The Mary Baldwin University 2018 volleyball season is quickly approaching and head coach Ruth Thompson is excited to get started.
“We will have a lot of new talent this year that will complement the skills of the returners,” said Thompson. “Everyone on our team is eagerly anticipating great strides for the volleyball program. Last year, we were just getting a feel for the competition and what we would need to match that. This year we will have an opportunity to be in the fray and that is exciting.”
Coach Thompson is expecting a lot from her returning captains, Brittany Sharon and Brenda Korlison. Sharon led the team last year in assists (130) and service aces, and also tallied 131 digs for the Fighting Squirrels. Thompson is looking for her to continue to be a defensive stats leader as well as also help the team at the net. Brenda Korlison tallied 69 kills last season at the middle blocker position. Korlison also led the team in blocks. Thompson expects her to bring the team kills from the outside position and be one of the leaders on offense.
Another offensive leader will be returner Michaela Beverly who led the team in kills in 2017. A versatile player, she also tallied 143 digs in her first season.
Beverly is joined by classmate Kelley Slack, a rising second-year student-athlete. In just her first year with the Fighting Squirrels, Slack finished with 135 digs and gained valuable college experience.
Nyla Isaac and Melanie Schiavone also return to bring depth to the team. “It has been an adventure watching them develop as volleyball players,” said Thompson. “I’m expecting Nyla to continue to bring depth to the team offensively and Shiavone to bring it defensively.”
Coach Thompson also welcomes seven newcomers to the squad. “I’m excited to have a larger team. It means that we will be able to practice more competitively with one another and that should convert on the court in matches.”
Adding to the offense will be incoming first year student-athletes Adrieanna Vest Turner and Deborah Black. Both are capable middle hitters who did well for their perspective high schools and are excited to bring that energy to the program. Coach Thompson also expects to develop Milan Hunt on the outside. “Hunt has proved that she has the amazing potential to be a fabulous all-around player both at the net and on defense.”
Defensively, the team is looking to Madison Cash for depth. “Cash was an All-State Libero in Virginia,” added Coach Thompson. “I’m eager to see her skills develop as she faces hitters at this next level.”
Savanna McGavock and Rachel Boone will be joining Kelley Slack as setters for the team. Savanna is one of the taller players and may also have a role to play at the net. Boone brings plenty of defensive experience.
“I am really looking forward to this new season and watching the old and new work together,” said Thompson.
The season begins Friday, August 31 at the Eastern Mennonite Invitational. The team will take on Catholic University at 3:00pm then battle Bryn Mawr at 7:00pm.