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Emory volleyball begins quest for national championship
by Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
August 28, 2013 12:52 PM | 1395 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye<br>Sarah Taub gets to the ball before her teammate during practice.
Staff / Katherine Frye
Sarah Taub gets to the ball before her teammate during practice.
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Emory volleyball experienced an excellent 2012 campaign by winning 33 matches, its third University Athletic Association (UAA) conference championship in five seasons and produced two All-Americas, including current sophomore setter Sydney Miles. However, a defeat to Christopher Newport in the region finals of the NCAA Tournament prevented the Eagles from a trip to the Final Four and the pursuit of the second national championship in program history.

“We were disappointed losing in the region finals because our program’s expectation is to win a national championship,” said Jenny McDowell who has been the head coach of the Eagles for 18 seasons. “It’s good to get back on the court and start again.”

Emory, which is ranked eighth in the preseason polls, returns a strong group of core players including Miles, who ranked in the top 10 nationally in assists per set (10.74) as a freshman in 2012. The Eagles also have an elite combination of outside hitters, juniors Kate Bowman, who had the third-most kills on Emory with 295 last season, and Leah Jacobs to lead the attack. “Kate is one of the top athletes we’ve ever had at Emory and Leah is an outstanding hitter,” said McDowell.

The Eagles have also brought in one of the top-ranked freshman classes in the entire country led by two Georgia residents, Jessica Holler, who was a Maxpreps All-America and attended Blessed Trinity along with Lawrenceville’s Maggie Collins. “This is the first incoming class we’ve had with two Georgia players,” said McDowell.

On the court, preparations for the 2013 season have been in action since the spring. “Our season ended earlier than expected and we’ve been working hard though the summer in workouts and playing together,” said Jacobs.

The Georgia volleyball community has also embraced the Eagles as they host one of the top summer camps in the country with more than 1,000 players playing at the event. “The support has been incredible,” said McDowell. “We’ve tried to reach out to the DeKalb community with clinics and become as accessible as possible.”

Emory begins the season against St. Thomas (Minn.) on Aug. 30 but expects to end the season much later. “We’ve made the NCAA’s for 18 consecutive years and won the toughest conference in the nation last season and looking to do the same” said McDowell. “We expect to win a national championship every year,” said Jacobs. “If we don’t win one, we’re haven’t met our goals.”
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