Women’s Volleyball Ready for Postseason Play
November 2, 2012
By John Boccacino/Sports Information Director
The Keuka College women’s volleyball team posted the most wins in a season in school history, but the Green and Gold have their sights set on a bigger prize: a North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) postseason championship.
The Storm (23-7, 9-2 NEAC) earned the No. 2 seed in the upcoming NEAC tournament, behind only top-seeded Gallaudet University (11-0 NEAC). Both Gallaudet and Keuka earned byes into the semifinals on Saturday.
Penn State-Berks earned the No. 3 seed, Lancaster Bible (8-3) earned the No. 4 seed, SUNYIT (7-4) wrapped up the No. 5 seed and Abington (6-5) netted the No. 6 seed.
Keuka will face Berks, which swept Abington in the quarterfinals, in one semifinal at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Gallaudet faces Lancaster Bible, which defeated SUNYIT in four sets in the other quarterfinal, in Saturday’s second semifinal match, also at 11 a.m.
The winners of those two semifinal matches will square off for the NEAC championship at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
During the NEAC crossover portion of the competition, the Storm swept both Berks and Lancaster Bible College and was swept by Gallaudet, the two-time defending NEAC postseason champion.
“Our confidence is high and we’re feeling good,” said junior Meg Houlihan (Elysian, MN/Minnesota State).
“We know what we’re capable of, so we’re going to bring that out during NEAC’s. We just need to play our game, come out ready to play and be confident in ourselves. There’s always room for improvement, and we’re going to just keep working hard in practice and do the best we can.”
The Storm last won NEAC’s in 2004 and lost in the conference championship in both 2005 and 2006.
The winner of the postseason tournament earns the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III tournament.
Junior Paige Golden (Kent, NY/Albion), who along with classmate Jill Nolan (Johnson City, NY/Maine-Endwell) are the co-captains for the Green and Gold, stressed the importance of playing within yourself in the postseason. She said while it can be easy to get caught up in the pursuit of a NEAC championship, the most important thing to remember is to just relax and play Keuka volleyball, a style of play that netted 17 sweeps and the most wins in school history.
“I’m very excited for NEAC’s. The biggest advice for my teammates is to not freak out, because it is intimidating and it’s a big deal for us,” said Golden, who leads the Storm in kills (354) and is second in digs (431).
“Last year we lost to Berks in the semifinals, but overall I think we have more confidence this year than we did last year. Our confidence has been building this whole year, we had eight solid contributors back from last year and we added two experienced transfers (Houlihan and junior Deliane Lessard) and we’re all just really experienced in volleyball. That experience will help us in the NEAC’s.”
Junior Rachel Parker (Chaumont, NY/Thousand Islands) recorded a season-best 7 aces to go with 14 assists and 5 digs and five student-athletes record six or more kills as Keuka closed out the regular season with a three-set sweep of Morrisville Sate Oct. 27 on Parents’ Day.
Golden added 12 kills and five digs, while sophomores Devan Curtis (San Clemente, CA/San Clemente) and Dani Alred (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads) each added seven kills as the Storm picked up their 17th sweep of the season inside the Weed Physical Arts Center.
Curtis added seven digs while Lessard and fellow junior Gina Ferruzza (Penfield, NY/Webster Schroeder) each added six kills as Keuka won its fourth straight match. Parker won nine consecutive service points in the first set to snap a 7-all tie as the Storm took a 16-7 lead en route to the first-set win. Keuka had 11 aces and served the ball with precision, mixing up between deep and shallow serves to keep the Mustangs (5-18) off-balance.
“We know that we’re capable of playing how we need to play to win and advance in the postseason,” said Golden, who recorded the third-most kills and second-most attacks (1,111) in a season in school history.
Junior libero Taylor Smith (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder) is also climbing the Storm’s all-time leaderboard, as her 487 digs are the third-most in a season in school history.
Curtis finished first on the Storm in service aces (65), second in kills (203) and was third in digs (241) while Nolan handed out 710 assists, the third-highest total in the NEAC, and was fourth on the Storm in digs (214).
Freshman Morgan Eberley (Utica, NY/Whitesboro) led the Storm in blocks (46) and was third in kills (146) while Lessard finished fourth in kills (124).