VALDOSTA –– The Valdosta State volleyball team opened its 2019 August preseason camp Wednesday.
The Blazers, under second-year head coach Kaleigh Zoucha, will have two practices on Wednesday, two Thursday, two Friday and two Saturday, before an off day on Sunday and class begins Monday, Aug. 19. The Blazers will return to a single practice following classes beginning. Prior to the beginning of the 2019 season, VSU has 21 practices.
VSU, coming off a berth in the Gulf South Conference postseason tournament in 2018, return five letter-winners and four starters from last year’s squad. Returning is senior Kayla Widera who earned conference preseason all-league honors as she had an outstanding junior campaign. The Blazers were picked sixth in the preseason league poll announced earlier this month.
Widera, a Trinity, Fla., native, played in all 33 games with 32 starts. She had 221 kills for second on the team for a .234 average in 580 swings. Widera led the team in blocks with 112 and 34 solo blocks. She earned second team all-conference honors last season and earned GSC Academic All-Conference honors in 2018 and was a member of the GSC Academic Honor Roll. For her career, Widera has played in 77 matches with 60 starts and scored 587.5 points with 415 kills and a .227 attack average. She has 236 total blocks for her career and 55 solo rejections.
Also returning this season is junior setter Tammy Reyes Perez, who led the team in assists, finishing 48thnationally and second in the league with 1,173. She played in 123 sets last season to tie for the team-lead, while starting all 33 matches. She had seven double-doubles in 2018 to tie for the team-lead. For her career, she has played in 58 matches with 40 starts. She has 101 kills in 289 swings (.187) and has 1,321 assists for a 6.3 assists per set average.
Sophomore Jessie Mooney had a great freshman season last year as she played in all 33 matches with 24 starts. Mooney hit .163 for the season with 277 kills for second on the team. She finished second on the team in attacks with 865 and recorded 28 aces for third on the squad. The Trinity, Fla., native, had 231 digs for fifth on the team and posted 31 total blocks with three solo rejections. She was named GSC Player of the Week twice last season, while earning GSC Academic Honor Roll accolades.
Tyrone, Ga., native, Dariah Powell, also saw a lot of action last season as she enters her senior campaign in 2019. Powell played in 28 matches with 17 starts, while recording 105 kills in 368 swings (.166). She had 20 aces for fifth on the team and had a team-high 347 digs. For her career, Powell has played in 57 matches with 17 starts. She has 121 kills on 450 swings for a .149 attack average and 27 aces.
VSU kicks off the regular season, Sept. 5-7, 2019, at The Courtyard by Marriott/Terrace Hotel Classic in Tampa, Fla., with four matches, followed by the 2019 NSU Shark Invitational II Sept. 13-14, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The Blazers open the 2019 home slate Tues., Sept. 17, at 6 p.m., at The P.E. Complex against Albany State. The home schedule features nine regular season matches.
Check back with vstateblazers.com for information throughout the season on Blazer Volleyball and all 12 Blazer athletic teams. To purchase tickets for Blazer home events call 229-333-SEAT (7328) or check the Tickets tab at vstateblazers.com.