Herd Volleyball to Open 2014 Season with Thunder Invitational

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-- Marshall volleyball will open its 2014 season by hosting the annual Thunder Invitational at the Cam Henderson Center beginning Friday, Aug. 29.

The tournament also will feature teams from Eastern Michigan, UIC, and Virginia.

 Marshall will open the event against Eastern Michigan at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and UIC and Virginia will follow at approximately 7:30.

 Saturday’s play will begin with an 11 a.m. matchup between UIC and the Herd, followed by Virginia versus Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. The second Saturday session features Eastern Michigan and UIC at 5 p.m., with Marshall against Virginia in the finale at 7.

"We are excited to begin this season at home and look forward to a great event with quality teams that are extremely well coached coming into Huntington," coach Mitch Jacobs said. 

Live stats will be available for each match of the tournament, and live streaming will be provided for all of the Marshall matches. In-game updates will be available via the MU volleyball Twitter page @HerdVolleyball.

 Fans may follow all of the tournament action at Marshall’s Tournament Central feed, located on the volleyball page of HerdZone.com.


The Herd will look to lone senior Sammie Bane (Brownstown, Ind.) for leadership. Currently in fourth place for career assists at Marshall with 3,663, the setter was awarded All-Conference USA Preseason honors for 2014 and was placed on the all-conference second team for her 2013 performance.

Eastern Michigan coach Kim Berrington enters her 19th season with the Eagles, with her 2014 squad  predicted to finish fourth in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference.

EMU returns 11 letter winners from its 2013 roster, including four starters who helped push the Eagles from a seventh seed in the 2013 MAC Tournament into the championship match, where EMU fell to Ohio.

Junior outside hitter Stacy Perinar led the Eagles last season with 343 kills, starting and playing every match on the 2013 schedule. Senior middle blocker Megan Crawshaw also returns after leading the team last season with 107 blocks.

Marshall last faced the Eagles in 2011, falling 3-0.


UIC returns seven letter winners from last season, including 2013 All-Horizon League selection Sara Jo Sternard (783 kills in three seasons).

Western Michigan transfer Stephenee Yancy also looks to add depth, coming off a 2012 MAC Freshman of the Year honor and 2013 USA Volleyball High Performance National Team selection.  During her time at WMU, Yancy recorded 469 kills as a middle blocker.

The Flames finished last season at 9-21 (4-10 Horizon League) and return three other starters in addition to Sternard.

The Herd faced UIC last season, falling in five sets 3-2.


Picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, Virginia is coming off a 18-14 season (11-9 ACC).

Junior setter Lauren Fuller and sophomore outside hitter Jasmine Burton were awarded All-ACC Preseason honors and are two of five returning starters to the Virginia lineup.

Fuller is coming off a historic 2013 season in which she recorded 1,455 assists, ranking No. 7 in Cavalier single-season history.

Burton, the 2013 ACC Freshman of the Year, had 380 kills during her rookie season while recording at least 20 kills in three matches and recording double-digit kills in 20 contests.

Marshall faced Virginia in its 2013 opener, falling 3-0.


 After hosting the Thunder Invitational, the Herd will travel to Richmond, Ky., on Sept. 3 for a midweek matchup against Eastern Kentucky at 6 p.m. 

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