|A new start for Eagles volleyball|
|Published Thursday, August 28, 2014|
The Nicki Holmes era begins this weekend.
Hired as N.C. Central’s new volleyball coach in April, Holmes replaced Georgette Crawford-Crooks whose contract was not renewed.
He takes over a NCCU team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007. The Eagles are predicted to finish next to last in the MEAC South, but Holmes is undeterred.
“We are in a great position to be really successful. The kids are not broken, they are really very talented,” he said.
Nine veterans return plus five newcomers.
Senior Da’sha Brown leads the returning class with 208 kills from last season. Joining her are sophomore Kelsey Murphy (158 kills) and senior Ashley McCarthy (152 kills, 210 digs).
Senior Alice Genna is the team leader in assists (404).
The recruiting class consists of true freshmen Anastaja Jones (Frisco, Texas), Gabrielle Leclerc (Narragansett, Rhode Island), Paige Phillips (Birmingham, Alabama) and Lauryn Martin (Round Rock, Texas), and junior college transfer Kelly Rossip (Port Charlotte, Florida.)
“All five kids are players we believe can immediately impact the team,” Holmes said. “We didn’t settle because I came in April with a month left in recruiting. We’re going to really focus on our serving game. If we can up-tempo our serve, everything else is a level playing field.”
The Eagles open their NCCU Invitational Friday against Campbell. Saturday’s doubleheader features Wofford College and Valparaiso.
After a disappointing 6-24 2012 season, the Falcons (above) rebounded to 10-19 last season and a CIAA tournament berth.
Coach Nikki Bynum Bumpass has another young team with just one senior, Chelsea Farrior, and two juniors.
St. Aug’s won the league championship in Bumpass’ first season at the helm and look to return to that winning formula.
“We will be young but talented,” Bumpass said. “If we jell at the right time, we have a chance to be a pretty good team.”
The Falcons, predicted to finish in fifth place, were No. 1 in the classroom. The team was recently honored for having the highest batting average in Division II at .366.
“This is definitely an honor,” Bumpass said. “My young ladies worked extremely hard this past seasons. Our motto is ‘Hard work will produce results.’ ”
The Falcons open the season Sept. 5 at Chowan.
The Bears have a new head coach. Dishondra Goree replaces Douglas Hunter who left for Mississippi Valley State. Shaw opens its season Sept. 11 at Morris College.
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