Stony Brook, N.Y. - Stony Brook University's volleyball team will begin their 2010 season this weekend as it travels to Minneapolis for the Golden Gopher Invite on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The Seawolves will open against Marquette on Friday at 6 p.m. EST. SBU will then play two matches on Saturday, taking on sixth-ranked Minnesota at 1:45 p.m. EST before closing the Invite against Denver at 4 p.m. EST. Live audio and video of the match against Minnesota can be found at www.goseawolves.org. Gametracker of all matches also can be found at www.goseawolves.org.
The Seawolves return seven letter-winners from last season including 2009 All-America East second team selection, senior middle blocker Ashley Headen (Alexandria, Va.) and 2009 America East All-Rookie selection, sophomore setter Corinne Perry (Northport, N.Y.). SBU also brings back senior libero Jeanette Gibbs (Port Jefferson, N.Y.), who reached double-digits in digs 22 times last season.
Headen led the team in blocks (92) and attack percentage (.328) last season. She also recorded the first double-double of her career against Hartford, registering ten blocks and ten kills. Perry dished out 756 total assists a season ago and her 8.22 assists/set ranked fifth in the conference. Her average improved to 9.83 in conference play as did her defense, ranking 19th overall with 1.97 digs/set.
Ranked sixth in the AVCA Top 25 preseason poll, the Golden Gophers finished 28-9 last season and advanced to their third Final Four since 2003. Minnesota is led by senior All-American Lauren Gibbemeyer, who set school records in single season blocks (181) and block assists (161) in 2009 in addition to recording the third highest single-season hitting percentage in program history (.385).
Marquette returns five starters from last year's 18-12 squad and was picked fourth in the Big East preseason poll. The Golden Eagles are led by two 2009 All-Big East second team selections, senior setter Nikki Klingsporn and junior outside hitter Ashley Beyer. Klingsporn finished last season with 1,235 assists, the seventh best single season mark in school history.
Denver finished 16-17 in 2009 after going 25-7 the previous season. The Pioneers welcome six newcomers to their squad and will be led by senior libero Kacie Wikierak, the 2007 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year.