Sept. 6, 2007
Providence, RI - After a tough 2006 season that culminated with an 8-18 record and a seventh-place finish in the Ivy League at 4-10, the Brown volleyball team is ready to rebound in 2007. Boasting improved depth and ball control, Head Coach Diane Short's squad is looking to easily top last year's mark and make some noise in the Ivy League.
Senior captain Katie Lapinski (Niles, IL), last season's first team All-Ivy League selection at libero, returns for her final season. An intense competitor, Lapinski was 21st in the country with 5.68 digs-per-game last season, a mark that was .75 digs-per-game higher than anyone else in the Ancient Eight. Her 528 digs, along with her digs-per-game average, were second-best All-Time at Brown. She currently sits 559 digs away from Brown's career record, an attainable mark, and will almost certainly move into at least second all-time.
Joining Lapinski on the back line as defensive specialists will be fellow seniors Rachel Lipman (San Diego, CA) and Lizzie Laundy (Evanston, IL). Lipman was fourth on the Bears with a 1.99 digs-per-game average last season, with Laundy right behind in fifth at 1.81 per game. Sophomore Kim Bundick (St. Charles, IL), who saw limited action last year, could also see some time on the back line.
Setting the offense up will be junior Natalie Meyers (Seal Beach, CA). Meyers was fourth in the Ivy League with 10.99 assists per game in her sophomore season, playing all but five of the Bears' games. She topped 50 assists eight times over the course of the season, also posting double-digit dig totals nine times. Backing her up will be sophomore Kate Jacobs (La Jolla, CA), who had nine assists in two games against then-No. 11 Wisconsin at the start of last season.
Up front, senior Julie Mandolini-Trummel (Crystal Lake, IL) returns in the middle, where she'll lead a trio of talented middle blockers that also features freshman Danielle Vaughan (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) and sophomore Ann Cowell (Santa Barbara, CA). After strong preseason performances, plans on giving all three extensive playing time. Mandolini-Trummel was a first team All-Ivy honoree in 2005, following that with a solid 2006 campaign. She led the Bears with a .259 attack percentage and 85 blocks last year. She started all 26 matches, and finished eighth in the League in attack percentage. Cowell played in 40 games last season, finishing fourth on the team in blocks-per-game. Vaughan will contend for a spot in the starting lineup as a freshman, as she joins the Bears after two All-Bay League seasons at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School.
On the outside, junior Lyndse Yess (Eugene, OR) headlines a young group. Yess had a breakout two-way season in 2006, catching fire in the last half of the schedule to the tune of 2.50 kills and 3.57 digs-per-game over Brown's final 44 games. She will play all the way around the rotation, as her 3.21 digs-per-game and 18 service aces were both second on the team last season. Freshman Megan Toman (Newport Beach, CA) will step right into the starting lineup at the other outside hitter position. Toman, who could also see time on the right side as well, was the captain at Newport Harbor High last season, and was named first team All-Sunset League as her team ranked among the top 50 in the country.
Sophomores Kiana Alzate (Del Mar, CA) and Moira Gallagher (Tulsa, OK) will also see plenty of playing time. Alzate, who can also play all the way around the rotation, played in 41 games before missing the last part of the season with an injury. She had a season high with 17 kills against North Dakota State, and also had double-digit digs in two matches. Gallagher had a breakout match of her own against Columbia, registering 16 kills and a .333 attack percentage for an injury-depleted Bears squad. Rounding out the outside hitters is freshman Annie Matusewicz (Dallas, TX), a former MVP at the Junior Olympic National Invitational Championship. Matusewicz will also be the team's emergency setter.
Junior Lillie Cohn (Seattle, WA) will see much of the playing time at right-side hitter. After averaging 1.07 kills-per-game in 27 games last year, she will be counted on to step up as a starter. Freshman Brianna Williamson (Cincinnati, OH), a member of two top-15 club teams at the national open tournament, will also compete for time on the right side. Sophomore Liz Mueller (San Francisco, CA) rounds out the right-side corps.
Brown opens the season with two road tournaments at Miami and Albany. After getting their feet wet, the Bears will host the annual Brown Invitational, with guests Stony Brook, Central Connecticut State, and Portland (OR). After the annual battle with Rhode Island for the unofficial state championship, Bruno jumps right into the Ivy League schedule, beginning and ending with matches against Yale on Sept. 29 and Nov. 13.