KSC Volleyball Looks to Return to Championship Form; Video Interview with Coach Weiner and Laurie Whalen
KEENE, N.H. 8/26/10 – The Keene State College volleyball team enters the 2010 season after a fourth place finish in the Little East Conference and an 18-17 overall record under sixth-year head coach Bob Weiner. The Owls return 1st Team All-Conference middle blocker Ellyse Davis (Londonderry, N.H.) and 2nd Team All-Conference outside hitter Bridget O’Bryant to keep up with a very talented conference and region.
KSC will also look to build on a very successful spring season, where the Owls developed a new offensive and defensive system that will allow his roster to flourish. “A lot of our players did a fantastic job in spring ball,” continued Weiner. “We had games against Southern N.H., Saint Michael’s, Franklin Pierce and the University of New England and the new system worked for us really well.”
Besides Davis and O’Bryant, the Owls welcome back sophomore Kristen Girard (Tivoli, N.Y.) from the 2008 LEC Championship team after taking a year off last season. “Bringing Kristen back will be a huge help for us,” said Weiner. “She is a fantastic all-around player and will be a great addition in our new system.”
Captaining the Owls will be senior defensive specialist Sammy Datti (Durham, N.H.), O’Bryant and junior setter Laurie Whalen (Niantic, Conn.). “I have decided to call Sammy my ‘little general’ on the floor because of her outstanding leadership qualities and how much she stepped up her game this spring. Laurie has waited two years to quaterback the offense,” said Weiner. “She is really confident and I am excited to see what she will do this year.”
Also becoming a huge part of the offense will be sophomore setter Emily Halbert (Long Valley, N.J.). “Emily was a great surprise in spring ball in that she proved to the team that she can be a great setter,” said Weiner. “She will play a big role in our new system.”
Joining KSC this season from a familiar conference opponent is sophomore right side hitter Ali Facchini (Niantic, Conn.). “Ali comes to us from Eastern Conn. State and can hit the ball well,” said Weiner. “She is a big and strong lefty who had 150 kills last year and will get a good amount of swings for us this season.”
Freshman Madison Macaruso (Cranston, R.I.) and Amy Bethge (Fairfield, Conn.) will look to get some solid playing time at middle blocker for the Owls in their first campaign. “Madison played a high level club program and has the build to be a great middle blocker. Amy really takes pride in her blocking and will only get better with more experience.”
When asked about the conference this season, Coach Weiner firmly believes that Little East Conference volleyball has an easy pattern to recognize. “Our conference history shows that there is always a team at the top and then everyone else,” said Weiner. “In 2007 and 2008 we were that team, and now we return seven players from that NCAA squad and are looking forward to battling to get back to the top.”
The Owls open up their season at home against Colby Sawyer on Thursday, September 2nd at Spaulding Gymnasium.