BOILING SPRINGS — Gardner-Webb volleyball will open its 2016 regular season on Friday in Charleston, South Carolina with two matches on the first day of the Bulldog Battle, hosted by The Citadel. The Runnin' Bulldogs will square off with Robert Morris at 3:00 pm, followed by a tilt against Morehead State at 7:00 pm.
Head coach Leo Sayles' squad has put in tremendous work this preseason and enter the regular season this weekend following two of its best practice sessions to date.
Gardner-Webb is expected to receive a significant boost from a stellar recruiting class heading into this season, led by junior college transfer Hannah Driscoll (Lake Mary, Fla.) and sophomore Tyra Long (Tampa, Fla.), who joined the Runnin' Bulldogs from Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State.
Seniors Taylor Lillard (Victorville, Calif.), Kacy O'Connor (Southport, N.C.) and Jene Lee (San Dimas, Calif.) return to provide veteran leadership to a well balanced squad, which looks primed to rebound from a difficult 2015 campaign. Kaelyn Dyson (Holly Springs, N.C.) is expected to build on an impressive sophomore campaign that saw her push her career total to 198 blocks with an even 100 stuffs.
Returning sophomores Emma Milstead (Knoxville, Tenn.), Amanda Sahm (Marion, Iowa), Tinsley Fain (Boiling Springs, S.C.) and Keira Moore (Spartanburg, S.C.) are likely to see a sizable increase in playing time following a few key departures, and combined with an extremely talented freshmen class, lend much hope to the future of the Gardner-Webb volleyball program.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will face a stiff challenge from the first serve this season, kicking off with the Bulldog Battle this weekend ahead of tournaments at Elon and South Carolina in September.
Gardner-Webb will open the weekend on Friday against Robert Morris at 3:00 pm and Morehead State at 7:00 pm, followed by a 1:00 pm matchup with host Citadel on Saturday.