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By KEVIN TAYLOR, Point Park sports information

The Point Park volleyball team will begin its preseason training for the 2009 season on Aug. 17. The Pioneers will hold preseason camp at Greentree SportsPlex with the hopes of laying a foundation for a successful year.

Point Park was 19-18 overall and 7-7 in the American Mideast Conference last season. Although the Pioneers lost six seniors to graduation, they return several key players who were starters a year ago. Also, fifth-year coach Mike Bruno will try to lead the Pioneers to a third-consecutive winning season, something that has never been done in the history of the program.

Veterans Ashley Zietak (Pittsburgh/Brashear) and Rachel Roddy (Greensburg/Greensburg Salem) are back for their junior seasons while Megan Lamens (New Baltimore/Berlin Bros.) is in her second year in the program after transferring from Juniata. All three of those players are captains on this year's team.

Zietak and Lamens team up in giving the Pioneers a pair of 6-0 middle hitters up front. Zietak was an All-AMC third-team selection last year, and Lamens was an honorable-mention choice. Zietak was the AMC North Freshman of the Year in 2007.

Lamens had a team-high 403 kills last year, and Zietak posted 345 kills to go with a .328 hitting percentage. Zietak tallied 79 blocks while Lamens had 73 blocks.

Roddy is in her third season as a starting outside hitter and her second year as captain. Roddy is perhaps the best all-around player on the team as she posted 330 kills, 393 digs and 36 aces last season. She was an All-AMC North honorable mention player as a freshman in 2007.

Katie Geary (Pittsburgh/Shaler) split time at setter in her freshman season last year, and it poised to build on that strong debut season. Geary, a 5-7 sophomore, had 559 assists and 30 blocks in 2008.

Joining Geary as second-year players are sophomores Zoe Hughes (OH), Jen Poland (OH), Cassandra Maxwell (OH) and Rachel Stedina (OH). Angela Nelson is a junior defensive specialist. Each of those players gained valuable experience for the Pioneers last season and were main contributors on Point Park's developmental team, the Gold Team.

Among their several newcomers, the Pioneers welcome outside hitters Kirsten Burkes (Robinson/Montour), Lindsay Oberacker (Erie/McDowell) and Ali Gendron (Sheffield, Ohio/Brookside). Burkes, Oberacker and Gendron each earned all-state honors last season.

Bruno is the longest tenured coach in the history of the Point Park volleyball program. His record at Point Park is 72-74 (.493) and his career record is 188-132 (.588). The 2009 season marks his 10th year as a head coach on the college level, and his 72 victories are the most all-time at Point Park.