coast Conference opponents. Clemson defeated San Francisco in 1990, but lost to Saint Mary’s the same year.

Scouting Oral Roberts The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles return five starters and eight letterwinners from a 2000 team that posted a 22-12 overall record and finished tied for first in the Mid-Continent Conference. Head coach Amy Farber Knowles, who is entering her fifth season, is hoping to see the Golden Eagles return to the NCAA Tournament behind the talent of sophomore outside hitter Patricia Menezes and sophomore setter Anna Moreno. Menezes averaged 5.51 kills per game with a .442 hitting percentage, while Moreno averaged 13.20 assists per game. This will be the first meeting between the Tigers and the Golden Eagles. Clemson is 1-0 against Mid-Continent opponents as the Tigers defeated Valparaiso in 1988.

Meet The Tiger Rookies The 2001 Tigers have five rookies that joined the team this season. Breezy Ambort, Lori Ashton, Leslie Finn, Sarah Gardner and Stephanie Haskell will compete for Clemson this fall. Ambort, a 5’10” setter from San Diego, CA, played for University City High School and the Sunwest Club. She led her high school team to the California Interscholastic Federation Division II Championship this year and was named to the All-CIF Division II first team as well as the All-CIF All-Divisions second team. As a senior, Ambort was an all-league first team selection and was named to the San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic first team. As a junior, Ambort was named the San Diego Union-Tribune Female Athlete of the Year for the San Diego section as a standout in volleyball, basketball and softball and was a member of the San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic Team in all three sports. In 1998, her sophomore year, Ambort broke the school record for saves and was named to the All-CIF Division II second team. Ashton, a 6-2 middle hitter, was a tri-sport athlete who was an all-county and all-conference honoree in volleyball and track. Ashton lettered in volleyball, basketball and track during her high school career. She was the 1999-2000 Maryland state champion in the long jump and was named to the SMAC first team in volleyball, the high jump and the long jump. Ashton was the 1999 All-County Player of the Year in volleyball and in track and was named Honorable Mention All-Met in those sports. Her McDonough High School volleyball team was ranked second in the metro area by the Washington Post and finished second in the state in 2000. Finn, a 5’11” outside hitter also from San Diego, CA, played for Scripps Ranch High School and the Sunwest Club. She was a member of the Division I all-league first team and was also selected to the All-CIF Division I first team. Finn was also named to the San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic first team and was a scholastic All-CIF selection in 1999. She was the Coca-Cola Golden Spike MVP and was named to the all-tournament team. Finn was the team captain in 1998 and 2000 and was selected as the most improved player in 1999. Gardner, a 5’2″ defensive specialist from Waldorf, MD, played for Maurice J. McDonough High School and Charles Co. club team. She helped lead her high school to a third place finish in the state, and the team won the county championships in 1997-2000. She was an all-county first-team selection in 1999 and 2000 as well as the team captain. Haskell, a 5’8″ setter from Simpsonville, SC, played for Mauldin High School and ClubSouth. She was named the MVP of the North All-Star Team as well as a CAWS all-star in 2000 after helping lead her team to the 2000 region Championship (20-0). Haskell received Region I-AAAA Player of the Year honors in 1998 and 2000, and was named all-region 1997-2000. She received Mauldin’s MVP honors three times (1998-2000) and was the best offensive player in 1997. Haskell is a member of Who’s Who Among American High School Students and is a member of the National Honor Society. She received an academic letter in 1998-2000 and was on the golden honor roll 1997-2000.

Beasley Back On The Court Outside hitter Ryane Beasley will also return to the court for the Tigers this year. Beasley, who will have four years of eligibility as a Tiger, received a medical redshirt due to stress fractures in her foot after playing in just seven games for Clemson last season. A Volleyball Magazine “Fab 50” selection, Beasley was also a Class of 2000 Volleyball Super 75 selection coming out of high school. She was a four-time all-conference honoree and helped lead her high school team to the conference title as a senior.

Clemson Record Holders Junior Jessi Betcher is Clemson’s all-time leader with an 12.93 assists per game average, and ranks fourth all-time with 2,729 assists. She tallied 1,431 assists as a freshman and accumulated 1,298 as a sophomore. Betcher, a native of Boulder, was the ACC Rookie-of-the-Year in 1999. Betcher was also selected as the AVCA District III Freshman of the Year. Senior Jodi Steffes is third among Clemson career leaders in defensive saves per game with a 3.04 digs per game average (1,040 total). Steffes has 1,037 career kills and is ninth on the all-time kills list, as well as sixth on the all-time kills per game list (3.03). Her .281 career hitting percentage places her seventh on the all-time list. Steffes is also lists tenth on the career attempts list with 2,654.

Steffes Looks To Become Clemson’s First Four-Time All-Region Honoree Senior Jodi Steffes will attempt to become the first Tiger to be selected to the all-region team for four years. As a freshman, Steffes was an all-district pick after being named the ACC Rookie-of-the-Year. She was also honored as a member of the all-district team in 1999 after helping the Tigers to a 31-3 overall record. In 2000, Steffes earned all-region and All-ACC honors after leading the team in kills, hitting percentage and digs.

Dallao Named To ACC All-Freshman Team Tiger sophomore Kiki Dallao was named to the ACC All-Freshman team in 2000 after finishing the season with 398 kills and 315 digs. Dallao ranked second on the team in kills and third in digs, as well as ranking fourth on the team in blocks (44). She tallied 15 double-doubles as a rookie and tallied over 20 kills in six matches.

Clemson Picked Seventh In The ACC Preseason Poll The Tigers were predicted to finish seventh for the upcoming 2001 ACC volleyball season, as determined by a vote of the league’s nine head coaches. Clemson received 31 votes while Georgia Tech was selected as the pre-season favorite with 80 of 81 possible points. North Carolina, which won the ACC Championship in 2000, was predicted to finish second with 67 points, and Duke was third in the poll with 54 points. Florida State and Wake Forest are tied for fourth with 51 points, Virginia is sixth (37 points) and the Tigers are seventh. Maryland and NC State round out the poll with 21 and 13 points, respectively.

2001 Pre-Season ACC Volleyball Poll School Pts. 2000 Record/Finish 1. Georgia Tech 80 25-8, 13-3 ACC/T1st 2. North Carolina 67 26-8, 13-3 ACC/T1st 3. Duke 54 21-13, 8-8 ACC/T5th 4. Florida State 51 21-11, 9-7 ACC/4th Wake Forest 51 21-9, 10-6 ACC/3rd 6. Virginia 37 16-15, 8-8 ACC/T5th 7. Clemson 31 13-18, 6-10 ACC/7th 8. Maryland 21 14-16, 4-12 ACC/8th 9. NC State 13 9-22, 1-15 ACC/9th

Clemson Head Coach Jolene Jordan Hoover Clemson’s Jolene Jordan Hoover is entering her ninth year as the Tigers’ head coach. Hoover is Clemson’s all-time winningest volleyball coach with a 187-81 (.698) overall record. She also holds the best winning percentage of any active coach in the ACC with an 81-41 record (.664). Hoover led the 1999 Tigers to the ACC regular season title, a berth in the NCAA Tournament, established Clemson’s longest winning streak (16 matches) and finished the season ranked 22nd with a 31-3 overall record. The 1994 ACC Coach-of-the-Year, Hoover coached Clemson’s and the ACC’s first All-American (Cindy Stern), and the Tigers have made five NCAA Tournament appearances. Clemson has had four ACC Rookie-of-the-Year selections in Hoover’s eight years, as well as 16 All-ACC honorees. Seven rookies have been named to the ACC All-Freshman team, and nine Tigers were members of the ACC All-Tournament team. Clemson has also had 16 AVCA All-District or All-Region honorees during Hoover’s tenure.