August 8, 2007
    Volleyball team begins fall practice
    The Notebook
    The Virginia Tech volleyball team opened its fall practice on Wednesday with a double session in the back practice gyms of Cassell Coliseum.

    After reporting to campus on Tuesday and going through team meetings, the 14-player roster hit the court at 9 a.m. today to begin preparations for the upcoming season. The Hokies would normally utilize the main floor of the Coliseum, but it is still a day or two away from being ready after being refinished late last week.

    The two-and-a-half-hour morning practice was mostly a game of six-on-six as the players got back into the flow of game and worked off the summer rust. In the afternoon, the team broke up into positions to work on individual skills, with the middle blockers and setters working on attack, and the outside hitters and liberos concentrating on serve receive. The second session ended with another round of game play, and overall, the coaching staff said they saw some good things.

    The Hokies put together a 17-14 record in 2006 to turn in their best season since 2002. Six newcomers will be added to the mix this season, although one - freshman walk-on Jess Emanuele - has already been lost for the season with a torn ACL suffered in the late summer. Two other freshmen, outside hitter Amy Wengrenovich and middle blocker Felicia Willoughby, are very athletic and should compete for playing time.

    Tech will also gain the services of three others this fall. Transfers Jill Gergen (So., Nebraska-Kearney) and Kristen Cunningham (Jr., Kentucky) are eligible to play after redshirting last year. Cunningham, a middle blocker, spent the entire season in Blacksburg last year, while Gergen, a defensive specialist, worked out with the team in the spring. Walk-on sophomore Gemma Donovan also practiced with the squad in the spring.

    The Hokies open the 2007 season Aug. 24-25 when they host the Hawthorn Suites Hokie Invitational at Cassell Coliseum. Tech will square off against William & Mary and VCU on the 24th, and Marshall on the 25th.

    For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_VBall).

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