Aug. 10, 2005
DAYTON, OH - The UD volleyball team begins its defense of the 2005 Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship Tuesday as the team began practice. Four starters and 11 letter-winners return from last year's NCAA Tournament squad, which finished 23-9 and successfully defended the 2004 A-10 crown. Eight newcomers join the team in 2005.
All-America selection Faye Barhorst will lead the Flyers toward their third-straight A-10 title. The four time A-10 Player of the Week was named to the All-Conference and All-Championship Teams last season. During the year, she was one of just two players from the A-10 to record 30 kills in a match She broke the NCAA record for single-match hitting percentage when she recorded an .800 mark at La Salle on October 9.
Head Coach Tim Horsmon, in his third year with UD, is a perfect 12-0 in conference tournament action in his career, and owns a .721 win percentage with the Flyers.
Recently, Horsmon sat down to discuss the upcoming season.
UD: The success of the 2004 Flyers proved that the 2003 season was not a fluke. Where does the program head from here?
Tim Horsmon: "The last two years were solid seasons and building blocks for our program. However this is only a stop, not a destination. Our vision is to be one of the elite programs in the country and be a regular in the NCAA Tournament past the second round. As a coaching staff, we have to continue to recruit and train at higher levels. Our last two recruiting classes have been nationally recognized. Each class from this point needs to be better than the last one. This will be the best indicator of how good our program will be. We will continue to recruit players who can help us win on the court while matching the ideals of UD, which is one of the Top 100 academic Universities in the country."
UD: UD will have another young team in 2005. How will the leadership of Nicole Schott and Faye Barhorst be depended upon?
TH: "We will really be looking at Nicole and Faye to step up into leadership roles. I think Nicole has always assumed some of this as a setter and she has a strong personality. Faye will have to lead both verbally and by example which will be a little different this year as opposed to last season. I think Nicole and Faye will be great in this role. It will be tough to replace Christy (Utnage) and Shanna (Pressler) but I have confidence in Nicole and Faye to take over our team on the court."
UD: Stopping Faye Barhorst will be the focus of many opponents' game plans. What do you expect from Faye in 2005?
TH: "Faye continues to improve and her best years are in front of her which could be a scary thought for opponents considering her first two years at UD. Faye worked really hard this summer and is really still learning the game. As her experience and strength grow, Faye's game will grow. If she continues to work and commit to volleyball, I believe she could become one of the most dominant players in the country."
UD: Last year's freshman class got a chance to grow up in a hurry. How do you avoid a sophomore slump in 2005?
TH: "I'm not sure that I believe in a sophomore slump, but we will continue to work hard regardless. Our players are a year older, stronger and more experienced. We have all but two players returning from a team that won 23 matches and the Conference Championship last season with an extremely strong recruiting class to bolster the talent level. Our staff and team believe we should be strong this season with great years in front of us."
UD: How will the freshmen class make an impact in 2005?
TH: "We are really excited about our incoming players. This is a really solid group that has great prep experience and has won at very high levels. We addressed some needs we had on the roster by bringing in strong, athletic kids that will continue to give us a chance to compete with the top teams in the country."
"Look for Bethany Akerhielm (6-4, MB) and Kortney Norris (6-2, OH) to push returning players right away as attackers and blockers. Chauntay Mickens (6-2, RS) has a huge upside, with a long reach and gives us a bit more size up front. Julie Richards (6-1, OH) and Mandy Robbe (6-0, OH) both are very technically sound and came from successful high school and club backgrounds. Shayla Warren (5-9, Jr., OH) is a very explosive athlete and gives us some maturity after playing for a strong junior college program over the past two years. Brittney Scheeringa (5-8, L/DS) anchors this group as a back row defender and will really help our passing and floor defense. Finally, we will get a talented setter in Lauren Markowski (5-9, RS So.) transferring from N.C. State who will push our team in practice."
UD: The Flyers will face a challenging schedule this fall. How does this year's schedule help UD prepare for a Championship run later in the season?
TH: "We have an extremely challenging schedule and I am looking forward to seeing how we perform against strong competition. We want to play the best teams in the country year in and year out and the 2005 schedule is the beginning of tough schedules every year. Our pre-conference schedule should really prepare us for a strong conference season with matches against national powers such as Florida and UC Santa Barbara as well as regionally ranked teams in Cincinnati and Purdue. The new A-10 scheduling format will definitely put a premium on wins in conference play and make a conference title more difficult. I believe our West Division boasts many of the best teams in the A-10 and will be extremely competitive."