McCullagh chosen to play with some of world's best under-20 talent at Sibillini Tourney in Italy

GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES
May 24, 2005

McCullagh chosen to play with some of world's best under-20 talent at Sibillini Tourney in Italy
DeKALB, IL--- Look out world, here she comes. Northern Illinois University women's volleyball player Kate McCullagh is going international after being selected as one of nine players currently slated to compete for Team VolleyHut at the 13th annual Sibillini Tournament to be held June 26-July 2 in Comunanza, Italy.
"This is a great opportunity for Kate to play against some really good international competition," NIU head coach Ray Gooden said. "On the whole, international players have so much more experience, especially at this level. That usually means that there will be some high quality volleyball being played. Any time you can get a chance to play organized ball at that level, it's a big plus."

Team VolleyHut---which is sponsored by Bring It Promotions and head coach Cory Solomon is scheduled to be one of at least eight teams who will compete in the seven-day tournament. Teams range from seven different countries including the United States, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, and Slovakia---who boasts three-time defending champion Slavia Bratislava. An American team has not won the event since 2000 when Team VolleyHut took home the tourney crown.

The 2005 version of VolleyHut features some of the top talent in the country at age 20 years and under. McCullagh (Woodstock, IL / Woodstock) joins five Big Ten players (Megan Bowman and Katie Brudzinski of the University of Michigan, Meghan Macdonald and Erin Virtue of the University of Illinois, and Katie Virtue of Ohio State University) as well as Kristin Hasselberg and Brynn Maurer from the University of San Francisco, and Cornell University's Alex Dyer for the ten-day trip.

"Kate has the unique opportunity to play with two players that have played abroad quite a few times," Gooden explained, citing the international experience of sisters Erin and Katie Virtue. "It's a great experience for everyone involved. The players get the chance to learn from each other on the floor while playing good volleyball against some high-quality opponents."

McCullagh is coming off a career season in 2004 during which she earned Honorable Mention All-Mid-American Conference honors after racking up 451 kills (3.67 kpg) and 146 total blocks (1.19 bpg). The junior-to-be notched ten kills or more in 28 of 33 matches including the first four 20-kill efforts of her career. She also came perilously close to notching her first triple double on two separate occasions (12 kills, nine digs, nine blocks at Toledo and 16 kills, 10 digs, nine blocks at Akron) and hit .300 or better in the last six matches of the season on her way to leading the team with a .258 hitting percentage.

-NIU-