UCI’s Kniffin adds volleyball assistant Bartsch

The UC Irvine men’s volleyball program has added another All-American in former University of Illinois women’s standout Michelle Bartsch, who will be a volunteer assistant for the Anteaters’ this season under first-year head man David Kniffin.

Bartsch was a 6-3 senior outside hitter for the Illini squad that reached the NCAA championship match in 2011. Kniffin who played and was formerly an assistant at UCI, was an assistant coach with the Illini that season.

Bartsch was named first-team All-American by Volleyball Magazine in 2011. She helped the Illini reach at least the NCAA Sweet 16 all four seasons at the school.

She was a student coach for the Illini women’s team in 2012.

Kniffin said Bartsch plans to compete on the professional beach volleyball circuit in 2013.

Bartsch joins a staff that includes veteran returning assistant Mark Presho and first-year assistant Kevin Burch, who helped Springfield College win the NCAA Division III title in 2012. Burch was later named the American Volleyball Coaches’ Assn. Division III National Assistant Coach of the Year.

UCI, the reigning NCAA champion, plays host to Concordia in an exhibition match on Jan. 2, before opening its regular season on Jan. 4 in the UC Santa Barbara Invitational.

— Barry Faulkner