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Blue Raider Volleyball Opens Season Friday

August 25, 2005 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee volleyball opens the 2005 season on Friday when the team hosts the Middle Tennessee Invitational August 26 and 27.

The Blue Raiders welcome University of Texas at El-Paso, Tennessee State, Alabama A&M and Western Carolina to the two-day tournament. The Blue Raiders, however, will not be playing Western Carolina in the tournament.

"We are really excited about opening up the season at home," said Head Coach Matt Peck. "After two weeks we are tired of practicing and scrimmaging each other, but it has been fun. In my 22 years coaching I have probably enjoyed this training camp the most."

The Blue Raiders play Alabama A&M at 12:30 p.m. on Friday and UTEP at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Middle Tennessee will face Tennessee State at 12:30 p.m.

Middle Tennessee returns five starters from last season in Andressa Lyra, Megan Sumrell, Alicia Lemau'u, Quanshell Scott and Lindsay Sisco. The team has a total of 11 players returning from last season, including redshirt players Megan Carter and Victoria Monasterolo. The Blue Raiders also welcome freshmen Ashley Asberry, Ashley Adams and junior college transfer Allison Mattox.

UTEP returns five starters, a libero and one additional letterwinner for the 2005 season, and lost just one starter and one letterwinner. The miners ended the 2004 season with a record of 10-15.

"UTEP returns a lot of players from last year," Peck said. "They aren't a very tall team, similar to us in some ways and play in a very strong conference."

Alabama A&M is the strongest team Middle Tennessee will face in the tournament. They won five consecutive SWAC conference titles and have made five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. The Bulldogs ended the 2004 season with an 11-0 conference mark while finishing 22-6 overall. Senior Alexandria Brazelton returns this season to lead Alabama A&M. The outside hitter was second in on the team in kills with 313 while registering 32 aces 192 digs.

"Alabama A&M has a lot of NCAA experience and has numerous conference championships," Peck said. "They know how to compete."

Tennessee State welcomes nine new players to the 2005 squad, including six junior college transfers, two four-year transfers and one high school signee. The Tigers finished the 2004 campaign 5-27, 2-14 in the Ohio Valley Conference under first year coach Kathy Roulhac. Senior Katrelle Armwood returns for her final year at TSU. She led the team in kills and aces tallying 266 and 29, respectively and was second on team in digs with 345.

Middle Tennessee closes out the weekend by traveling to Athens, Georgia to take on the University of Georgia on Sunday. The Lady Bulldogs ended the 2004 season with a record of 18-12. The two teams will be meeting for the first time since Georgia's inaugural season of 1978, when the Bulldogs earned a 2-0 victory.

"I know some would question us playing a match on Saturday afternoon and then getting on a bus to go to Georgia," Peck said. "However, it is a chance to play an SEC opponent and help gauge our progress the last two weeks."

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