Team will be the emphasis as Tech volleyball begins preseason camp

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech volleyball coach John Blair begins his ninth season at TTU as the preseason volleyball camps begin Tuesday.

Blair, who led the Golden Eagle squad to its fourth straight appearance in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament last season, will emphasize the team aspects during camp as TTU welcomes in seven newcomers.

“We are going to emphasize being competitive early on,” Blair said. “These players we have coming in have a great set of skills and will have to fight for their positions.

“Normally our summer preseason practices are fundamentals-oriented,” he said. “This year our practices will be more team-oriented so we can get into a rhythm of one or two possible rotations.”

The preseason will begin with two-a-days that will include ball control and fundamentals in the morning session, and a team practice in the afternoon.

This will be the first season that Blair will not have a senior on his squad, as he welcomes back three juniors and five sophomores from a season ago.

 “This is my first recruiting year that I have not had a senior,” Blair said. “This will create an opportunity for our juniors to step up and lead, and hopefully it will carry over into their senior seasons.”

Junior Kelsey Gray, who was named to the Preseason all-OVC Team, finished last season with a team-leading 126 total blocks, and finished third on the team in kills with 270.

Blair also has a pair OVC all-Newcomer Team members returning in Allison May and Natalie Penrod. Last season, May led the Golden Eagles in digs with 535, while Penrod finished fourth on the team in kills with 268.

A competition for the starting setter position will take place as well, as junior Madison Comperry and sophomore Ashleigh Hancock will look to fill the gap left by Melanie Culp last year.

The Golden Eagles will have 17 days to prepare for their first non-conference tournament of the season as they take part in the Georgia Tech Invitational, beginning with Louisville, Aug. 26.