DALLAS (SMU) - The SMU volleyball team will compete in an intrasquad scrimmage Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Moody Coliseum. The match will be the first live action available to fans in the newly-renovated facility, as well as the first look at the 2014 team in competition.
The Mustangs start the season Aug. 29 at San Francisco in the first of three matches in the San Francisco Invite. SMU will host Georgia Tech in its first home match Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. The Mustangs will also host Texas Southern and Oklahoma Sept. 6 on the second day of the SMU Doubletree Invite.
American Athletic Conference Setter of the Year Avery Acker led the Mustangs to a 22-9 record and a second-place finish in The American during the league's inaugural season. The sophomore also was named AVCA All-America honorable mention, All-Region honorable mention and earned a first team all-conference selection. She finished the season with a league-best 11.56 assists per set in conference matches, and ranked 25th in the NCAA with 11.21 per set overall.
SMU, which won 10 of its last 11 matches, had a total of five All-American Athletic Conference selections, with Caroline Young and freshman middle blocker Janelle Giordano joining Acker on the first team. Sophomore outside hitters Cailin Bula and Abbey Bybel were selected to the second team.
Young, a junior, earned the third all-conference award of her career and was named Conference Player of the Week in The American a league-high four times. She finished the season second in the league with 3.51 kills per set in conference matches, and had at least 10 kills in 23 matches.
Bula led the conference in aces, finishing with 29 on the season, and Bybel was second on the team with 268 kills. Giordano led the team and was sixth in the conference with a .308 attack percentage during her first collegiate season.
The Mustangs return all five all-conference award winners, as well as libero Morgan Heise, who recorded 406 digs and 111 assists as a freshman. SMU loses just two seniors in middle blockers Maddie Lozano and Caroline Daly. Lozano had a team-high 121 blocks while serving as a team captain. Daly had 18 blocks and 12 kills in 16 sets played.
Local high school stars McKenzie Shea and Lauren Mills will join an SMU team, which returns nine of 12 letterwinners, including five starters and the libero, for the 2014 season. SMU also added transfer Taylor Lockett, and freshmen Isabella Sotelo and Rachel Greiner. Sara Myers also joined the squad, but will have to sit out a season due to transfer rules.
After going 10-2 in the Dedman Center on campus while Moody Coliseum underwent renovations, the Mustangs will return to their upgraded home facility for the 2014 campaign.
The conference will also look different, with the departure of league-champion Louisville and Rutgers. Joining The American next season will be Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina. SMU will play home-and-home matches with all 10 league schools, as well as compete in four weekend tournaments next season.