DURHAM, N.H.- The defending America East Champion University of New Hampshire volleyball team will kick off the 1999 season Sunday afternoon with a preseason intrasquad scrimmage beginning at 3 p.m.

The scrimmage will serve as the official start to the preaseason practice schedule with the UNH pep band and cheerleaders on hand. In addition to the scrimmage, fans will get a chance to meet the volleyball players.

This year's Wildcat squad features some of the top players in America East with 1997 America East Player of the Year Bethany Cole (Canterbury, N.H.) returning after sitting out last year with an injury. In addition to Cole, there are three other Granite Staters on the roster in Jess Houle (Durham, N.H.), Katie Jentes (Madbury, N.H.) and Stephanie Grant (Rochester, N.H.).

The 1999 edition of the Wildcats will be looking to pick up right where last year's squad left off. UNH finished the 1998 season undefeated in America East with a 14-0 mark and a 24-11 record overall. The Wildcats advanced to the school's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance before losing to nationally ranked Arkansas on its home court.

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