BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell begins a new volleyball era on Friday at 4:30 p.m. when first-year head coach Greg Goral leads the Camels against Northern Arizona at the William & Mary Tribe Invitational. Two matches are on the slate for the Camels on Saturday vs. the host Tribe at 10 a.m. and against San Jose State at 5 p.m.
Head coach Greg Goral and senior middle blocker Lindsey Coats (Dunn, N.C.) set the stage for the season opener with a video interview that can be viewed at the top of the page.
Fans can follow the action from Williamsburg, Va., with links to live stats and subscription video available on the volleyball schedule page. In-game updates can be accessed by following @GoCamelsVB on Twitter.
The first home contest at Gore Arena/John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center is Sept. 6 with a pair of matches against N.C. Central and Indiana St. starting at 3 p.m. Georgetown faces the Camels on Saturday at 1 p.m. to conclude the Hampton Inn of Holly Springs Invitational.
2013 Volleyball Preview
THE GORAL FILE
Greg Goral was tabbed as the 12th head coach of the program in December 2012. He has instilled a foundation of discipline and hard work since his arrival. The 11-year coaching veteran came to Campbell following five seasons at Morehead State, where he helped turn the Eagles into an Ohio Valley Conference power.
Campbell enters the campaign with three upperclassmen that have played a vital part in helping coach Goral lay the foundation for his vision of the program. Seniors Lindsey Coats and Heather Wilson and redshirt junior Jessica Groen are poised to make an impact on the court, but have been instrumental in setting an example for the younger players on the team.
A pair of sophomores have been brought in by coach Goral to fill needs in the lineup. Mary Crema adds depth in the back row as a defensive specialist that has college experience, playing in 30 matches for Cincinnati a year ago. Alexis Hein is a 5-10 outside that redshirted last season at Arkansas-Little Rock, but delivered 119 kills for the Trojans in 2011.
Wilson, a three-year starter for the Camels, enters the campaign fifth in the program's all-time assists chart with 2,153. The Concord, N.C., native could move past Pam Hughes (1999-00) with 2,292 assists at the Tribe Invitational or Hampton Inn of Holly Springs Invitational. She additionally stands seventh all-time with 6.88 assists per set.
OPENING THE CAMPAIGN
Campbell has taken its past two season openers with a 3-2 win at East Carolina in 2012 and a sweep of N.C. Central in 2011. The Camels have posted an 8-19 all-time mark in the first game of the season. This is the second time that the Camels and Lumberjacks have faced off in the season opener with Northern Arizona taking the previous matchup, 3-0, on Sept. 1, 2000 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
SCOUTING NORTHERN ARIZONA
The Lumberjacks finished third in the Big Sky last season with a 24-7 overall and 15-5 league record. NAU also has a new head coach entering the campaign in Ken Murphy, who previous guided the UTEP Miners. Three hitters return from last year for the Lumberjacks led by Janae Vander Ploeg with 3.16 kills per set and followed by Sydney Kemper with 2.37 and Payton Bock with 2.30. Vander Ploeg also holds the team's top digs per set mark at 2.12 amongst returners. NAU has added six freshman entering the season.
SCOUTING WILLIAM & MARY
The Tribe finished the 2012 campaign at 13-14 overall and 5-7 in the Colonial Athletic Conference. The offense is powered by Paulette Grand Pre, who tallied 2.40 kills per set last year. Dessi Koleva made an impact as freshman with 2.24 kills and 2.41 digs per set to garner CAA Rookie of the Year honors. The defense was headed up by Devin Andrews-Lyssy with 2.75 digs per set. This is the second meeting between the two squads with the Tribe taking the two previous matchups by a 3-1 margin in 2010 and 2012.
SCOUTING SAN JOSE STATE
The Spartans are entering the Mountain West after registered a 14-16 overall and 9-9 Western Athletic Conference record. Mary Alice O'Reilly was the primary weapon for San Jose St. with 3.20 kills and 0.92 blocks per set, while proving to be an effective attacker with a .344 hitting pct. The team's setter Michaela Leonard returns after averaging 11.11 assists. A 3.81 digs per set average was compiled by Kiely Pieper to pace the back row. The meeting with the Spartans is the first for Campbell.