GREENSBORO, N.C. – Seniors Ariel Newman and Sarah Eldridge, along with sophomore Kellie Orewiler, were named captains of the 2011 UNCG volleyball team, head coach Patrick Nicholas announced on Wednesday.
"The three captains just stuck out all of the preseason," said coach Nicholas. "They were the most consistent day in and day out. They weren't just the hardest workers, they were the leaders. All summer they have been doing things to get the team together because we weren't here for summer school. We let the team talk about it and those three came across as leaders from everybody on the team. They are good leaders and are very deserving."
Newman, a redshirt senior, enters her third season at UNCG after playing her first two years at VCU. Last season, Newman led the team with a 2.97 kills/set average and had 14 double-doubles, which was second on the team. She also posted double-digit kills in 19 of the last 22 matches.
"It feels really great to be a captain and a co-captain with Sarah and Kellie," said Newman. "Being a captain means I have to step up my leadership and show some of the younger players on the team that you don't have to be a senior to be a leader. You can start as a junior, sophomore or freshman."
Eldridge, a senior from Wichita, Kan., came to UNCG in the fall of 2010 from Cowley Community College. She was forced to sit out the 2010 campaign after suffering an injury on the first day of preseason practice. She was also a team captain her final year at Cowley and an all-region performer as she helped lead her team to a runner-up finish in the NJCAA Division II National Championships.
"For me to be a captain this year, means I need to step up and help lead this team to a championship," said Eldridge. "I need to help our newcomers become familiar with our offense and defense and our overall team chemistry. Even though I'm a senior, my four years in college I have wanted to step up and be a leader. It is definitely a great opportunity and I feel blessed to be named a captain."
The only underclassman in the group, Orewiler is in just her second season as a Spartan. She played in 33 of the 34 matches as a true freshman as she was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team as a libero at the conclusion of the season. She recorded double-digit dig totals in 24 matches last year, including 14 of the final 15 matches.
"It means a lot to be a captain," said Orewiler. "I have worked really hard for this and when coach announced the captains and I was one of them I was so happy inside and proud. Not only just for me, but for our other two captains. Our seniors are great leaders as well and I'm glad to be a part of that. I think we have great leaders in all of our classes, just not our captains."
The Spartans will kick off its 2011 campaign this weekend as they host Coastal Carolina, East Tennessee State, Evansville and North Carolina A&T for the UNCG Invitational. UNCG will face Coastal Carolina at 1 p.m. on Friday in its first match of the season.
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