July 31, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Senior Sara Rishell of the UAB volleyball team was one of 13 players to be named to the 2014 Conference USA Volleyball Preseason Team, the league office announced on Thursday.
A 2013 Second-Team All-C-USA selection, Rishell played in all 124 sets for the Blazers last season. She led the team with 387 kills (3.12 per set) and 142 total blocks in 2013. Her 115 block assists tied for sixth all-time in UAB history for a single season.
The Smithsburg, Md. native will also bring back her experience with the U.S. Collegiate National Team program this summer. She was one of 36 athletes that were selected to train and compete in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, Minn.
Joining Rishell on the list are 12 players from nine different schools, including preseason C-USA Player of the Year selection Noelle Langenkamp of conference newcomer WKU. Langenkamp is one of three selections for WKU, the most of any other team.
In the preseason poll, UAB and Southern Miss were both selected to finish fifth. Defending C-USA champion UTSA was picked to finish in the No. 1 spot, while WKU, Rice and North Texas round out the top four in front of the Blazers.
UAB enters the 2014 season with seven letterwinners returning from 2013. Along with Rishell, seniors Kiriana Hirini and Bethanie Thomas return from the starting lineup. The pair also played in all 124 sets last season and combined for 616 kills. The Blazers will also have a large crop of newcomers, with the addition of 10 players this season.
Messersmith and her team will open the 2014 season with the UAB/Samford Tournament at Bartow Arena Aug. 29-30. The tournament schedule will feature games with Michigan State, Georgia State and Southeastern Louisiana.