Story Courtesy of Akron Media Relations
AKRON, Ohio -- Fueled by a core group of seniors that are healthy and determined, the Akron volleyball team is back with a vengeance in 2012.
After an injury-plagued season steered them off course in 2011, the Zips and fifth-year head coach Ron Arenz have all the pieces in place to right the ship this year. Losing just one senior and adding four newcomers, Akron boasts just the right amount of veteran leadership and fresh talent to restore order and return to its winning ways.
Arenz has some key points to rely on within his system, as the Zips will count on their strength from the inside, out. Redshirt senior and All-MAC selection Tina Dimitrijevs will hold court in the middle this year, after suffering a shortened season due to injury in 2011.
Dimitrijevs’ return is an integral part to the Zips blocking efforts and counter-attack offense. Joining her at the net is fellow senior Paiton Twitty, who led the team last year with 85 total blocks.
Leading the charge from the outside will be seniors Chelsea Harvey and Janine Lawler. Harvey spent the majority of last season as a defensive specialist but will have the opportunity to come out swinging during her final campaign with the Zips.
Akron setter Morgan Kuhn is back for her senior season as well, looking to climb the ranks in the record books after jumping up to the seventh spot in program history with 2,047 career assists.
Shifting into the libero role last season, junior Jill Paluch will return to head up the defense, which is expected to be another strong weapon in the UA arsenal. Paluch finished three digs shy of leading the team last year with 317.
Akron is set to open the season on Friday, August 24, at the South Carolina Gamecock Invitational, where it will face UNC Asheville, East Tennessee State, Temple and host South Carolina over the course of the two-day tournament.
The Zips’ non-conference schedule is highlighted by two home tournaments on back-to-back weekends in September. Southeastern Louisiana, Quinnipiac and Montana State will visit James A. Rhodes Arena for the Akron Invitational, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, and SIU Edwardsville, Binghamton and Youngstown State will travel to Akron Sept. 7-8 for the Zips Invitational.