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Fox Lane's Rugova Leads Pace Volleyball into '11

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Finishing second in the Northeast 10 Conference and qualifying for the NCAA women’s volleyball championship is a nice accomplishment for Pace, but the Lady Setters want more.

Junior Nora Rugova and her classmates have been instrumental in helping Pace progress each season. In 2009, Pace qualified for the conference tournament and NCAA’s, but lost in the first round before last year’s conference run. Both years, Pace has been eliminated in the NCAA tournament by New Haven, also the 2010 conference champion.

“We are excited because we want to win the conference, make it back to the NCAA tournament and go even further,” said Rugova, a Fox Lane graduate. “We’ve improved each year since we were freshmen.”

Pace will begin its quest for the Northeast 10 Conference title and NCAA berth Friday with matches in the St. Mary’s Tournament in Texas. The Lady Setters will open with St. Mary’s at 3 p.m. and follow it up with Tarleton State  at 5 p.m.

Pace will play Regis of Colorado at noon Saturday and close out the day with a 4 p.m. match against Abilene Christian.

The Lady Setters have been selected second, by the coaches, in the pre-season poll. New Haven was the top choice. Pace has been focused on its goals since day one of preseason.

“We came in ready and focused and our coach (Karrin Moore) was impressed with how we were all ready to start,” said Rugova, an outside hitter, who finished with 347 kills and 281 digs. “We lost to New Haven the last two years in the first round of the NCAA’s and we don’t want that to happen again.”

Rugova, along with Ardsley’s Tamilee Webb (126 kills, 93 digs last year,) are two of six juniors on upperclassmen-laden team, including seniors: Shea Hansen, Whitney Hilton and Ursula Vero.

“Nothing is as exciting as the feeling you have on game day,” said Rugova, who is majoring in Elementary Education. “We just want to get out on the court and start playing games.”

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