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Volleyball Head Coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton

- Melissa Aldrich Shelton
B.A. History, William and Mary 1991
M.S. Exercise Science, Arkansas State 1993

In February of 2008, William and Mary alumna Melissa Aldrich Shelton '91 returned home. Shelton took over the reins upon the retirement of Debbie Hill in January, after 30 years guiding the Tribe. The seventh head coach at the College, and first graduate to hold the position, Shelton promptly became the winningest "rookie" coach in school history with 19 wins in her first season. Her second year was again successful, producing 18 more wins, another CAA Tournament berth, and the program's first-ever All-American.

In 2009, William and Mary persevered through several injuries, making the conference tournament for the third year in a row. The Tribe won 18 matches to bring Shelton’s record to 37-20, and won 10 CAA matches for just the third time ever. This was the first time the Tribe had back-to-back 18+ win seasons since 1991-92. The Tribe’s tradition of defense continued with the resurgence of the blocking corps. This group put together three of the CAA’s top-four performances in 2009. They were backed by Lindsey Pflugner in the libero position. Pflugner became the first player in school history to earn AVCA All-American honors after collecting 552 digs, 17th-most in the nation. She was also named CAA Defender of the Year, a first for the Tribe since 2005, and was a first-team all-conference and all-state selection.

The blocking corps were highlighted by an outstanding quartet - Katie McCarney, Ginny Bray, Shaylin O’Connell, and Anne Dorff. McCarney was one of the team’s rock-solid foundations in her senior campaign, posting 74 blocks and 119 kills while appearing in all but one match. Bray battled through a nagging shoulder injury to lead the team with 84 blocks, including 12 in a single match against Georgetown that was tied for the most in the conference all season long. O’Connell was the one person to match Bray’s output, breaking the Tribe’s freshman record with 12 blocks in the win over American University. Dorff also got into the action in a big way against American with nine blocks, which was fourth-most in the CAA, and the Tribe’s 21 total blocks tied the school record that had stood unchallenged since Nov. 14, 1992.

Senior Lauren Powell contributed greatly to the Tribe’s success in 2009 as well. She posted a team-best 12 double-doubles during the year and ranked among the top three in kills (3rd), digs (2nd), and points (3rd). Lindsay Kresch found her rhythm quickly after transferring in before the season, and earned second-team All-CAA honors. She led the team in points, and tied the school record for aces in a game with six during a 3-2 win over VCU. Junior Erin Skipper earned third-team All-CAA honors after surpassing 1,000 kills late in the season, and led the Tribe in kills for the third year in a row.

YearSchoolRecordConference
1995Virginia9-22 (.290)1-13 (.071)
1996Virginia24-11 (.686)7-9 (.438)
1997Virginia18-16 (.529)6-10 (.375)
1998Virginia26-8 (.765)12-4 (.750)
1999Virginia19-12 (.613)10-8 (.556)
2000Virginia16-15 (.516)8-8 (.500)
2001Virginia9-18 (.333)3-13 (.188)
2002Virginia9-25 (.265)2-14 (.125)
2003Virginia25-9 (.735)8-8 (.500)
2004Virginia19-11 (.633)8-8 (.500)
2005Virginia20-11 (.645)15-7 (.682)
2006Virginia23-8 (.742)16-6 (.727)
2007Virginia18-13 (.581)13-9 (.591)
UVA13 Seasons235-179 (.568)109-117 (.482)
2008William and Mary19-9 (.679)9-5 (.643)
2009William and Mary18-11 (.621)10-4 (.714)
W&M2 Seasons37-20 (.649)19-9 (.679)
Total15 Seasons272-199 (.577)128-126 (.504)
The 2008 season was a great success for the Tribe program, and a promise of even better days to come, as Shelton’s athletes rattled off a 19-9 record and a trip to the CAA Tournament for the second year in a row. After opening the year 3-3, including tough losses to top-20 teams Stanford and Illinois, the Tribe posted an 11-match winning streak for the first time since the 1990 season, including three-straight five-set victories over CAA foes Virginia Commonwealth, Delaware, and Towson to open conference play. The team also won three of its four non-conference tournaments with a combined record of 10-0, and garnered national accolades when senior setter Kim Mount was named as a National Athlete of the Week by CVU.com after totaling 81 assists in a pair of 3-0 conference victories. Mount would go on to be named first-team All-CAA and all-state, and became the first W&M player to be selected as CAA Setter of the Year.

The sophomore class in 2008 also thrived under Shelton’s direction, winning MVP honors at three of the four in-season tournaments as well as several post-season accolades. Middle Ginny Bray was named MVP at both the N.C. State Invitational and the Tribe’s own Colonial Challenge, and became the first underclassman since Natalie Kamper in 1995 and 1996 to earn two all-conference citations. Bray earned third-team honors in 2008, after being selected to the all-rookie team in 2007. Her classmate Erin Skipper also had a very impressive year, as she became the first Tribe player since Jennifer Torns in 1991 to be named to the AVCA All-Region team. An honorable-mention all-region selection, Skipper was also a first-team all-conference and all-state player after leading the CAA in kills, kill-average, points, and point-average.

During her time at the helm of UVA’s program, Shelton compiled a 235-179 overall record and guided the Cavaliers to pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. The at-large berths, coming in consecutive seasons (1998, 1999), were the program’s initial appearances in the national tournament. Additionally, Shelton led Virginia to five 20-win seasons, highlighted by a 26-win campaign in 1998 that marked the second-most victories in school history.

Named as the State Coach of the Year by the Virginia Association of Sports Information Directors three times, Shelton was by far the longest-tenured and most successful coach in UVA’s history. She coached the Cavaliers in 43 percent of the programs matches and wins under her direction account for 48 percent of the school’s total. All six of Virginia’s All-Americans excelled under her tutelage, and her players also won all but three of the program’s all-region and 26 out of 45 All-ACC honors.

Her student-athletes also excel in the classroom, earning a 100 percent graduation rate since 1996. In 2008, Kim Mount was selected by CoSIDA and ESPN The Magazine to the District III all-academic second team, the first all-academic honor for W&M since 1996.

Prior to taking over the reigns as head coach at Virginia, Shelton served as an assistant at Clemson University from 1993-95. During her tenure with the Tigers, she helped the team win 55 matches and achieve its first ever NCAA Tournament bids, as the squad earned back-to-back berths in 1993 and 1994.

Shelton’s first coaching position was at Arkansas State University, where she served as an assistant from 1991-93. She helped the Indians to a pair of Sun Belt Conference championships, as the program garnered its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid in 1992.

A three-year starter for the Tribe, Shelton was elected as a team captain during her junior and senior seasons. She helped W&M claim four consecutive CAA titles and earn two National Invitational Volleyball Championship appearances. An All-CAA selection as a junior, she was chosen to the CAA All-Tournament Team during her senior season.

Shelton graduated from the College in 1991 with a bachelors of the arts degree in history, and earned a Master’s in exercise science while at Arkansas State. A native of Long Beach, California, Shelton and her husband, Gordon, reside in Williamsburg with their five-year-old son, Andrew.

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