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Aug. 3, 2005

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The University of Virginia volleyball team has been selected to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference according to the 2005 Preseason ACC Volleyball Poll, which is determined by a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches. In addition, second-years Sarah Kirkwood (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and Melissa Caldwell (Houston, Texas/Stratford) have been named to the 18-member ACC Volleyball Preseason All-ACC Team.

The Cavaliers, who are under the direction of 11th-year head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton, received 108 points and one first-place vote for third place in the poll. Duke, which received eight first-place votes and 136 points, edged Georgia Tech for first place in the poll. The Yellow Jackets garnered the remaining three first-place votes and totaled 124 points. Virginia is third with 108 points, while Miami is fourth with 100 points. Florida State is one point behind in fifth place (99) and North Carolina was right behind in sixth with 96 points. Maryland is seventh with 72 points and Clemson is eighth (69 points). Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are tied for ninth (41 points), followed by newcomer Boston College (33) and NC State (17).

“We’re honored that the ACC head coaches think so much of our team as to vote us third in the preseason poll. But we are very aware that preseason rankings mean nothing in reality… the thing that matters is where we stand when the season is over,” said Shelton.

“We have an exciting season ahead of us and cannot wait to get started on Wednesday (August 10).”

Kirkwood, an outside hitter, was the first Cavalier to be named ACC Freshman of the Year when she garnered the award in 2004. In addition, Kirkwood was a second-team All-ACC selection and was also named to the ACC All-Freshmen team. She went on the earn AVCA All-East Region honorable mention accolades and was selected as the 2004 VaSID Volleyball Player of the Year. Kirkwood ranked among the ACC leaders with 554 kills for 4.95 per game while hitting .264. She ranked 26th among all Division I players with her 4.95 kills per game. Her 554 kills are second on UVa’s single season kills list and she set a school record with 1,419 attack attempts. Kirkwood was second on the team with 40 service aces and third with 270 digs.

Caldwell, a libero, was one of two defensive specialists named to the Preseason All-ACC Team. Caldwell, a 2004 VaSID All-State pick, tallied 611 digs in 2004 for an average of 5.46 per game to rank 26th in the nation. She set a school record with her 5.46 digs per game and also led all Division I freshmen in that category. Her 611 digs are the third highest single season total in school history. Caldwell reached double digits in digs in 27 of 30 matches and led the team in digs 25 times. She was also third on the team with 35 service aces.

“I’m happy for Sarah and Melissa that they’ve been recognized by the conference as two of the top players to watch. Both were instrumental in our success last fall and I’m anticipating they will once again be huge factors for us this season,” said Shelton.

The Cavaliers, who finished the 2004 season with a 19-11 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the ACC, return six starters and 10 letterwinners in 2005. Virginia opens its 2005 season by competing in the McDonald’s Texas A&M Invitational September 2-3. UVa begins the tourney against Lehigh on September 2 and then plays St. Mary’s (Calif.) and Texas A&M on September 3.

2005 ACC VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLLSchool	            Points	 2004 Record1.  Duke	      136	    20-102.  Georgia Tech      124           27-73.  Virginia	      108	    19-114.  Miami	      100	    17-95.  Florida State      99	    18-116.  North Carolina     96	    19-157.  Maryland	       72           18-158.  Clemson	       69	    20-149.  Virginia Tech      41	    13-16    Wake Forest	       41	    13-1711. Boston College     33	    20-1212. NC State	       17	    10-21
2005 ACC VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON ALL-ACC TEAMPlayer	            SchoolAmy Beaver	    North CarolinaMelissa Caldwell    Virginia Carrie DeMange	    DukeKatie Esbrook	    Virginia TechAli Hausfeld	    DukeTealle Hunkus	    DukeKarla Johnson	    MiamiSarah Kirkwood	    VirginiaLindsey Laband	    Georgia TechMelissa Markowski   Virginia TechDani Nyenhuis	    North CarolinaJennifer Randall    Georgia TechBrittany Ross	    ClemsonKristen Rust	    Florida StateAndreza Santos	    Florida StateStephanie Smith	    MarylandUlrike Stegemann    Georgia TechRachel Wagener	    Maryland
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