The Slippery Rock Women’s volleyball team finished the 2015 season with an overall record of 10-25 and 3-19 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). A season to learn from as The Rock has got back on their feet as they prepare for battle in 2016.
2016 will look slightly different for all competitors in the PSAC. The conference has been split up from its traditional look of east and west division, down to four divisions, or pods, of four. The four pods are the Northwest, Central, Southwest, and Southeast. Slippery Rock will be competing in the Northwest, alongside with Mercyhurst University, Edinboro University and Gannon University.
Head coach Laurie Lokash is in favor of the change in the long run, said, “It will be a lot different, our conference is arguably the best conference. The new alignment will make it easier to find the eight best teams when it comes time for the playoffs, as well as increasing the chances of obtaining an NCAA tournament berth.”
Spring is always an opportunity to learn and develop for all fall sports teams. The volleyball team found a way to really bond and come together as a team. Injuries are inevitable in every sport, and that is no different for the volleyball team as they take the good with the bad and get better.
Coach Lokash noticed not only the team culture in the spring.
“I was really impressed with the consistency of play and the way our girls executed drills throughout spring workouts,” Lokash said. “We look to carry the same level of consistency into the fall season.”
The team will be bringing back three seniors: Leah Wilson, an outside hitter majoring in resort and hospitality management, Jaden Zimmer, a middle hitter majoring in sport management and Cassidy Schoof, an opposite hitter majoring in early childhood education.
“I look forward to watching this group of seniors continue to be leaders on and off the court all year long,” Lokash said.
After transferring from Seton Hill University junior libero Courtney Oberlander looks to continue her success at Slippery Rock as she was eighth in digs in the PSAC last season.
The Rock looks to continue coming together as a team building from the top down. Three freshmen move into their sophomore season this year after impressive rookie seasons last year, those athletes being Kelsey Boyle, Beth Stumpf and Shayla Ray. This season’s freshman class looks to be no different as they all in ready to compete and embody the team culture set in the spring.
Everyone looks to play the best of the best in non-conference play, and this year The Rock is up for that challenge.
“In the past, our non-conference schedule has been rather weak, this year, however, our schedule has stepped it up a notch, as we will play some of the tougher teams in CIAA in Daemen and defending NCAA division II champions West Virginia Wheeling Jesuit,” Lokash said.
After being projected to finish fourth in the PSAC Northwest conference, Slippery Rock would like to exceed the expectations and show that they are not a weak team. The team will play in 13 straight non-conference matchups before opening up play at home against Pitt-Johnstown on Sept. 23rd at the Morrow Field House to open up PSAC play.
“The goal is to make the PSAC tournament, as we look to play well in our pod,” Lokash said. “And it is ultimately all on us as we look to make a run, most importantly we look to stay consistent all through the season.”