CHESTERTOWN, Md. – Since the start of the 2013 season, the Washington College volleyball program has won 67 matches, the most in any four-year span since winning 73 from 1990-93. However, despite the overall record success the goal of reaching the Centennial Conference Tournament continues to elude the Shorewomen. This season the Shorewomen seek to reach their first-ever Centennial Conference Tournament and notch their fourth winning season in five years under fifth-year head coach Jamie Leventry as they seek to improve on their 12-13 overall mark and 3-7 conference record from 2016.
The senior class is five deep for the 2017 season. Setter Taylor Horan (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma). Horan handed out 896 assists last season to lead the team and had career highs in digs (287) and kills (65). In the conference, she ranked third in assists per set (8.96) and fourth in assists. Horan had 14 double-doubles in 2016 and is third all-time in program history in helpers with 2,519 and could break the program record for helpers this season.
Middle hitter Alaina Geissberger (Lake Villa, Ill./Grayslake North) has become one of the premier middle hitters in the conference as she led the Centennial in 2016 in blocks (95), blocks per set (1.0) and assisted blocks (70), ranked fourth in solo blocks (25) and eighth in hitting percentage (.262). She was the only player in the Centennial to average 1.0 blocks per set last season.
Defensive specialist Sarah Bentley (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) put together a strong junior season en route to winning the Team Most Improved Player last year. She tallied career bests in digs (175), digs per set (2.06), service aces (27) and matches played (25). She had seven matches of 10 or more digs last season, including four in the team's final six matches of the year.
Rounding out the senior class are right-side hitter Emily Houck (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh) and Amy Rohn (Paoli, Pa./Conestoga). Houck contributed with 37 kills, 25 digs and 12 service aces in 14 matches last season, including a career-high five aces in a win at Bryn Mawr. Rohn had a personal-best 98 digs and 20 aces in 23 matches last fall. Rohn had a pair of double digit dig matches in 2016.
Marino, who was an All-Centennial Conference second team selection in 2016 led the team in kills (274) and kills per set (3.56) despite missing five matches due to injury. She was second on the squad in hitting percentage (.187) and third in digs (2.51) and blocks (0.36) per set as she was named the Most Valuable Player on the squad. In the conference, she ranked third kills per set, fourth in points per set (4.0) and eighth in solo blocks (13). 13 of her 28 rejections were of the solo variety and she had 11 double-doubles in 20 matches played in 2016.
Baden was third on the team in kills (196) and blocks (31) last fall. She had a stretch of four straight matches with double figures in kills, including a career-best 18 at Gettysburg last September, and had seven total contests of 10 or more kills.
The sophomore class consists of outside hitter/defensive specialist Cassie Kowalski (Wilmington, Del./Delaware Military Academy) and defensive specialist Olivia Portera (Parkton, Md./Institute of Notre Dame).
Kowalski had 237 kills and averaged 2.63 kills per set, good for second on the team. She was second on the squad in aces per set (0.38) and aces (34). She was one of six players on the team last year to tally 20 or more blocks as she had 22. The sophomore had 126 digs last season and had a pair of double-doubles, which were done in consecutive matches against Arcadia and Catholic. Portera got into six matches last year and tallied six digs.
Seven freshmen will represent the 2017 version of Shorewomen Volleyball. The seven are right-side hitter Laura Cochrane (Southampton, Pa./William Tennant), defensive specialist/setter Abby Hilty (Annandale, N.J./North Hunterdon), middle hitter Kylie Peets (Salmon, Idaho/Salmon), middle hitter Maggie Pietrucha (Denville, N.J./Villa Walsh Academy), middle hitter Isabella Sansanelli (East Northport, N.Y./Elwood-John H. Glenn), outside hitter Abby Smith (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) and setter/right-side hitter Maria Summerville (Tampa, Fla./Brooks DeBartolo).
Leventry is joined on the bench for the third consecutive year by assistant coach Morgan Hoover.
Washington for the second straight year will open its season on Friday, September 1 at the DeSales Invitational where they will play Gwynedd-Mercy (5:00 p.m.) and Baruch (7:00 p.m.) in the first day of the two-day invitational. The next day during the second and final day of the invitational, the Shorewomen will play host DeSales (12:00 p.m.) and Rutgers-Camden (2:00 p.m.). The squad will open its home slate on September 9 in a tri-match against Shenandoah (11:00 a.m.) and Notre Dame (Md.) (3:00 p.m.). The Shorewomen will open Centennial Conference play at home against Gettysburg on September 16 at noon as part of a tri-match against Rosemont which will take place at 4:00 p.m. In conference play, Washington will host Gettysburg, reigning conference champion Johns Hopkins (September 27), Franklin & Marshall (October 14), Swarthmore (October 17), and Ursinus (October 25) and will travel to Bryn Mawr (September 20), McDaniel (September 30), Dickinson (October 7), Haverford (October 11) and Muhlenberg (October 28). Out of conference, in addition to Notre Dame (Md.), Rosemont and Shenandoah, WC will host Catholic (September 13), Marymount (October 4), Alvernia on October 14 as part of a tri-match with F&M and Elizabethtown and Hood on October 21. Washington will step outside of CC play to play at Goucher (September 5) and Arcadia (September 22). They will also play SUNY Canton at Arcadia (September 22), Elizabethtown and New Rochelle at Arcadia (September 23) and Marywood at McDaniel (September 30). Washington has 13 home matches, eight road matches and seven neutral site contests. The 13 home contests are the most since 1993 when the team hosted 18 matches.