WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita State University volleyball team is scheduled to open its 2019 season with a trio of matches in the Penn State Classic Aug. 30-31 at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa.
The Shockers will face Holy Cross in their regular season opener Friday, Aug. 30, at 4 p.m. CT (5 p.m. ET), before taking on Hofstra and No. 8 Penn State Saturday, Aug. 31, at noon and 7 p.m. CT (1 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET).
On the Web
All three of Wichita State’s matches this weekend will be on the internet at GoShockers.com/listen with “The Voice of the Shockers” Mike Kennedy calling the action.
• WSU is 21-20-2 in season openers and 12-7 under Chris Lamb
• Head Coach Chris Lamb is in his 20th season with the Shockers
• WSU returns two starters from last season in junior middle blocker Emma Wright and sophomore outside hitter Megan Taflinger. Junior libero Giorgia Civita also returns, but will miss the 2019 season due to injury.
• The Shockers welcome 11 newcomers this season, including eight freshmen and three transfers.
• Wichita State has never played at Penn State.
• The Shockers are picked seventh in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll.
• Wichita State is scheduled to face six teams that are ranked in the AVCA Preseason Top-25 Poll, including four in the top-10 (No. 2 Nebraska, No. 4 Texas, No. 8 Penn State, No. 9 BYU, No. 18 Creighton, No. 23 Cal Poly).
• WSU led The American and ranked 18th in the country in overall attendance last season, averaging 2,177 fans over their 10 home matches. The Shockers have been ranked in the top-25 for attendance for 14 straight seasons.
• WSU has won four conference tournament titles (2004, 2013, 2015, 2016).
• The Shockers have won seven conference regular-season championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017).
• Giorgia Civita was named The American Libero of the Year last season. She was also voted first team all-conference and AVCA Honorable Mention All-Region.
The Shockers are 1-0 all-time against the three teams:
Holy Cross – 0-0
Hofstra – 1-0
Penn State – 0-0
About Holy Cross
The Holy Cross Crusaders posted an overall record of 8-21 and went 7-9 in Patriot League competition in 2018…Holy Cross was picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League preseason poll…Key returners for the Crusaders include junior outside hitter Katie Kerins (243 kills, .218 attack pct., 29 aces, 12 solo blocks, 59 block assists), junior setter Kathleen Philo (536 assists, 22 aces, 158 digs), junior libero/DS Sophie VanSeveren (301 digs) and sophomore outside hitter Regan Wright (55 aces)…Holy Cross is under the direction of first season head coach Kathleen Colpoys.
The Hofstra Pride compiled an overall mark of 25-8 and won the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship with a conference record of 13-3 last season…The Pride were voted second in the CAA preseason poll…Key returners for Hofstra include senior outside hitter Laura Musciullo (466 kills, .289 attack pct., 98 digs, 2 solo blocks, 66 block assists), who was named the CAA Preseason Player of the Year, and senior setter Luisa Sydlik (1,468 assists, 11.65 assists/set, 41 aces, 308 digs, 46 block assists), who was named to the All-CAA Preseason Team…The Pride are under the leadership of reigning CAA Coach of the Year Emily Mansur (sixth season).
About Penn State
The Penn State Nittany Lions posted an overall record of 26-8 and went 14-6 in the Big Ten in 2018…Penn State advanced to the NCAA tournament Palo Alto Regional, hosted by top-ranked Stanford, before falling to the host Cardinal, 3-1, ending its 2018 campaign…The Nittany Lions were picked fourth in the Big Ten preseason poll, and are ranked eighth in the AVCA Preseason Top-25…Key returners for Penn State this season include three Preseason All-Big Ten Volleyball Team selections in sophomore right-side hitter Jonni Parker (330 kills, .261 attack pct., 24 aces, 195 digs, two solo blocks, 81 block assists), sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord (210 kills, .387 attack pct., seven solo blocks, 112 block assists) and senior defensive specialist Kendall White (531 digs)…White and Parker were both AVCA All-American selections last season, while Hord was an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American…Penn State is under the direction of 40th season head coach Russ Rose.
Last Meeting vs. Hofstra
Wichita State and Hofstra have only met once, all-time — a 3-0 WSU triumph in Springfield, Mo., back in 1998.
Wichita State returns just two starters in 2019 in junior middle blocker Emma Wright and sophomore outside hitter Megan Taflinger. WSU has 11 newcomers this season, including freshmen Skylar Goering(outside hitter), Kayce Litzau (setter), Nicole Anderson (outside hitter), Arianna Arjomand (libero/DS), Sina Uluave (outside hitter), Sophia Rohling (opposite), Shea Lauria (libero/DS) and Lily Liekweg (libero/DS), and transfers Lexi Hogan (outside hitter), McKayla Wuensch (setter) and Damadj Johnson (middle blocker).
Junior libero Giorgia Civita returns to the team in 2019. Civita is from Milan, Italy and is just the seventh international player to play for the Shockers. Others include Kim Henry (1989-92) from Canada, Swee Ng (1992) from Malaysia, Marsha Van Cedar (1994-95) from Canada, Tomoko Matsuda (1996) from Japan, Lucia Zhanje (2000) from Zimbabwe and Shimen Fayad (2014-15) from Canada. One other international player was on the roster in 1992, but never played in a match (Tamie Bearup, Italy).
Lamb Returns for 20th Season
Head coach Chris Lamb, five-time conference Coach of the Year and 2017 National Coach of the Year, returns for his 20th season after guiding the Shockers to at least 20 wins in 15 of the last 16 seasons. In 2011, he became the winningest coach in Shocker volleyball history and in 2017 he won his 400th career match.
Practice Schedule (*schedule subject to change)
The Shockers will practice in the Aetna Multi-Purpose Center Tuesday-Thursday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. On the day before a home match, the team will practice on Devlin Court.
The Chris Lamb Radio Show (*schedule subject to change)
The Chris Lamb Radio Show will take place Monday’s throughout the season live from AJ’s Sports Grill at The Alley in Wichita. The show will air on 97.5 FM and 1240 AM KFH radio. Mike Kennedy will host the show. A full show schedule is available at GoShockers.com.
Wichita State advanced to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, qualifying for the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC). WSU finished the 2018 season with a 14-18 overall record and went 8-10 in American Athletic Conference play. The Shockers played the fourth-toughest schedule in all of NCAA Division I volleyball, including five matches against AVCA Top-25 opponents. Sophomore liberoGiorgia Civita was voted American Libero of the Year, first team all-conference and AVCA Honorable Mention All-Region. A native of Milan, Italy, Civita rewrote the Wichita State volleyball record books in 2018, compiling single-season records for both digs (728) and digs per set (5.78).