The Columbia College volleyball squad is ranked No. 6 in the nation in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 Poll with 459 points. Fresno Pacific (Calif.) University, last year's NAIA National Champion, holds the top spot with 560 points.
The 2009 Cougar volleyball team features All-Conference players Maria Omondi, a middle hitter originally from Nairobi, Kenya; AMC Libero of the Year Tally Mattos, from Brazil; and 10 talented newcomers.
In keeping with the team's distinctively international flavor, several of these players hail from outside the U.S., including outside hitter Cate Eckhardt, originally from the Canadian capital of Ottawa; and middle hitter Ola Shawky Nosear, from Cairo, Egypt.
Melinda Wrye-Washington is entering her 10th season as head coach. She has been voted AMC's Coach of the Year an amazing six times in that span. In 2001, her squad went 38-0 to sweep the championship. The team has never dipped below .750 since. The Cougars also have placed first in the AMC for 15 of the past 16 seasons.
The Cougars kick off the 2009 season on Sept. 4 when they host the Best Western Classic in the Southwell Complex. Matches will be played on the Arena court starting at 11:00 a.m. on Sept. 4 and 9 a.m. on Sept. 5.
For a complete tournament schedule, lists of players and teams, visit the Columbia Cougars Web site.