CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – As preseason camp progresses for the Mocs volleyball team, the harder it is for Head Coach Travis Filar to fill six positions on the court. Not for lack of numbers or talent though, but for an excess of athleticism and depth for a spot that only puts two student-athletes on the floor at once – outside hitter.
“We have six outside hitters,” Filar said. “It is the position we have the greatest depth in, and that is exciting because there is never going to be a year where you only have two outside hitters who start and play every single match. That’s just not how college volleyball works. The fact that we have six student-athletes who are all very capable in scoring points, bettering the ball and getting big swings for us is great.”
Returners for the Mocs include 2012 Southern Conference All Freshman selection Briana Reid (Houston, Texas) and 2013 Puerto Rican National team member Julimar Alvarado (San Juan, Puerto Rico). The two sophomores sit atop the depth chart for Chattanooga and return after successful freshman campaigns.
“Briana and Julimar have great experience in the fact that they’ve been in our gym for an entire year and they have a lot of match experience.”
Reid returns after an outstanding rookie year in 2012, collecting 200 digs and totaling 234 kills in her first season. Reid went on a tear to close out the 2012 season with seven of her last nine matches resulting in double-doubles.
“Briana Reid had a phenomenal freshman season. She has really worked to be a six-rotation outside hitter. She became a go-to player midseason last year and we felt like we could not take her off the court.”
On nine occasions, Reid tallied double-digit digs while recording 10+ kills in 11 matches. She averaged 2.34 kills per set and 2.00 digs per set.
Alvarado looks to continue a successful first season with the Mocs after leading the team with 2.53 kills per set. The sophomore saw action in 27 matches and started 12 matches for Chattanooga.
“She is going to hit at a higher level this year and be able to score a lot of points,” Filar said. And her experience with the Puerto Rican National Team is going to really aid her this season.”
The 6-foot-2 hitter also totaled 11 blocks in 2012.
New additions to the Mocs roster include transfers Callie Hildebrand (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and Brianna Guzinski (Jacksonville, Fla.) as they bring experience to the position. Hildebrand, who player her high school career at Signal Mountain, transfers as a sophomore from Gardner-Webb and Guzinski transfers as a junior from Montevallo.
“Callie is coming in with experience and spent the spring with us in the gym. She is doing a nice job and is a steady player. She is really making in the gym for us, and Brianna was a two-year starter at Montevallo who wanted a little bit more of a competitive experience. She wanted to be somewhere she could make an impact and she has done that here already from an experience standpoint. She has played for two years and comes in with a really nice veteran presence. She can make the opponent work hard every point.”
The Mocs also added two freshmen at outside hitter with Allie Davenport (Tyrone, Ga.) and Emily Morrison (Atlanta, Ga.). Davenport stands at 5-foot-11 while Morrison is an even six feet. Davenport, coming from Sandy Creek High School, and Morrison, a graduate of St. Pius X Catholic in Atlanta, come to Chattanooga very familiar with each other as club teammates.
“Emily Morrison and Allie Davenport provide great depth and athleticism to that position. They are both going to compete for a spot and they come from a great club program. They have been teammates and they add so much depth to our team.”
The Mocs take to the court Aug. 30 in Atlanta, Ga., to take on the College of Charleston in its season opener at the Georgia Tech Invitational.