Ever since its creation in 2005, the women’s volleyball team has struggled to break out into the volleyball world. The team never had more than two subs on the bench, causing most of the players to play entire games.That trend ended this season.
With a whopping 12-player roster, the Spartans’ volleyball program is looking better than ever. With the large roster, and the fact that they have six returners, this year may be their year.
The Spartans return senior powerhouse Jamie Lemieux, who has proven to be Castleton’s all time leader in blocks and kills. Lemieux is already averaging 2.44 kills per game and that number will continue to rise. Lemieux will also be the first ever player to play all four years with the team.
Although the Spartans lost outside hitter Gina Nassivera (who is now an assistant coach), they gained 5′ 10″ freshman Ashley Keppa. Keppa is proving to be a strong presence on the court, averaging one kill per game. She leads the team in digs this season as well, averaging 2.38 digs per game.
The youthful Spartan team looks for leadership in their returners: captains Lemieux and senior Hillary Greenfield, senior Stephanie Kopko, junior Jenny Hill, and Laura Thomas and Tracy Dextraze, both sophomores. With guidance from these six players, the freshmen have much to learn.
Coach Bethany Torrice is excited about the upcoming season.
“I have been very pleased with this year’s recruiting class. Ashley Keppa is a key newcomer as a defensive blocker, as well as on offense.”
Torrice has also been pleased thus far with the teams performance.
“We started really light with some weaker competition. I am very impressed with how we played against Norwich and that made the game for us. It’s so nice to see our returners step up their game.”
This is Torrice’s second season as head coach, and she is looking to improve her career 7-14 record.
Already this season, the Spartans kicked it off with a two game winning streak over Southern Vermont (3-0) and Paul Smith’s (3-0). Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, though, handed them their first loss, winning three games to none. Since that game, they have also lost to Lasell (3-0) and Norwich (3-1). Although they did loose to Norwich, this was the first time they ever took a match from them, which proves to be no easy feat.
The Spartans opened up their conference play this past weekend losing to Husson (3-1) and Maine Maritime Academy (3-0), who were chosen as preseason favorites.
The Spartans’ volleyball team has its first home game in their new home: the newly renovated Glenbrook Gymnasium. That’s right, no more hiking back to a dimly lit SHAPE Gym; it’s the real deal.
With a stacked roster and a new court, the Spartans have a chance at surprising many of their opponents this year.