Strong veterans + a talented group of
incoming players = a highly successful 2009 season. That is a
formula that the York College volleyball squad hopes will work for
the upcoming season.
Spartan head coach Sue DuMars begins her 14th season at the helm of the program looking to build on a 19-win season in 2008. DuMars welcomes back a strong core of returning players, many of whom earned extensive experience last season.
DuMars has three seniors on this year’s squad as outside hitter Jaclyn Davis, libero Amanda Clemens, and setter Amanda Rouillard give the Spartans steady leadership. Juniors Alishia
Waltermyer, Sarah Jackson, Jana Arentz, and Alysse Beshore provide DuMars with a deep class while the sophomore group of Heather Bucher, Heather Toth, Cortni Rentzel, and Julie Coombs all got significant time as freshmen, giving them valuable experience in preparation for 2009.
The Spartan recruiting class includes middle hitter Melissa Patterson, outside hitter Ashley Rineman, and middle hitter Meaghan Jackson. DuMars is very high on the class that she hopes can get the Spartans over the top and earn their first conference title since 1997.
“I am very excited about the composition of this team,” says DuMars. “I believe practices will be highly competitive as the players will push each other for floor time. We will have as much depth and size as we have had here during my tenure at York. I think our talent level is very strong and should be as good as we have ever had.”
The Spartans will also have a great deal of versatility with their lineup this year. A number of players can play multiple positions giving DuMars the ability to mix and match lineups based on how the Spartans are playing and what they need.
DuMars will turn to Waltermyer to lead the Spartan attack in the middle. Waltermyer is the Spartans’ returning All-CAC player and she should again be one of the top players in the conference and the league. Waltermyer is a very strong offensive threat who finished third in the CAC in attack percentage. Waltermyer hit .320 with 2.33 kills and 0.85 blocks per set. Waltermyer paced the Spartans as she averaged 2.96 points per set
“Alishia is one of the top players in our league.” says DuMars. “She had a fantastic sophomore year and she continues to get better with her strong work ethic. Alishia has a strong desire to be a great player, and she expects to play great every match.”
Waltermyer will be joined in the middle by Beshore, and Patterson. Beshore had a good first year in the Green and White as she played in 33 matches, starting 32 of those contests. She hit .208 and averaged 1.3 kills and 1.75 points per set. Patterson is an experienced middle hitter from South River High School. She has extensive club experience and brings a solid 6’1” frame to the Spartan program.
“I am optimistic about the ability and depth we have in the middle,” states DuMars. “We should be strong and deep in the middle this year.”
DuMars will also have a wealth of depth on the outside as York features a number of experienced hitters. Bucher moves to the outside after spending most of last season setting for the Green and White. She played in all 34 matches last year as she hit .145 with 1.68 kills, 3.06 assists, and 1.77digs per set. Bucher finished last year averaging 2.20 points per set. She will be one of the Spartans’ captains this year as her determination and work ethic help make her a core member of the program.
“Heather has the potential to be one of the most explosive players in the CAC,” states DuMars. “She is very athletic and strong while her understanding of the game is also good. She has the potential to be one of the top players in our league as a sophomore.”
Joining Bucher on the outside are Davis, Toth, Coombs, Rineman, and Meaghan Jackson.
Davis returns to the Spartan lineup after suffering a season ending injury early in 2008. Davis played in 16 matches as she had a .147 attack percentage while she averaged 1.47 kills and 1.76 digs per set. Davis finished the year averaging 2.30 points per set. Toth missed all of last year due to injury and she will move to the outside after spending her freshman year as a middle hitter. Toth played in all 36 matches in 2007 as she hit .162 with 1.39 kills per set. Toth also contributed 0.58 blocks per set. Coombs had a very solid freshman year in which she hit .146 in 28 matches. She averaged 1.47 kills per set during her freshman campaign.
“Our returning outside hitters are strong and focused,” says DuMars. “I am happy how they played in the spring, and I have some high expectations for their play in the fall. I think we are in good shape in terms of talent and depth.”
Rineman enters the Spartan program as a freshman that will have the ability to contribute immediately. Rineman comes to York from Delone Catholic and brings extensive club experience to the program. She is a very dynamic and exciting player that is a great all-around player. Jackson enters the Spartan program as a player that was a middle hitter at Goshen Central High School but she will move to the outside for the Spartans. She is a player that is very focused and driven and will compete for time in the Spartan rotation.
The Spartans should also be very strong defensively as Clemens returns to the lineup and will be pushed by Rentzel for the starting libero position. Joining Clemens and Rentzel are Arentz and Sarah Jackson.
Clemens finished last year ranked second in the CAC in digs per set at 5.39. She is a vocal leader on the floor that is also highly competitive. Rentzel moves to libero after spending most of last year as one of the Spartan setters. Rentzel played in all 34 matches last year as she averaged 5.31 assists and 2.14 digs per set. The two will compete for the starting job but both should get significant time during the course of the season. Jackson, a Spartan captain in 2009, is a very intelligent player that should see most of her time as a back row player. She is a good athlete that has a great understanding of the game. Arentz saw action in 16 matches last year as she will compete for time in the back row.
“We are in very capable hands defensively,” comments the 14-year Spartan mentor. “We have experience and talent which should provide for outstanding defense and passing. Amanda was very strong last year, and Cortni is a very athletic player that covers a good deal of ground.”
DuMars will turn the setting duties over to Rouillard. Rouillard provides the Spartans with a dedicated worker with experience. She has worked very hard in the offseason to put herself in position to compete for the starting job. Rouillard played in 18 matches last season, averaging 4.18 assists per set.
“I like our depth at setter,” states DuMars. “Amanda brings experience and a desire to shoulder the load while we also have Cortni and Heather that could move back to setter if we needed to make a move like that. Amanda has worked very hard heading into her senior year and is primed to have a great final season.”
DuMars is excited about the potential of her 2009 squad.
“I am not sure what our record will be at the end of the season but I fully expect to be in contention for a CAC title. We are still a young team, but I feel very comfortable with our talent and our leadership. We have the potential to have an outstanding season, but we need to work very hard every day from the start of preseason practice through our final game of the year. I expect us to improve as a team each and every day. If we can do that, we will achieve the goals we have set for the season.”