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Aug. 28, 2002


The University of Virginia volleyball team opens its 2002 season with a trip to Austin, Texas to compete in the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational Friday and Saturday, August 30-31. The Cavaliers will be tested from the onset of the season as their first two matches are against San Diego and Texas, both of which advanced to the 2001 NCAA Championship.

UVa, under the direction of eighth-year head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton, opens the 2002 season on Friday, August 30 with a 1:00 p.m. ET match against San Diego. The Cavaliers will then play host Texas at 8:00 p.m. Friday night. On Saturday, August 31, Virginia concludes play in the tournament with a 1:30 p.m. match against Texas-Pan American. Both San Diego (22-9) and Texas (17-14) won their first round NCAA Tournament matches in 2001, while Texas-Pan American (15-17) won its final nine matches of the season.

Virginia finished the 2001 season with a 9-18 overall record and a 3-13 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. UVa returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from the 2001 squad. Third-year middle Shannon Boyle (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline Academy) and third-year outside hitter Paige Davis (Austin, Texas/Westlake) finished the 2001 season second and third on the team in kills with 239 and 207, respectively. Boyle led the team with 79 blocks and a .282 hitting percentage. Second-year Lily Phillips (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) will lead the team from her setter position. Phillips dished out 493 assists as a first-year last season.

The 2002 season marks the introduction of the libero in collegiate volleyball. The libero is a designated back-row player, intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. Each team may designate one libero on the lineup sheet prior to each game. The libero, who must wear a uniform that contrasts with the color of her teammates’ uniform, is allowed to replace any player in the back row without counting as a substitution. However, the libero must be replaced by the player whom she replaced in that game. There is no limit to the number of libero replacements a team is allowed per game. The libero cannot serve, attack, block or set inside the attack line.

Third-year Whitney Ashcraft (Yorktown, Ind./Burris) will serve as the Cavaliers’ top libero. Ashcraft led UVa in digs last season with 200. Ashcraft and third-year rightside hitter Katie Synan (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) will serve as Virginia’s co-captains in 2002.

The Cavaliers open the home portion of their schedule on Tuesday, September 3 when they host in-state rival James Madison at 7:00 p.m. in University Hall.

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