|Julia Crilly||Rachael Cisto||Stephanie Klug|
|Lizzy Zimmermann||Bailey Woods||Kimberly Marino|
The University of Scranton women’s volleyball team made
steady improvement during Jamie Spangler’s inaugural
season as head coach in 2013.
The Royals won seven of their final 12 matches, advanced to the semifinals of the Landmark Conference tournament for the first time since 2008, and even managed to take a set off of 7-time Landmark champion Juniata College in their semifinal match.
Qualifying for the Landmark tournament will be a much tougher task this year, now that the league has reduced its postseason tournament bids from six teams to four. And while Juniata and Susquehanna University are the clear-cut favorite to earn two of those spots, the other two are up for grabs, according to a preseason poll of the conference’s eight head coaches.
Juniata earned the top spot with 70 points (7 first-place votes) and Susquehanna is next with 52 (1 first-place vote), but the battle for the next two are between four teams separated by a total of just six votes. Catholic University is third (31), followed by league newcomer Elizabethtown (30), Scranton (27), and Moravian (25). Rounding out the poll are Goucher College (14) and the Merchant Marine Academy (7).
Spangler will build the core of this year’s team around senior outside hitter Julia Crilly (Rochester, NY/Aquinas Institute), a three-time All-Landmark Conference selection who is ranked among the Royals’ all-time leaders in eight statistical categories, most notably, for most kills (tied for 4th, 1213) and most service aces (8th, 154).
Other key returnees include juniors Rachael Cisto (Oxford, Conn./Sacred Heart Academy), Stephanie Klug (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood), and Molly Loftus (Mount Carmel, Pa./Our Lady of Lourdes) at middle hitter, junior Lizzy Zimmermann (Livingston, NJ/Livingston) at outside hitter, sophomores Brittany Cafiero (Merrick, NY/Kellenberg Memorial) and Bailey Woods (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) at setter, and juniors Katherine Flanagan (Hatboro, Pa./Archbishop Wood) and Kimberly Marino (Long Valley, NJ/West Morris Central) and sophomore Danielle Cafiero (Merrick, NY/Kellenberg Memorial) at libero.
The Royals will open their 2014 season by hosting Gwynedd-Mercy College and La Roche College at 3 and 9:00 p.m., respectively, on Friday, August 29, in the opening round of the Scranton Invitational at the Long Center. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
To read the conference's official press release, please click here.