Aug 28, 2013
RENO, Nev. - The University of Nevada volleyball team opens its 2013 season on Friday, taking on the New Mexico State Aggies at noon in Berkeley, Calif. The match will be the first of the Cal Molten Classic, hosted by the Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion.
Nevada finished the 2012 season eighth in the Mountain west and 4-25 overall. The Wolf Pack, under the direction of coach Ruth Lawanson for the third season, will bring eight newcomers over the hill this weekend. Tessa Lea'ea returns to the middle after an all-conference performance a year ago. The junior will again pace the Pack up the middle.
Seniors Grace Anxo and Dana Holt look to conclude their Pack careers on a high note, and will likely take the court in a starting role on Friday. Sophomore Kara Kasser, who had the most digs last season among any returning player, will see her role increase in the back row this year.
The Aggies were picked to finish first in the Western Athletic Conference in 2013 and went 22-11 last season, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament after winning the WAC Tournament. Middle blocker Desiree Scott and outside hitter Lauren Loerch each were named to the Preseason All-WAC Team.
Nevada will meet the host Bears at 7 p.m. on Friday and conclude the event with a tilt against UCSB at noon on Saturday.
Cal returns four starters from last year's team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 11th consecutive season. Leading the way is Adrienne Gehan, the Bears' leading attacker last season who was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Team. This weekend's host also returns starting setter Joan Caloiaro, who ranked fourth in the Pac-12 last season with 10.40 assists per set.
UCSB was chosen to finish in sixth place in the Big West preseason poll. UCSB went 16-17 last season (9-9, Big West). The Gauchos feature new head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch, who replaced Kathy Gregory after 38 seasons in Santa Barbara.