Aug 28, 2014
The accolades have rolled in throughout the preseason. Now it's time for the American University volleyball team to take those lofty rankings and perform on the court.
The 2014 edition of the Eagles volleyball team takes to the Bender Arena court on Friday when it plays host to Georgetown in the first day of the D.C. Volleyball Challenge.
AU and Georgetown will play at 7:30 p.m., with Howard and George Mason starting the doubleheader at 5 p.m.
The AU-Georgetown match will serve as American's annual Bender Blue Out, with students and fans from all over D.C. invited to try to set a new single-game attendance record.
The Eagles come into the match ranked 24th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) preseason poll. They also topped the voting as the preseason favorite in the Patriot League.
Senior setter Monika Smidova begins the year as the Patriot League's Preseason Player of the Year, coming off a season in which she helped the Eagles to a 34-3 overall record and the round-of-16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Smidova's sets will head to another pair of Preseason All-Patriot League Team members, as Kristyna Lindovska will patrol the outside and 6-foot-6 Kelly McCaddin will control the middle.
Senior libero Megan Rosburg led the Eagles in digs per set a year ago and is expected to open on the back line.
Georgetown was 10-19 a year ago and returns nearly everyone from last season's squad. Junior outside hitter Lauren Saar led the Hoyas with 3.08 kills per set last year, while senior Dani White averaged 2.76 kills per set and led the Hoyas with a 0.98 blocks per set average.
Howard was 21-11 overall and 8-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last season. Katherine Broussard was the offensive threat last year for the Bison, leading the team with 3.27 kills per set despite playing as a freshman. Senior setter Stephanie Shultis returns to run the offense.
George Mason has eight letterwinners back from a team that went 7-21 overall last season. Morghan Martin led the Patriots in kills (239) and points (279) last season.
The D.C. Volleyball Challenge continues on Saturday, when the Eagles head to Fairfax, Virginia, taking on Howard at 11 a.m., before facing host George Mason at 7 p.m.
Tickets for Friday's double header action are just $7 for adults and $5 for youth and can be purchased by clicking here. For group tickets and pricing, call (202) 885-TIXX.