YORK, PA – The York College volleyball squad enters the 2017 with high expectations after a break-out 21-win season last fall. Head coach Dan Mickle, who took over for Tim Bonitz in August, welcomes back a strong core of returners in addition to a four-member freshman class who will give York their deepest team in years.
2016 Record: 21-10
2016 Capital Athletic Conference Record: 4-5 (Sixth of 10 Teams)
2016 Post Season: Lost to #3 Christopher Newport, 3-0 in CAC First Round
Returning Starters / Lost: 3 / 3
Returning Letterwinners / Lost: 9 / 6
Head Coach: Dan Mickle (1st Season as Head Coach, 5th Season at York)
Here is a position by position look at the 2017 Spartan squad:
Mickle has a strong group of outside hitters. It's a group that is experienced and deep. The outside hitter groups include Brooke Krebs, Sarah Figgs, Katie Hawxhurst, Tyler Williams, and Jordyn Cotone.
Krebs headlines this group as she led the Green and White in kills per game at 2.35 per game. She hit .185 in 547 attempts last fall. Krebs tallied 219 points, good for 2.8 per game. She had 177 digs, 23 blocks, and 23 service aces.
Figgs missed the entire 2016 campaign due to an injury but has bounced back better than ever as Mickle expects her to play an important role in the Spartan offense this fall.
Hawxhurst saw action in 16 matches as a freshman last fall. She hit .226 with 26 kills in 62 attempts. She added 14 digs, five blocks and three service aces.
Williams comes to the Spartan program from Susquehannock High School while Cotone is from Our Lady of Mercy Academy in New York.
"I am happy with the depth of our outside hitting group," says Mickle. "I am very excited to see how this group progresses as the season goes along. I think these hitters can provide us with the ability to consistently finish off good opportunities."
OPPOSITE SIDE HITTERS
The opposite side hitter will be held down by junior Eryn Brady and sophomore Hannah Siaurusaitis. Brady is one of the most experienced Spartans on this year's squad as she has played in 214 sets in 61 career matches. She hit .278 last season, with 232 kills and 80 blocks. Brady notched 278 points, good for 2.8 points per set.
Siaurusaitis overcame an early season injury and came on strong at the end of her freshman year. She finished the year playing nine matches as she hit .120 with 22 kills while she also had six blocks, two assists, and a trio of digs.
Williams will also have an opportunity to see time as an opposite.
"Eryn and Hanna are both talented players," says Mickle. "They have both had strong preseason camps and I expect them both to have good seasons."
Mickle has a strong set of middle hitters led by sophomore Madyson Whitcomb. Whitcomb had an outstanding first year in the Green and White. She played in and started 30 matches for the Spartans while she tied for the team high with 101 sets played. Whitcomb hit .283 with 224 kills in 562 attempts. She also had a team-high 117 total blocks, good for 1.16 per set.
"Mady had a great freshman year last year and I think she is better this year," says Mickle. "Cheyenne and Kierstin will both contribute this year as well. I expect us to be very strong and dynamic in the middle."
The Spartans have a trio of setters led by sophomore Gabby Emeigh. Emeigh played in 97 sets last year as handed out 370 assists, notched 29 kills, 37 service aces, and 176 digs. McCann saw action in 10 matches including one start. She averaged 3.11 assists per game while she also totaled five aces, three kills, and five digs. Freshman Elizabeth Pyles comes to the Spartan program from Eastern York High School.
"Our setters are a group who really understand how to run our offense," says Mickle. "Our ability to run various tempos will aid our effectiveness offensively this fall."
Mickle welcomes back a pair of stellar defenders in libero Alexis Harbold and defensive specialist Heather Secrist to the Spartans' back line. Joining the junior duo is freshman Emily Pupo, who hails from Richardson, Texas.
Harbold was third in the league in digs per set last year at 4.58 digs per game. She finished 12th in the conference in total service aces as she drilled 38 aces during the year. Harbold served at over 86% last fall.
Secrist totaled 145 digs in 68 sets played last year, good for an average of 2.13 digs per game.
"We are very solid on the back line," says Mickle. "Lex had a good year last year and she looks ready for a great season. Heather and Emily are both talented and give us great depth on defense."
York opens the season with a trip to Bethlehem, PA to play in the 15th Annual Greyhound Premiere Invitational hosted by Moravian College. The Spartans play Pitt-Bradford and Bard on Friday, September 1 to open the campaign. York concludes the tournament with matches against Alvernia and Moravian on Saturday. York's last trip to Bethlehem resulted in a 2-2 tournament in 2014. The Spartans make their 2017 home debut on Monday, September 11 when they host Elizabethtown at 7:00 pm.
The Spartans host their annual York College Spartan Invitational on Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23. The eight team tournament features a traditionally strong field. York will face King's and Bethany (W.V.) on Friday night followed by matches against St. Vincent and Albright on Saturday.