Volleyball officially starts 2010 season with first fall practice
Excitement is in the air for the JU volleyball program as new blood is the pulse that is pumping through Swisher Gymnasium as the Dolphins completed their first practice of the 2010 season on Monday.

Last season, the squad finished with a 19-9 mark to record the highest winning percentage (.679) and the lowest loss total in the Division I era. Adding the 2009 percentage to 2008 (.667), the program has now had its most successful back-to-back seasons since 1982 (.682) & 1983 (.795).

“I’ve been counting the days to get started,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We have a lot of new pieces this season and our first practice just fueled my excitement even more. I can’t wait to get back in the gym again and start watching this group grow.”

The Dolphins will return eight players from last season including senior outside hitter/middle blocker Brittany Lehman, senior outside hitter Aidan Yeager and senior setter Hannah Munneke. The returning core also includes junior outside hitter Kathryn Kane and junior libero Ashley August. Sophomore middle blocker Alison Loeppky and sophomore libero Nicole Teplitz will also add to the experienced depth of the squad.

Among the seven freshmen to join the squad will be outside hitters Niathia Cullen (Chana, Ill.), Jenell Larsen (Waupun, Wis.) and Taylor Nyquist (Colleyville, Texas), outside hitter/middle blocker Nadia Booker (Lakewood, Wash.) and Alyssa Robertson (Pompano Beach, Fla.), middle blocker Kylie Jacob (Fayetteville, Ga.) and setter Kendall Courtney (Houston, Texas).

Among the other new faces on the sidelines in 2010 will be assistant coaches Chuck Crawford and Christina Diaz. Crawford joins the squad after serving as a volunteer assistant at Georgia Tech while Diaz spent the 2009 season as an assistant coach at Radford.

JU will host its annual Alumni Game on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. in Swisher Gymnasium before opening the season at the Big Orange Bash in Clemson, S.C. on Aug. 27.