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Aug. 8, 2006

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The University of Virginia volleyball team has been selected to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference according to the 2006 Preseason ACC Volleyball Poll, which is determined by a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches. In addition, fourth-year Emily Kirkwood (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and third-year Sarah Kirkwood (Tampa, Fla./Plant) have been named to the 18-member ACC Volleyball Preseason All-ACC Team.

The Cavaliers, who are under the direction of 12th-year head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton, received 127 points and three first-place votes for second place in the poll. Duke, which received eight first-place votes and 139 points, is the preseason favorite to win the ACC title in 2006. Georgia Tech garnered the final first-place vote in the poll and amassed 114 points for third place. North Carolina is fourth with 103 points and Maryland rounds out the top five with 98 points. Florida State is sixth with 83 points, while Miami is seventh with 73 and Clemson is eighth (66 points). Wake Forest (59 points), Virginia Tech (33 points), Boston College (24 points) and NC State (17 points) round out the poll.

Sarah Kirkwood, an outside hitter, was an AVCA honorable mention All-American in 2005. She was also a first-team AVCA All-East Region performer and garnered first-team All-ACC accolades. The team captain became the first ACC volleyball player to register 1,000 career kills as a sophomore. She tallied 531 kills last season and reached the 1,000-kill milestone against Miami on Nov. 12. Kirkwood is currently seventh on UVa’s career kills list with 1,085 and is the only UVa player with two 500-kill seasons (she had 554 as a freshman in 2004). She led all ACC players with 69 service aces and set the school record with nine aces against Appalachian State on Sept. 16. In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Kirkwood is also an academic All-American. She is a 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Volleyball Second Team pick, the first UVa player to earn national academic All-America honors.

Emily Kirkwood, a setter, earns an ACC award for the first time in her career. Kirkwood, who has started throughout her career, led UVa with 1,492 assists for an average of 12.64 per game in 2005. The two-time team captain is currently second on Virginia’s all-time assists list with 4,077. Kirkwood holds the school record for assists in a match with 81 against North Carolina on Nov. 8, 2003. In 2005, she tallied 47 service aces and is currently tied for fifth on UVa’s all-time service aces list with 128. Kirkwood is a two-time VaSID All-State First Team selection (2004 and 2005).

The Cavaliers, who finished the 2005 season with a 20-11 overall record and a 15-7 mark in the ACC, return seven starters and 11 letterwinners in 2006. Virginia opens its 2006 season by competing in the Comcast Lady Vol Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 25-26. UVa begins the tourney against host Tennessee on Aug. 25 and also plays Miami-Ohio and Centenary on Aug. 26.

2006 ACC VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLLSchool                Points   2005 Record1.  Duke (8)          139      24-82.  Virginia (3)      127      20-113.  Georgia Tech (1)  114      16-154.  North Carolina    103      23-105.  Maryland          98       28-56.  Florida State     83       13-177.  Miami             73       16-148.  Clemson           66       12-189.  Wake Forest       59       17-1410. Virginia Tech     33       13-1811. Boston College    24       9-2212. NC State          17       7-23


Player SchoolJeannette Abbott ClemsonAllison Anderson Boston CollegeAmy Beaver North CarolinaJade Brown MarylandCarrie DeMange DukeKatie Esbrook Virginia TechBeth Gillming MarylandAli Hausfeld DukeTalisha Kellogg Georgia TechEmily Kirkwood VirginiaSarah Kirkwood VirginiaNatalie Mullikin Wake ForestJill Robinson MiamiBrittany Ross ClemsonFrancheska Savage MiamiJenny Shull DukeUlrike Stegemann Georgia TechMakini Thompson Florida State

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