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Senior volleyball player set to go down in history

By Mike Gore

Anne Ponder

This fall , senior volleyball player Raquel Miotto will become the university’s and Big South Conference’s all-time leader in digs. In fact, Miotto, a native of Brazil, needs just 364 digs this season to move into the top 10 in NCAA history.

Miotto is just 30 digs shy of becoming only the second player in Big South history to reach the 2,000 milestone for her career.

“Raquel played at a high level in Brazil and just knows the game so well,” commented Coach Julie Torbett. “She’s like a coach on the floor and knows how to process information during a match like no one I’ve ever coached. Raquel is never out of position and always in the right place at the right time.”

Athletics Roundup

• The Bulldog baseball team has a new coach, Tom Smith, one of the top high school coaches in the nation. Smith joined UNC Asheville in July after a stellar career at T.C. Roberson High School, where he led the Rams to three 3-A state titles and 14 conference titles. In addition, he had 20 players drafted by major league teams. Smith posted a 478-185 record at Roberson before retiring in 2006.

• The UNC Asheville women’s tennis team and five of its players were recently honored for their work in the class room by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The team went All-American in 2008–09 academic year with a team grade–point average of 3.2. In addition, five players were named All-Academic Scholar-Athletes with a grade–point average of 3.5 or higher. Honorees were Louise Bottomley, Devon Cavanaugh, Tania Mateva, Leslie Smith and Nicole Schon. Two men’s tennis team players, Alex Appelt and Alexander Greer, also joined this elite group of students.

• More than 50 percent of UNC Ash eville’s student athl etes earned places on the Big Sou th Presidential Honor Roll for the 2008-09 academic year. These students earned a 3.0 grade–point average or better on a 4.0 scale.

• Former Bulldog baseball standout Aaron Rembert was hired as assistant baseball coach in August. From 2000–2004, Rembert was both a starter and reliever. He’s the university’s all-time leader in wins and was named Freshman All-American.

Miotto began playing volleyball as a child and immediately fell in love with the game that is extremely popular in Brazil.

“I began playing when I was eight and my mom was playing, too,” said Miotto. “When I turned 10, she stopped playing to allow me to play. She would drive me to practice and worked with me on my game.

“Volleyball in Brazil is pretty intense. We would practice six hours a day, but I really loved it,” added Miotto. “I was lucky enough to be invited to train with the national team as one of the top 64 players in Brazil.”

When she decided to pursue a collegiate career in America instead of a pro career in Brazil, Miotto knew she would be facing some changes.

“There’s not much in common between Brazil and Asheville, but I just love Asheville and its amazing culture,” said Miotto. “The school is wonderful, and it has been a great experience to come here.”

Since Miotto came to UNC Asheville, she has been recognized as the top libero in the Big South. She was named a first team all-conference selection as a freshman and junior and made the second team her sophomore year. She has high hopes for her team in her senior season.

“We have five seniors, and I think we have the chance to be a great team,” stated Miotto. “Our chemistry is sensational, and we all do a great job of pushing each other to get better. I think we have a real chance to win conference and go the NCAA Tournament. That would be a great way to end my college career.”

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