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From Coach Sheffield:


Friends, Family, and Alumni of UAlbany Volleyball:




The 2006 volleyball season kicked off this past weekend in West Lafayette, Indiana. On Thursday night all four teams were treated to a great banquet by the Purdue booster club. It was a great way to start off the tournament. On Friday, we opened against a very big and experienced Northern Iowa squad. Although we came out and won Game 1 (30-27, 23-30, 19-30, 21-30), we had a tough time relaxing and getting comfortable throughout the match. This is a very competitive group we've got here, and we had difficulties, throughout the match, mentally moving past errors. Freshman, Whitney Johnson (Prince Fredrick, MD) started her career as a Great Dane with 7 kills, 4 blocks, and a .267 hitting percentage.




On Saturday morning we played 16th ranked Purdue - a very deep and talented team. The first game was back-and-forth the whole way. We had a tough call go against us at 29-29 and the Boiler's closed it out from there 31-29. Scores of the other two games were 30-18, and 30-19. Although the scores might not be indicative, I was much more pleased with our play in this match. We passed better as a team and found ourselves in some great rallies. We found out that our ball control and blocking need to get better to compete at this level.




Our last match was against Bradley. We came out very strong in Game 1, only to let up and let them sneak out the win (28-30). Game 2 was very similar to the first, just without the hiccup at the end, and it allowed us to win (30-20). Game 3 and 4 were very close games with Bradley winning each 30-28 and 31-29. We played some fantastic points at times, but unfortunately we were not able to make the necessary adjustments to what they were trying to do as we went along. Junior Ashley 'Bama' Crenshaw (Birmingham, AL) had a career high 22 kills to go along with a .474 hitting percentage and Senior Ashley DeNeal did it all for us with 15 kills, 11 digs, and tremendous passing. For her efforts, DeNeal made the all-tournament team. This is what 'Bama' Crenshaw had to say about the weekend: "This weekend we were matched up against some really good teams.....in a VERY EXCITING atmosphere. Each of them brought on a different challenge for us. Although we didn't win, we made several improvements as the weekend went on. We were also shown some of our weaknesses and things that we need to improve on. I think if we can fix those, we have the ability to become a great team!"




If you are in the Long Island area this weekend, we'd love to have your support. We play at Hofstra and open the tournament on Friday at 5:00 against Fairfield. On Saturday we play Seton Hall at 9:30 AM and Hofstra at 5:30. Hope to see you there!







Kelly Sheffield

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