Young Spartans Gain Experience, Now Look to 2009

YORK, PA - The York College volleyball team put together a solid 2008 campaign, posting a 19-15 record, including 4-4 in the tough Capital Athletic Conference, with an exceptionally young squad. A majority of the Spartans who saw significant time on the court were either sophomores or freshmen, which bodes well for the green and white in the future.
     “We had a pretty good season,” Spartan head coach Sue DuMars said. “It was an up and down year but overall we were encouraged by the improvement and development from August to November.”
     York began the season winning three straight matches and four of their first five.  The Spartans hit a short lull in the beginning of September, but then won five of six contests during the middle of the month. Winning three straight matches to begin October, the green and white posted a solid 8-4 record during the month providing a preview of the excellent volleyball that could be waiting for the Spartans in the future.
     “We did a lot of good things this season,” DuMars said. “Our players developed, our team developed, and we posted some good wins. Our young players got a lot of experience and I believe our youth this year will prove to be a great thing for next season.”
     Despite their youth, the Spartans will have to replace outside hitter Casi Brough (Hanover, Pa./Spring Grove), the only Spartan not slated to return next season. One of the few multi-year players on the roster, Brough led the green and white in kills with 269, was ranked second on the squad with 258 digs and chipped in 22 blocks.
     “Casi brought a lot to the table for us throughout her time here,” DuMars said. “We will definitely miss her.”
     Headlining the group of young players is All-CAC second-team selection sophomore Alishia Waltermyer (Brogue, Pa./Red Lion). The 5’11” middle blocker and outside hitter finished just behind Brough in kills, recording 255 for the year. An extremely accurate hitter, Waltermyer led the team with a strong .320 hitting percentage and only committed 69 hitting errors in 582 total attempts. Aside from her offensive prowess, she is also one of the top defensive players in the league, notching 91 total blocks including 16 solo efforts.
     “Alishia’s ability at the net gives us a threat both offensively and defensively,” DuMars said. “When Alishia gets hot there is almost no stopping her. Even as opponents keyed-in on her she was able to score and was our go to hitter in crunch time.”
     Junior Amanda Clemens (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest), another of the few Spartan veterans, performed exceptionally well in her first season as York’s top libero. Her 634 digs is the highest total in the CAC, while she ranks within the top 45 players in all of NCAA Division III with her 5.37 digs per game average. She added 29 service aces, the second-highest mark on the squad, and chipped in with 10 kills.
     “Amanda did a great job for us in a new position,” DuMars said. “Her ability to keep plays alive allowed us to win countless points this season. We are all excited to have her be coming back next season.”
     Newcomers Heather Buchar (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle), Sierra Dell (Glen Rock, Pa./Susquehannock), and Alysse Beshore (York, Pa./Northeastern) molded into potent offensive players in just their first season in a Spartan uniform. The trio ranked third, fourth, and fifth on the squad in kills with 209, 188, and 159, respectively.
     Buchar, one of the Spartans most talented freshmen, played in all 34 contests drawing starts in 29 matches. Aside from her 209 kills, the rookie posted a team-best 32 service aces while handing-out 377 assists, the second-highest mark on the squad, and registered 224 digs.
     Dell, a 6-foot middle and outside hitter, saw action in a team-high 125 sets, playing in each of the 34 matches this season. The freshman came in second for the season with a .170 hitting percentage and ranked third in blocks with 78.
     Beshore, a talented sophomore, spent her first season with the Spartans racking up solid numbers. Aside from her 159 kills, Beshore tied Waltermyer for the team-lead in blocks with a total of 91 for the season.
     “These three really came up big for in just their first seasons,” DuMars said of her three talented newcomers. “They each gained an incredible amount of experience this year, while continually improving and stepping up to the speed of college play. They each have tremendous upside that could result in outstanding performances in 2009.”
     Freshmen Cortni Rentzel (Mt. Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) and Julie Coombs (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) provided solid play for the Spartans as they became solid contributors. Dishing out 635 assists, Rentzel played in all 34 matches including 27 starts, while recording 17 service aces and 252 digs. Coombs developed throughout her first collegiate season and became a quality player for the Spartan side. She totaled 107 kills over her 28 matches hitting at a clip of .148.
     “Cortni is a natural leader and did a great job for us setting,” DuMars said. “She is an even better defensive player and will continue to work on both positions in the off-season as her role may change next season. Julie is a natural athlete who made great improvements throughout the season."
     Juniors Jess Smith (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) and Jaclyn Davis (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) will look to continue to provide leadership for the young Spartans while looking to return to their respective pre-injury forms. Smith’s first season back from a knee injury that kept her out of the 2007 campaign, proved strong. Smith saw action in 21 contests notching 14 service aces and 74 digs in just 47 sets. Davis was posting a strong 2008, with 109 kills and eleven service aces through 16 matches, before an injury kept her out the rest of the season. Davis will first look to get healthy and then prepare for her senior campaign.
     “Jess and Jaclyn are each talented players,” DuMars said. “Hopefully they will be able to get fully healthy and be ready for next season.”
     Sophomores Theresa Heintz (Dallas, Pa./Dallas) and Sarah Jackson (Reading, Pa./Holy Name) as well as transfers Amanda Rouillard (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) and Jana Arentz (Hanover, Pa./Hanover) provided quality depth for the Spartans throughout the year. Each will look to have strong workouts over the off-season and come back next year as solid contributors.
    “Theresa, Sarah, Amanda, and Jana are each quality players,” DuMars said. “Their hard work during the year was important for the success that we had. This off-season will be a great opportunity for them to improve and come in strong in 2009.”
     York’s 19-15 record this year was a far cry from their 30-6 campaign just one season ago. However, the bumps that the young Spartan squad endured during the 2008 campaign could prove valuable in 2009.
     “Undoubtedly we were very young this season,” DuMars said. “Even so, we were still able to post a record above .500. That is a testament to the quality players that we have. Next year we will be able to combine that talent with plenty of experience. I believe we are just a few players away from breaking into the national scene."