The 2010 edition of the York College volleyball squad enters the campaign in a bit of an unfamiliar position. The usually youthful Spartans have three seniors and three juniors that will each be expected to play key roles on a team that has won 67 matches over the last three seasons.
Spartan head coach Sue DuMars believes the returning experience will pay dividends on the floor in 2010.
"This team is probably one of the most experienced that I have had in my time at York," states DuMars who is entering her 15th season at the helm of the Spartan program. "I like the leadership and believe we also have the talent to have a great season."
DuMars will turn to captains Jana Arentz, Heather Bucher, and Cortni Rentzel to provide leadership while seniors Alishia Waltermyer and Alysse Beshore and junior Julie Coombs return as the Spartans have a big core of experienced upperclassmen.
"Jana, Heather, and Cortni have proven to be very strong captains so far. There is a level of accountability that is very positive and strong. In addition to the captains, our upperclassmen also have leadership skills that should enable us to achieve the things I believe this team is capable of this year," says DuMars.
Joining the six upperclassmen are a group of sophomores that also got extensive experience as freshmen. Libero Ashley Rineman, middle hitter Melissa Patterson, and outside hitter Dani Mastroieni round out the Spartan returners.
The nine returners are all talented, on and off the floor, as they each own a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above.
"I believe there is a correlation between success on the floor and success in the classroom. This is a motivated group of kids and that is going to help drive our success this year," states DuMars.
Waltermyer and Beshore will be a pair of huge cogs in the offense. Beshore was a first-team All-CAC selection last year as she tied the school record for single-season attack percentage at .322. Beshore averaged 2.25 kills per game as she notched 270 kills during the year and finished first in the CAC in attack percentage. She was also one of York's top servers as she had 37 service aces and served at a .913 clip. Beshore led the Green and White in points as she accumulated 365.0 points, good for an average of 3.04 points per set.
"Alysse has the ability to repeat as an All-CAC player," says DuMars. "She is a player that has the ability to take over the game offensively and teams have to game-plan for her abilities."
Waltermyer recorded a team-high 315 kills as she hit .231 for the year. She registered a team-high 886 attempts during the season and ranked ninth in the CAC in kills per game during the year. Waltermyer registered 48 total blocks during the year while she also had 76 digs for the Green and White. She finished the season with 353.5 points which was 3.02 points per set, a mark that was second on the team.
"Alishia is moving back to the middle and I think she will flourish there. She has the potential to again be an All-CAC player and can be a dominant force both offensively and defensively," states DuMars.
Arentz is the third Spartan senior that has worked herself into the Spartan plans. She will compete for time as the libero while she can also be a very effective back row player. She finished the season with 178 digs, good for an average of 1.80 while she had a serve receive percentage of .899 in 228 attempts, which was the top mark on the Spartan squad. Arentz was also one of York's top servers as she had 17 aces in 145 attempts while her service percentage was .869.
"I am really pleased with Jana's work, not only on the floor but as a captain. Her leadership has been great and she has worked very hard into making herself into a key part of our defense. I think she is primed for a very good senior year," says DuMars.
Bucher returns to the Spartan line up as a two-year captain for the Green and White. She finished the season with 205 kills as she hit .119, averaging 1.81 kills per game. Bucher was a solid defender as she accumulated 246 digs, good for an average of 2.18 digs per set. She chipped in with 53 assists and 38 service aces for the Spartans. Bucher finished the season with 266 points, good for third on the team.
"Heather is a very good leader who has worked very hard to become a complete player," says DuMars. "She has worked on varying her shots and becoming a more dangerous hitter. Heather is an extremely motivated person."
Rentzel will reprise her role as the Spartans' starting setter in 2010. She led the Spartans with 1013 assists, good for 9.56 helpers per set which ranked her second in the CAC. Rentzel was one of the Spartans' top servers, converting .951 percent of her serves with 31 service aces. She is also a talented defensive player as she collected 247 digs, good for an average of 2.33 digs per set.
"Cortni has also been doing a great job as a captain. It is important when your setter is also a leader. She has continued to get better running the offense and she is a tremendous competitor," says the Spartan mentor.
Coombs is a talented outside hitter that battled an injury last year but enters her junior campaign healthy and ready to have a great season. She finished the campaign with 143 kills, good for an average of 1.23 kills per set. Coombs hit .124 for the year in 458 attempts while she served at 91.9% in her 310 attempts with 14 service aces. Coombs finished with a serve receive percentage of 87.5% in her 471 attempts and played well defensively with 318 digs, good for an average of 2.74 digs per set.
"Julie has the potential to have a huge year for us," states DuMars. "She is a strong hitter and an exceptional passer. Julie also has a great work ethic and a true team-first attitude."
Rineman made a significant impact on the Spartan lineup as a freshman as she started all 32 of the Spartan matches last year. She finished with 562 digs, good for a team-leading 4.68 digs per set while she also finished third in the Capital Athletic Conference in digs per set. Rineman was solid in serve receive as she had a team-high 495 attempts with a serve receive percentage of 88.7%. She served at 83.2% in 374 attempts while she also recorded 41 service aces, good for an average of 0.34 aces per set.
"Ashley is a very talented player and I think she has just scratched the surface of her abilities," says DuMars. "She is our quickest defensive player while she can also play on the outside if needed. Ashley needs to play with confidence to achieve what she is capable of doing."
Patterson played well in her first year in the Green and White. She notched an attack percentage of .210 as she had 144 kills in 396 attempts. Patterson was good at the net as she averaged 0.41 blocks per set with 11 solo blocks and 34 block assists.
"I am excited to see the improvements Melissa made for this year," states DuMars. "She has worked hard on her strength and speed in the offseason and should be a major contributor at the net for us this year. She is one of the underclassmen that got very valuable experience last year."
Mastroieni comes into the preseason as one of the most improved players in camp. In limited court time as a freshman, she had 23 kills in her 23 sets played and did not have a serve receive error in her nine attempts last year. Mastroieni notched 11 digs and 10 blocks for the season.
"Dani has a ton of talent and has worked very hard to make herself into a factor for us this year," says DuMars. "She has a great drive and a fire to make herself into the best player she can be. Dani is a very strong outside hitter that should compete for significant floor time this year."
Joining the nine returners are five newcomers to the squad. Freshmen Jessica Moyer, Alleigh Dunagan, Brittnee Siegman, Kristin Sargente, and Jaclyn Reichard give DuMars a strong class that will have the chance to contribute during the year.
Moyer is an outside hitter that has a strong skill set and a powerful swing. She will be in the mix for a starting position and has been impressive in early practices. Dunagan is a versatile player that can play either on the left or right side. She is another hitter with a strong swing that could be in the mix for court time as a freshman. Siegman has been a pleasant surprise to the coaching staff as she is a quick and athletic player that has natural ability and should be able to work her way onto the floor during the year. Sargente is a libero and back row specialist with a powerful serve. She is a good passer who has the ability to get on the floor as a freshman. Reichard is a versatile player that is making the adjustment to setting for the Green and White. She has the ability to play all over the floor and provides great depth for York.
"I really like this class," says DuMars. "They have worked hard and taken to the leadership of our upperclassmen. They each bring a number of positive things to the squad and I think our depth is as good as it has been in a number of years. I am excited to see these freshman on the floor in a game situation."
DuMars is pleased with the work of her returners in the offseason.
"This group of returners has worked as hard as any team I have had at York. They have been dedicated in the weight room and on the court. I am excited to get them out on the floor and work towards having a great year. They are motivated by a number of close games last year including a loss in the CAC semifinals when they had the chance to make it to the finals. This team believes they are good enough to be a conference champion. Now all we have to do is go out, work hard and put ourselves in a position to make that a reality."
The Spartans begin the season as road warriors as they play their first eight dates, which could be as many as 18 contests, before opening the home season on September 24 at the Spartan Invitational at Charles Wolf Gymnasium.