Former players return for alumni game

The Knight Sports Complex was filled with a raucous noise late Saturday afternoon as the women’s volleyball team’s annual alumni match came to a close.

But the cheers didn’t come from the dozens of fans who attended the Green and Orange Scrimmage. It was the players on the green squad, led by former players Christine Williamson and Ariell Cooke, that were overcome with joy when they took game four of five in exciting fashion, 28-26.

The orange team would eventually win four games to one, but despite the lopsided outcome everybody enjoyed themselves in what turned out to be an entertaining yet intense final test before the season starts on Friday.

“It was really fun. They [the alumni] are really fun and they just bring a lot of great energy to the court,” said sophomore Alexis Mourning, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker from Texas.

Mourning had a total of 13 kills and made plays that earned her praise from coach Nicole Lantange-Welch.

“I thought Alexis had a great day,” Lantange-Welch said. “She attacked extremely efficiently and also blocked, so she was doing the two main things of her job for us and that was great to see. Whichever side of the court she was on, she was bringing that.”

The teams were switched up after every game to make sure everyone got a chance to play alongside the two alumni. It also afforded Williamson, who was on the team just last year and spent the summer in Miami, a chance to make an impact on some of the younger players.

“One of the things that I think our team is really good at, like in all the previous seasons, is having energy, being excited and playing having fun,” she said. “We just made sure that they do that.”

Williamson is not the only one who is optimistic about the team’s chances this season. Lantange-Welch was, for the most part, pleased with what she saw from her team on Saturday.

“We saw a lot of great things out there today and we also saw some  that we want to work on and clean up a little bit,” she said.

With the 2012 season just around the corner, Lantange-Welch described the scrimmage as a “great chance for the young players to get rid of some butterflies” and compared it to a “dress rehearsal.”

The Canes will open with the Hurricane Invitational this weekend. They will face Wofford and Ole Miss on Friday at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. On Saturday, UM will play Rutgers at 1 p.m. and Samford at 7 p.m.