Women’s Volleyball Team Hopes to Match Last Season’s Success
Issue   |   Thu, 09/01/2011 - 23:02
Photo courtesy of Chloe McKenzie '14
The Firedogs are coming off of a stellar 25-4 record from last season, and are looking to put together a stronger postseason run this year.

After a strong regular season last year, the volleyball team comes back this fall primed to translate their impressive record to postseason success. Eclipsing the achievements of last year’s squad will prove a tall order.

Standout libero Rachel Yorke ’11 and middle hitters Jackie Berkley ’11 and Laura Hyman ’11 captained a team that compiled a 25-4 total record, with only two of the losses coming in the regular season. In fact, the Firedogs ran off 16 consecutive victories during the middle of the season, helping to garner the highest total winning percentage of any team in head coach Sue Everden’s 25 years at the helm of the program.

The Firedogs, however, failed to sustain their impressive level of play into the postseason. The team fell in straight sets to Tufts in the semifinals of the NESCAC Tournament after beating them in both regular season meetings, and could not right the ship in time for the NCAAs. In the second round, the team came out flat and fell quickly to Springfield by a score of 13-25, 18-25 and 20-25. Nevertheless, all three captains were named to the All New England senior team and headlined a long list of very impressive performances that contributed to one of the best seasons in program history.

This year’s squad will have to compensate for the loss of the three departed captains and defensive specialist Erin Camp ’11 if they hope to match and perhaps even surpass the accomplishments of last season. Captains K.C. Kanoff ’12, Mary Reiser ’12 and Cristy Meier ’12 will step into their new roles and expect to set the tone from the very first practice.

Kanoff and Meier played an important role on last year’s team as outside hitters, and Reiser also contributed often as an opposite hitter. Putting the captains and all the hitters in position again this year will be impressive setter Callie Neilson ’13, who was once named NESCAC Player of the Week last year and has been an integral part of the team’s success the past two seasons. Neilson’s growth last year was an important catalyst to speed up the team’s development and success.

Defensive specialists Devin Pence ’14 and Kristin Keeno ’13 will be looking to solidify the back line without Yorke, and an influx of new talent should make the task easier. The two veterans are joined by first-year Kellyn Conant, Kelsey Ayers and Karina Kossler.

On the offensive side, Abigail Hunter ’13, Claire Hoffman ’14, Emily Waterhouse ’13 and Megan McCafferty ’14 join the captains as hitters. In addition, Lauren Antion ’15 will join the mix.

While this team may face pressure to meet the standards of last year’s Firedogs, the maturation expected of the returning veterans and the influx of new talent should provide for a season ripe with opportunity.