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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Volleyball Set for Success

Don’t be fooled by the results of the volleyball team’s recent trip to Virginia to compete in the Virginia Wesleyan Wingate Invitational. Despite a 1-3 start, coach Terry Condon is confident that their road trip has given valuable experience to a team full of youthful exuberance. Thus, the bar has been set high, thanks in large part to the enthusiasm provided by the new faces.

“Our goal is to win the LEC, and go to the NCAA tournament,” Condon said. “This road trip showed us we were better than we thought.”

The Beacons had their plates full of everything but cupcakes in Virginia, as their tournament seeding matched them up with some of Division III’s strongest programs. The Beacons lost to eventual tournament champion North Central College (Ill.) in their second outing and put a scare into Gettysburg College (Va.) before falling to the Bullets, 3-1.

The trip not only encouraged the Lady Beacons and Condon by their play against top-notch teams, but it also served as a good lesson in game strategy that will serve the women well as they approach Little East Conference play.

“We saw some things that we needed to work on, like defensive positioning, defending the fast attack and deep set hitting,” Condon said.

Condon praised several players for jumping out of the gates with strong performances early, only encouraging her hopes for the remainder of the season. Kate McWhorter, Cassy Hanneman and Nina Sullivan were all described as having “solid” showings by Condon, while freshman Molly Rattigan was “even better than anticipated in the middle.”

The squad returns only five players, while featuring seven freshman. While some coaches might worry about a roster featuring predominantly young players, Condon sees it as an opportunity to build a strong program – starting with this season. “The freshman and transfers are coming in with so much experience, so they are ready to step in,” Condon said.

“The new players have adjusted very well to being part of the team.”

However, it’s not all the new players that are making big impacts for the Lady Beacons. “Megan MacAuley has really stepped up and changed positions to libero, and is a big improvement for us,” Condon said of her junior captain. “And Kate White is her steady old self, as well.”

Another returning Beacon that will be looked to for leadership is Alessandra Adamo. The deep setter is the lone senior on the squad and, as a co-captain, she will be looked upon as a role model for the developing UMass squad

Condon’s recruiting roots are spread far and wide as new faces are lining up in the Clark Athletic Center from all over the country. McWhorter and MacAuley are from California, Hanneman hails from Colorado, and freshman Brigid Wendle is an Illinois native. Clearly, the program is serious about making the commitment necessary to compete for a LEC crown in 2008.

The off-season brought nothing but hard work for the Lady Beacons, as the new and returning athletes began to gel in Condon’s system. As a result, the Beacons are a tight-knit unit that appears ready to challenge anyone that might stand in their way of a title.

“The off-season was very strong, as the player’s hard work brought improvement,” Condon said. “All of that hard work has carried over.”

It’s hard to question the leadership, energy or motivation of the Lady Beacons, as the volleyball team is showing poise and promise for the rest of 2008.