Volleyball Preview

By Kevin Russell, Sports Editor

August 18, 2012

After a disappointing 9-21 season a year ago, the women’s volleyball team looks to bounce back in a big way in 2012.

The Panthers return all but one starter and should be in a great position to get back to their second Big South Championship in three years.

Two key returning players for the Panthers this season will be Courtney Johnk and Maddie Simpson.  Johnk returns for her senior season and has been voted onto the preseason First Team All-Big South.

Simpson returns for her second season after red shirting for all of the 2011 season. As a freshman in 2010, Simpson was voted onto the Big South All-Freshman team, as well as the Big South All-Tournament team.

Fourth year head coach, Jason Oliver, has put together an extremely challenging schedule for his team and hopes it will prepare them well for the Big South Tournament.

“This schedule will really push our players to new mental heights,” said Oliver after the schedule was released on highpointpanthers.com. “However, it will still allow them [the players] to recover for the push towards a Big South Championship.”

The Panthers will begin their season on the road at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Courtyard Wilmington Beach Bash. This tournament will being on Aug. 24.

In total the Panthers will play in four tournaments this season, including the third annual HPU Classic, which will begin in the Millis Center on Sept.7.  Virginia Tech, Loyola Marymount University and George Mason University will all be participating in the two-day event.

Other notable opponents for the Panthers this season include, Wake Forest University, Auburn University, Elon University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which will make for a very exciting non-conference schedule.

The Panthers have been picked to finish fifth in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, but with the talent returning, Oliver and the Panthers will be expecting much more.