Aug. 1, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- UAB volleyball sophomore Sam Skinner, who was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year last season, was one of 12 players named to the 2013 All-Conference USA Preseason Team, the conference office announced on Wednesday.
A Birmingham native, Skinner enters the upcoming season following an impressive freshman campaign when she became the first player in UAB volleyball history to earn the C-USA Freshman of the Year honor. Skinner was also named to the All-C-USA Second Team after she averaged 2.61 kills and 3.11 points per set in her first season at UAB.
"Obviously, Sam is coming off an outstanding season and is very deserving of this honor," head coach Kerry Messersmith said. "To be recognized with some of the top players in the conference is a tremendous accomplishment and I look forward to watching her grow into an even better volleyball player as we start the new season."
Joining Skinner on the prestigious list is preseason C-USA Player of the Year selection McKenzie Adams -- UTSA's senior outside hitter and last season's Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Adams is one of five players from new league members to be named to the 2013 C-USA preseason team.
In a close preseason poll that featured five teams receiving first-place votes, UAB was picked to finish seventh out of 15 teams. The Blazers received 146 points and fell just behind sixth-place Middle Tennessee, which picked up 152 total points. Rice, which received three first-place votes, was picked to finish in the No. 1 spot, edging out Tulsa, which had a league-high four first-place votes.
UAB enters the 2013 season with seven letterwinners returning from 2012. Joining Skinner are libero Rachel Fairbanks, setter Becca Howard, outside hitter Ally Slaughter, and middle blocker Kiriana Hirini. Last season, Slaughter and Hirini combined for 281 kills.
Also joining the Blazers are transfers Bethanie Thomas
(South Carolina) and Sara Rishell
Messersmith and her team open up the 2013 season with the UAB/Samford Volleyball Challenge at Bartow Arena on Aug. 30-31. First serve of the new season is slated for Friday, Aug. 30 against Mercer at 10 a.m.