The University of Toledo women's volleyball program held its first practice of the 2012 season on Wednesday morning in Savage Arena. It was the first session of eight two-a-days over the next two weeks.
The Rockets return a veteran group of attackers in 2012 - senior Sondra Parys and juniors Dakota Harkins, Jordan Kielty, Lauren Rafdal and Becca Reidy - who have seen extensive action since arriving on campus as freshman.
"We've relied on this group of hitters a lot the last two seasons, and now I think they're ready to step up as leaders," Head Coach Greg Smith said. "They've gone through the battles together, and I think that experience is going to be huge for our program. They can push themselves and their teammates to go above and beyond what they've experienced so far."
That experience will be necessary to ease the transition to a new setter following the graduation of three-time All-MAC Second Team honoree Kassie Kadera. Junior Adria Pryor has the inside track at the position and will compete for the job with freshman Alex Hines. Pryor has played in just two matches in a Rocket uniform, one each as a freshman and sophomore.
"Adria is beginning to understand the position and what we want out of her," Smith said. "Alex will probably be one of the better athletes we'll have on our team, but she's going to be a freshman who needs to gain experience at the collegiate level."
Toledo opens its 2012 campaign when it travels to Columbus, OH to face Houston, Ohio State and Oregon as part of the Buckeyes' Sports Imports Classic on Friday-Saturday, Aug. 24-25. UT fans can get a sneak preview of the team at the Rockets' annual Blue-Gold Match on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7:00 p.m. in Savage Arena.