Volleyball Kicks Off 2004 Season
CHICAGO-  The DePaul Blue Demon volleyball team kicked off  its 2004 season with their first practice, Wednesday morning at the DePaul Athletic Center.  The Blue Demons have set high expectations for the season that returns 10 letterwinners from last season roster, including four starters. 


DePaul’s young roster, including eight underclassmen, two juniors and three seniors, have grown-up on the court over the last couple of years and have been mentored and trained by head coach, Dawn Dockstader, who is in her eighth season at the helm of the program. 


“We have gone through some growing pains over the past two years, rebuilding after our Conference USA Tournament championship in 2001,” Dockstader said.  “The seniors, Amy Holmes, Janet Goreham and Amie West, have learned from both the ups and downs of the past three years. They have shown great character and resiliency and continue to lead by example.


“This team has worked incredibly hard during the off season and I expect it to pay off,” Dockstader added. “In addition to strength and still development we worked very hard on developing team chemistry.  I am very pleased with how the team has come together in all aspects. I look forward to once again competing for the C-USA regular season title and Tournament Championship.”  


The 2004 Schedule
The Blue Demons will be on the road more than usual in 2004. They will open at home against Chicago State on September 1st and will leave the following day for North Carolina to compete in the Davidson Invitational.  The team’s trip to North Carolina will be its first tournament outside of the Midwest region in Dockstader’s tenure. DePaul takes on Florida Atlantic, Virginia Commonwealth and host Davidson September 3-4.


DePaul will return home to take on Chicago’s best volleyball teams in, Loyola-Chicago, Illinois-Chicago and Northwestern at the Chicagoland Classic hosted by Loyola-Chicago. 

Two other tournaments are on the 2004 slate including the Blue Demon Invitational. The tournament brings in-state rivals Western and Eastern Illinois, Xavier, and Birmingham Southern.  Nine matches will be played over the two-day tournament September 17-18 at the DePaul Athletic Center.


DePaul is poised to face off against future BIG EAST conference opponent St. John’s at the IPFW Invitational on September 24th.


DePaul will host 2003 NCAA Tournament teams Louisville and Cincinnati in the opening weekend of C-USA play October 1-2.  Other home conference matches include TCU, Houston, Southern Miss and Tulane. All home matches are played at the DePaul Athletic Center. The Blue Demons travel to conference opponents Marquette, UAB, USF, Saint Louis, Memphis, East Carolina and Charlotte. 


By Position
Middle Blockers
Senior Janet Goreham will lead the pack of young middle blockers: sophomores Deane Gibson and Ellen Hayes and freshman Stacy Pando.  “I look for our middles to be very quick and physical.  All four of the middles are very versatile and can hit from all three positions in the front row,” Dockstader said.


“I am really expecting a lot out of Janet this year.  She is one of the strongest and fittest athletes on the team and because of her blocking and transition skills I expect her to be our ‘go to player’. Janet is a tireless worker who pays attention to detail, and rises to any challenge,” Dockstader said. Goreham finished the 2003 season with a .297 hitting percentage and as the 10th-best hitter in C-USA.  She also notched 112 total blocks.


Hayes will return to the middle position after spending her red shirt freshman year as the team’s libero.  “This season Ellen will return to the front row where she belongs.” Dockstader said.  She is the definition of a ‘team player’ and will provide leadership on and off the court,”


Gibson and Pando will also compete for time in the middle. 


Outside Hitters
The veteran three some of Mandy Moorbeg, Morgan Ingersoll and Tara Pulaski will patrol the outside this season.  “I expect the outsides to be as strong as I have seen in my tenure at DePaul,” Dockstader said. “These women will provide us with great ball control, strong defense and the ability to terminate the ball.”


 “Mandy is a multi-dimensional player who can hit from anywhere on the floor.  She works the ball better than anyone that I have ever coached,” Dockstader said.  “She has the ability to take over a match.  We will need her to consistently put up big numbers.” 

Last season, Moorberg led the team in total kills, landing 393 balls on the wood and defensively averaged 2.58 digs per game.


Ingersoll and Pulaski will vie for Janet Cotter’s vacated starting position.  Ingersoll saw limited time on the floor last year, will challenge for a starting role.  “Morgan has an incredibly high reach which makes her very hard to defend,” Dockstader said.  “I look for her to be a major contributor this season.


Pulaski, a junior, should have an impact on the offense as well this season.  “In addition to her hitting, Tara has one the toughest jump severs on the team and could prove to be a real offense threat,” Dockstader added. 


Right Sides
Amy Holmes returns to anchor the right side this season.  Holmes, at 5’9’,’ averaged 1.56 kills per game and led the Blue Demons with
367 digs. 


“Our strength on the right side will be our versatility.  We will have various attacking and blocking options,” Dockstader said. 


Red shirt freshman Aly Zavitz will also compete for time on the right side.


For the first time since 2001 the Blue Demons will have a pair of true setters available.  West, a senior, returns to power the offense and will teach newcomer Mandi Caputo the Blue Demon system.  “I am excited to have a senior setter and Amie brings a wealth of knowledge, maturity and experience to the position.  She will be an excellent mentor to Mandi, who is our future setter,” Dockstader said.


“Amie is poised and ready to orchestrate our offense at a high level.  Her strength is her ability to run the middle out of system.  Amie had an incredible spring and I look for her to take her game to an even higher level,” Dockstader said. 


“In addition to her setting skills, Mandi is a fierce competitor.  She has excellent hands and her ability to read and play defense should allow her the opportunity to gain valuable court experience as a freshman.”


Defensive Specialist/Libero
Sophomore Jamie Klosterman returns and will compete for time at the libero position and as a defensive specialist.  “Jamie’s intangibles are what make her a special player.  Her attention to detail and unselfish attitude sets the tone in practice,” Dockstader said.     


For the first time the Blue Demons have a true “libero” on the roster in freshman Maureen Zigliuch.  “We are excited to work with Maureen and look forward to getting her to a point where she touches the ball on every play,” Dockstader said. 



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