Freshmen to play big role for women’s volleyball this season

Published by The Rocket, Author: Zach Bonnette - Rocket Contributor, Date: August 31, 2018

After a disappointing 11-19 campaign in 2017, Coach Laurie Lokash enters her 35th season at Slippery Rock looking to take her young squad to the next level this year.

With promising young talent and a changing culture, SRU volleyball may have all the necessary pieces to take the next step and Coach Lokash seems to have a plan to put those pieces together. 

“I see a lot of potential in them, yet, any freshman who comes in, the game may need to be slowed down for them,” Lokash said. “Say for example you have someone who comes in as an outside hitter. It is possible to put them into three rotations so that they can focus on that role.”

It is no doubt that the competition is much fiercer at the collegiate level compared to high school, so easing young players into the tough competition by giving specific roles is essential. As well as having young talent, Coach Lokash named a few players who she expects to have a big impact this season. 

“I think Zoe Rivet has grown a lot over the past season. Shayla Ray and Erinn Kahoe had a very good spring for us. They were very difficult for opponents to stop in our spring tournaments,” Lokash said.

It is very evident that all three athletes mentioned could wreak havoc this season, as each one performed extremely well in 2017. Junior Zoe Rivet is now the most experienced setter on SRU’s roster and last year as a sophomore she led the team with 536 assists. As well as leading the team in assists, Rivet also proved to be a dangerous server as she led the team in aces for the last two seasons as well. Senior Shayla Ray, who is one of only three seniors on the team, is coming off her best season in which she set personal records in kills (189), blocks (80), and attack percentage (.252). Sophomore Erinn Kahoe, who is one of the team’s most talented underclassmen, ranked second among PSAC rookies in blocks (80), fourth in kills (222) and fifth in attack percentage (.213). 

All three athletes mentioned had a very productive 2017 season, but Coach Lokash was quick to point out that the whole team will need to perform to have success. “If all goes well, we may see some big numbers from those ladies, but that will go hand in hand with the outside hitters being able to put balls away to open up their game and vice versa.”  

Although it looks as though the Green and White are brimming with talent, it remains to be seen if SRU can come out of the gates running and maintain that momentum. 

Rock volleyball will open the season this weekend, at the PSAC/MEC crossover and will take on 4 opponents during that time, with a double header coming on Friday and Saturday, each game being hosted in West Virginia. SRU has historically performed well against MEC competition, going 77-52 in program history. 

“It is our goal to always do better than the year before,” Lokash said. “We started out strong last season and did not end the season as we would have liked. This year we have a strong schedule, each team we play within the region are great, and the PSAC is strong as always. This season we need to establish our own level and stay with it.” 

SRU volleyball will play in the Atlantic Region Crossover next weekend before opening conference play at West Chester University on Friday, September 14th before finally returning home to play another PSAC foe in Kutztown on Friday, September 21st. 


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