This season, the Slippery Rock women’s volleyball team finished the 2016 season with a record of 13-19 overall and a 5-13 record in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) competition. The Rock finished last in the PSAC-Northwest division, finishing behind Gannon University (28-3), Edinboro University (23-8) and Mercyhurst University (15-14).
Though to many a season like this would be seen as disappointing, head coach Laurie Lokash thinks otherwise. She is excited to continue making improvements for next year.
“This season we tried a 5-1; 5-2 offense. I always said I didn’t want to employ a 5-1 offense without a pin to pin middle,” Lokash said. “I think Brooke Bostwick has developed into that”.
The junior middle hitter Bostwick played in 107 sets this season, finishing second on the team in kills with 232 and leading the team in blocks with 74. Leading the team in kills was senior outside hitter Leah Jones. Jones finished her career at The Rock by leading the team in kills with 319 and finishing second on the team in both serving aces (27) and dig (389).
Leading the team in serving aces was freshman setter Zoe Rivet with 37 and leading the team in digs was junior defensive specialist Courtney Oberlander with 648. Rivet had the seventh most serving aces in the entire PSAC and Oberlander had the second most digs in the entire PSAC. freshman middle hitter Mattie Taggart finished sixth in the PSAC in blocks per set with 0.88 (51 total). Rivet also finished first on the team in assists with 566, with junior setter Haley Definbaugh finishing behind her with 471 assists.
A few more reasons to be optimistic about the 2017 team are that with only three seniors leaving from the class of 2016 and a strong group of freshman coming in, Lokash is excited about the future of the team.
“One of the things that draw recruits to us is our kids. The environment that our kids create for the recruits when they come in is one that makes them want to come and play in an atmosphere like this”.
Other than Jones, who is graduating, the Green and White will return all players who saw time in more than 90 sets this year. Oberlander, Bostwick, Rivet, Definbaugh and junior defensive specialist Kristen C. Smith will all be back for The Rock in 2017.
Though the record may not reflect a bright future for the women’s volleyball team, Coach Lokash sees it as an opportunity for the team to learn, grow, and continue the theme of this year’s turn around, accountability.
“I think that started to emerge and people started to think along those lines and it’s up to us to keep moving forward.”