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TTU volleyball team making strides one week into camp

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- One thing the Tennessee Tech volleyball team can say after a week’s worth of training camp is that there has been great improvement. The returnees and the newcomers are quickly finding their groove for the upcoming season.

“Overall we’ve been making progress every day,” head coach John Blair said. “There’s a few nicks and scrapes but there are some great prospects for this team.”

Blair’s team features eight returnees from last year’s squad and a total of seven newcomers who round off the 2011 roster. Despite their youth, the Golden Eagles have been a quick study as several of the returnees can attest to.

“The freshmen have fit in really well and have brought a lot of energy,” sophomore Allison May said. “They’re going really hard all of the time and have given us a lot to look forward to this season.”

“The upperclassmen have really stepped up and helped us out,” freshman Courtney Smith said. “We’ve been catching on pretty quick and hopefully we can get to the level so we can compete for an OVC Championship.”

The Golden Eagles recently finished their first inter-squad scrimmage Thursday and their energy was pushed to the limit as they played five competitive sets. Several players stood out during the scrimmage including freshman Ellen Conti and sophomore Natalie Penrod who led their team in kills with 26 and 22, respectively.

May, who led the team in digs last season, posted 25 digs on her side, while Smith tallied 20 digs on her side.

Tech begins its 2011 season Aug. 26, as it takes part in the Georgia Tech Invitational.