Today’s Throwback Thursday photo takes us back to the 2002 volleyball season where Leslie Whitfield and Kelly Budnik were on the cover of that year’s media guide.


The 2002 season was a special one for the Bulldogs. Asheville was a preseason pick to finish in last place in the Big South, but the Blue & White fooled the experts big-time.


Asheville was the most improved team in the nation that year with a 26-8 overall record and won the Big South Conference regular-season title. The Bulldogs clinched the title with a dramatic five-set win over Winthrop before a packed crowd at Justice Center in the final home match of the year.


Whitfield led the nation in digs and was featured in Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd” for her play. Budnik would earn first team All-Conference honors along with Frida Sigurdardottir. Whitfield made the second team. Head Coach Julie Torbett was named Big South Conference Coach of the Year.