May 21, 2013
By Vince Barnaba | Media Relations Assistant
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Summer typically provides time for college students to relax, spend time with friends, travel and take their minds off of school for a while, but that won't be true for two University of Maryland volleyball players. Their summer plans have taken an unexpected turn.
Rising sophomore Mackenzie Dagostino and rising junior Adreené Elliott recently were selected to participate in the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Senior A2 Program in Dallas, Texas, this summer. Dagostino and Elliott are two of 48 players selected to compete in the program after trying out in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the U.S. Olympic training facility in February along with nearly 300 other players.
The Senior A2 program takes place from June 25 through July 4 with the first six days serving as a training period and the second five days consisting of competitions. The tournament will consist of the four A2 teams and four of the top teams in the U.S. Premier Volleyball League.
"We were really happy to hear the news that both Adreené and Mack made the A2 team," said head coach Tim Horsmon. This is an unbelievable opportunity for them to train with some of the best players and coaches in the country."
This will not be the first time training with U.S. Volleyball for Dagostino. She participated last summer with the Women's Junior National A2 team. This experience helped her not only during the tryouts, but also with her mindset heading into the upcoming A2 schedule.
"Playing on the Women's Junior National A2 team last year was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life," Dagostino said. "There is no time to be nervous and think twice, you are obviously good enough because you are there. I learned the hard way and had to climb my way back up to my starting position. That's definitely a mistake I will not make again."
Despite being just a freshman, Dagostino demonstrated why she was one of just eight setters selected for A2. Along with Remy McBain, she helped the Terps rank fourth in the ACC in assists per set (12.66), and led the team with 12 double-doubles in 2012. She also led the team with 33 service aces, 20 of which came in ACC play.
While Dagostino went into the tryouts solely focused on making the roster, Elliott had other goals in mind when attending the tryouts.
"I participated in the tryouts with genuinely no expectation of being selected for any team. I just wanted to soak up the experience. Finding out I made A2 was just a really awesome surprise," Elliott said.
Despite Elliott's initial surprise, the middle blocker is more than qualified. Elliott started every match for the Terps this past season and ranked first on the team and fourth in the ACC in hitting percentage (.363). She also led the team in total blocks with 119.
Both players want to get as much out of this summer as possible.
"I hope Adreené and I can bring back interesting things we learned and help our team succeed in the fall," Dagostino added.
Having two players chosen for the A2 program speaks volumes of the Maryland volleyball team as well. Maryland is one of just 12 teams to have multiple players selected to participate in the program.
"This is a positive reflection on the direction of our program on the national level and all of the work our coaches have put in to recruit the type of players who can compete at this level."
In addition to playing with the A2 program, both players have busy summers lined up. Dagostino will be taking classes online through Maryland, while Elliott will take two courses for the first half of summer in addition to interning for the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration beginning June 1.
But with the 2013 season rapidly approaching, both Dagostino and Elliott understand this is an opportunity to further their development.
"I just want to learn as much as I can to become a better all-around middle blocker for Maryland," said Elliott. I want to focus on building my confidence during my time with the A2 team, which will translate in my performance come the fall.""You can never get enough practice and being able to play with the best of the best is an honor," said Dagostino. "It's also a chance to be seen by the USA committee and hopefully help me earn a spot on the Olympic team one day."