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Melissa Aldrich Shelton
Position: Head Coach
City/State: Williamsburg, Va.
Alma Mater: William and Mary
Graduating Year: 1991
Experience: 8 Years
Phone: (757) 221-3395
Aldrich Shelton Videos
Melissa Shelton Bio
Release: 01/13/2011

After leading her squad to back-to-back CAA Tournaments in 2012 and 2013, head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton '91 looks to challenge for the top of the league table in 2015 with one of the most talented and veteran squads in her eight years at W&M.  Shelton took the reigns of the Tribe in February of 2008 and set program records for the most victories in her first two seasons.  Shelton is the seventh head coach in W&M history, and the first alumna to hold the position.

In 2014, a schedule highlighted by defending national champion Penn State and an unfortunate series of injuries gave the Tribe a lesson in toughness and perseverance.  It was a lesson well-learned, with the team growing more confident and getting closer each match out to breaking through, with more than half of the matches featuring close, two-or three-point sets that could have gone either way.  Individually, Dessi Koleva once again provided a strong standard for her teammate to rally behind, leading the squad in both kills and digs, and she was the only player to rank top-10 in the CAA in both of those categories during conference play.  Carolyn Albright marked her second 100+ dig season, and freshman Sara Zumbach was named to the CAA All-Rookie team after bouncing back from an early-season illness to lead all freshmen in digs with 306.

The Tribe returned to the post-season in 2013, thanks in large part to a four-match winning strak late in the year that catapulted W&M from seventh to third in the CAA standings.  The Green and Gold truly earned their tournament spot, playing in a program-record 11 five-set matches and seven in conference play alone.  Dessi Koleva was named third-team All-CAA after a strong year of 335 kills and 360 digs, and Michelle Heath enjoyed a tremendous freshman year with a 2.19 kills average and 1.93 digs average to take a spot on the CAA all-rookie team.  Celine Alasomuka finished her career with the second-highest dig total in school history, and Carolyn Albright had 132 blocks, the most for the Tribe since the 1992 season.  Mallory Brickerd and Liz Brown also averaged more than 2.0 kills per set, giving W&M one of the most balancd offences in the league.

2012 marked a return to high form for the Tribe, who won 13 matches and reached the tournament quarterfinals for the first time since 2009.  Both of the team's seniors turned in career years, with Molly Krull helping run the offense at setter and Shaylin O'Connell owning the middle of the net.  Their play was key to the Tribe's seven-match winning streak in the middle of the season, which included the tournament title at the Colonial Challenge and an undefeated start to conference play.  The final win in that series, a 3-2 comeback on the road at Hofstra, was also notable for being Shelton's 300th career victory.  At the end of the year, a number of W&M athletes earned post-season honors.  O'Connell was named third-team All-CAA, her first all-conference award.  Freshman Dessi Koleva earned All-CAA and all-state second-team honors, and was tabbed as the CAA Rookie of the Year.  Koleva was the first Tribe player to win the newcomer award since Kim Mount, in 2005.

The 2011 season did a lot to set up the success of 2012, presenting the team with a number of challenges to test a young roster and give them ample opportunity to learn and grow.  Not all of those challenges came on the court, either - Hurricane Irene cancelled the opening tournament, and set the Tribe on a 41-day, 15-match road trip to start the season.  Despite that, W&M came through with several big wins during the fall, including a 3-2 upset of Southern Illinois in the early-morning hours in New Orleans (in the midst of yet another hurricane), and another 3-2 triumph over Villanova at home.

Despite facing several more injuries in 2010, William and Mary reach double-digit wins for the eighth year in a row.  Included in the win total was a 3-2 victory over Maryland, the first for W&M against the Terrapins since 1991.  W&M also won at VCU for the third year in a row, and in the process finished the year with a victory for the first time since 1990.  The first conference match of the year was against Hofstra, a 3-1 win in Williamsburg that made the College the first school in CAA history to reach 150 conference wins.

2010 was also the final season for three four-year starters for the Tribe, led by middle Ginny Bray, who earned second-team All-CAA honors and first-team all-state mention.  Bray had the best blocking numbers of any player in the state in 2010, averaging 1.16 blocks per set (third in the CAA), and also ranked third in the league while hitting .303.  Her season also saw the Cary, N.C. native set career-highs in kills per set (2.61), attack percentage (.303), and points per set (3.29), while finishing her career ranked in W&M's top-10 in seven different statistical categories.  Bray was the first athlete to make three All-CAA teams for W&M since Julie Amberg '96 earned that distinction all four years from 1992-95.  Setter Cassie Crumal had the best season of her career as well, averaging 7.7 assists per set (701 total), and finished her career sixth in school history with 1,826 assists.  Rounding out the set was Erin Skipper, who became the first Tribe player to led the team in kills all four years of her career.  Skipper finished her four years on campus as the school record-holder with 4,031 attack attempts, and third with 1,336 career kills.

Several underclassmen also turned in stellar performances in 2010, led by freshman Celine Alasomuka.  Playing libero for the first time in her career, Alasomuka earned CAA all-rookie honors and was named to the All-East Region honorable-mention team by COBRA Magazine, after leading the CAA with 0.36 aces per set in league play and ranking fourth with 4.15 digs per set.  Her 350 total digs were the second-most ever by a Tribe freshman (15th-most overall), and her average of 3.72 digs per set is the seventh-most in a season ever at the College.  Paulette Grand Pre and Shaylin O'Connell both had promising seasons cut short by injury, Grand Pre's just two days into the year after suffering a knee injury in the season-opening Tribe Invitational.  In the three matches she played, the freshman was averaging 3.09 kills and 2.73 digs per set.  O'Connell was having a terrific season in the middle, averaging .89 blocks per set, before being struck by injury less than halfway through the conference season.

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.

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 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.  Jaclyn McKenna was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2013.

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 10-year-old son, Andrew.

1995 Virginia 9-22 (.290) 1-13 (.071)
1996 Virginia 24-11 (.686) 7-9 (.438)
1997 Virginia 18-16 (.529) 6-10 (.375)
1998 Virginia 26-8 (.765) 12-4 (.750)
1999 Virginia 19-12 (.613) 10-8 (.556)
2000 Virginia 16-15 (.516) 8-8 (.500)
2001 Virginia 9-18 (.333) 3-13 (.188)
2002 Virginia 9-25 (.265) 2-14 (.125)
2003 Virginia 25-9 (.735) 8-8 (.500)
2004 Virginia 19-11 (.633) 8-8 (.500)
2005 Virginia 20-11 (.645) 15-7 (.682)
2006 Virginia 23-8 (.742) 16-6 (.727)
2007 Virginia 18-13 (.581) 13-9 (.591)
UVA13 Seasons235-179 (.568)109-117 (.482)
2008 William and Mary 19-9 (.679) 9-5 (.643)
2009 William and Mary 18-11 (.621) 10-4 (.714)
2010 William and Mary 11-15 (.423) 5-9 (.357)
2011 William and Mary 8-18 (.308) 2-12 (.143)
2012 William and Mary 13-14 (.481) 5-7 (.417)
2013 William and Mary 11-21 (.344) 6-8 (.429)
2014 William and Mary 7-24 (.226) 3-13 (.188)
W&M7 Seasons87-112 (.437)40-58 (.408)
Total20 Seasons322-291 (.525)149-175 (.460)
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