Volleyball Hosts JU Invitational to Open 2002 Campaign

Aug. 29, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville University volleyball team will open its 2002 season by hosting Eastern Michigan, Eastern Washington and Xavier in the JU Invitational Friday and Saturday at Swisher Gymnasium. Eastern Washington and Xavier each won their conference tournaments to advance to the NCAA Tournament last season. The tournament opens with Eastern Michigan facing Eastern Washington at 4 p.m. on Friday, followed by JU against Xavier at 7 p.m.

The Dolphins, who finished tied for fifth in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season and have been picked to finish fourth in this year's preseason coaches' poll, return two of their main threats in senior middle hitter Brooke Ahrens (Benson, Ill.), who led the team with 303 kills in 2001, and junior outside hitter Radka Dimitrova (Sofia, Bulgaria), who was second on the team with 290 kills.

Xavier returns three starters from last year's team, which went 26-5 a year ago and won the Atlantic 10 championship and was picked to finish fourth in this year's A-10 preseason poll. Eastern Michigan finished last season with a 19-10 record and has been projected to finish first in the Metro Athletic Conference West Division. Eastern Washington received seven votes in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll and is favored to win the Big Sky Conference championship. The Eagles finished 21-6 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a victory over Oregon State before being eliminated by No. 9 Hawaii.

The JU Invitational concludes Saturday with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 30
Eastern Michigan vs. Eastern Washington, 4 p.m.
Xavier at JU, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 31
Eastern Michigan vs. Xavier, 10 a.m.
Eastern Washington at JU, 12 p.m.
Eastern Washington vs. Xavier, 6 p.m.
Eastern Michigan at JU, 8 p.m.