Colby volleyball set to open 2006 season

Contact: Bill Sodoma
Date: September 7, 2006

WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College volleyball team loses four key seniors from last year's NCAA Division III Tournament team. The good news is that the Mules return some impact players for 12th-year head coach Candice Parent.

Colby finished with a 37-4 record, made the NCAA tourney for the first time, won the NCAA New England Regional, captured the New England Small College Athletic Conference Tournament and regular season titles, and ended the year ranked 19th in Division III.

The Mules, who begin the year ranked 22nd in the preseason national poll by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, open the 2006 season Friday at 8 p.m. against Gordon College in the Colby Invitational. Colby also faces Rhode Island College at 9 a.m. Saturday and later that day plays University of Maine at Farmington at 3 p.m. The Mules have won the last three Colby Invitational titles and have not surrendered a game in the three tourneys.

Kendall Kirby (Piedmont, Calif.), the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, and setter Jenny Lawrence (Lafayette, Calif.) both return for the Mules. Kirby, a tri-captain this year, set a single-season Colby record and led the conference in defensive digs with 764. Kirby also led the NESCAC in service aces with 118. Lawrence set a single-season Colby record for assists (1,473), while ranking second to Kirby in service aces (108).

The Mules will be a shorter team after losing Cait Cleaver, Kaitlin Adams, Megan Devlin, and Mariah Daly from last year's team. The four players combined for 1,655 of Colby's 1,966 kills last year. Cleaver returns to the team this year as a volunteer assistant coach.

Sophomore middle blocker Meredith Lawler (Lynnfield, Mass.) was fifth last year in kills (108) and was third on the team in blocks per game (0.63). Senior tri-captain Julie Hike (Falmouth, Mass.) added 103 kills and finished with 61 blocks. Junior outside hitter Jessie Prentice (New York, N.Y.) will see more time in 2006 after playing behind Colby's seniors last year. The Mules added 6-foot-1 first-year middle blocker Larissa Levine (Potomac, Md.).

Junior setter Cassie Sancartier (Haverhill, Mass.) had 288 digs and 105 assists last year. Meanwhile, senior tri-captain Jennifer Murphy (Newtown, Conn.) returns to the team after studying abroad last fall. Sophomore Carlie Minichino (Stratford, Conn.) and first-year setter/libero Kory Darlington (Paradise, Calif.) will see playing time as well.

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