Coming off a successful 2000 season (22-14, 8-2 in NESCAC), which saw ittie for first-place in the NESCAC and advance to the ECAC Division III tournament, Volleyball has high hopes for a successful 2001 campaign.
These hopes have thus far been validated by a dominating performance at the Western New England College (WNEC) Tournament.
The 2001 Ephs (4-0) were nearly flawless all weekend long and even saw Joyia Chadwick ’05 win tournament MVP honors. Co-captain Carmel Lyons ’03 and Margaret Demment ’05 were also named to the all-Tournament team.
Williams dominated its first round opponent, St. Joseph’s College, in three games (30-9, 30-12, 30-17). The second round went just as smoothly for the Ephwomen, as they defeated Southern New Hampshire College, again in straight games (30-16, 30-19, 30-27). The Ephs defeated Western New England College (30-15, 30-14, 32-20) to advance to the Championship match.
Waiting for them was Plymouth State, also undefeated in three matches. The Yellowjackets turned out to be little match for the powerful Eph team, which put them away in three games (30-18, 30-21, 30-23).
Though the Ephs lost two key players to graduation, Carolyn Ryan ’01 and Shekinah Cohn ’01, it is clear that the rest of the team is prepared to step up and fill their shoes.
Co-captain Diane Williams ’02, a track and field all-American, will be a crucial veteran influence on the young team. Three-quarters of the team’s roster is made up of first years and sophomores.
Fran Vandermeer, head coach of volleyball, remains unconcerned: “Our returning players made significant contributions last season and the players joining our program will fill key positions to give us the necessary blend of leadership, experience, talent and depth to reach our team goals this fall.”
The key to the season could very well lie in the team’s ability to play strong defense game-in and game-out. Williams, a noted defensive specialist, will be a crucial part of this equation.
“Diane’s commitment to the team’s success is one of her many intangibles that can’t be measured on a stat sheet,” said Vandermeer. “She picks us up when we’re down and works as hard on the key ingredients to our success such as team chemistry and cohesion as she does on physical skills.”
Lyons will be equally important to the team’s success this year. Lyons’ collegiate career has been an exemplary one. She was among the conference leaders in assists (1,082) and digs (3.27 a game) last year. In addition, she led the Ephs with 81 aces.
“Carmel is one of the most intense, self-motivated competitors I have ever coached,” said Vandermeer. “Her desire to succeed is unsurpassed and she has the talent to back it up. She epitomizes unselfish play and always puts the needs of the team above her individual goals.”
With all of this talent, and unblemished early season results, Eph volleyball fans can expect an exciting season of action. The Ephs next play at Skidmore on Wednesday at 7 p.m.