BY CARMINE GERRITY-GEMEI
In a preseason Landmark Conference coach’s poll, The University’s women’s volleyball team was ranked fifth out of seven teams. Last season, the women’s volleyball team finished fifth in the conference. They also finished with a 20-15 record, the most wins for the team since 2008. The team is now without the record-setting senior class that helped lead it to that mark. Marissa Every, the libero on last year’s team, even set the all-time school record for career digs.
Junior co-captain and outside hitter Julia Crilly said that it will take time to replace the players the team lost last year.
“Getting them [the first-year players] to fill the shoes of the seniors that we lost will be difficult, but they’re really eager to learn, which is great,” Crilly said. “They want to get good. They want to know how to play the level we want to play.”
Who are the new additions to the team? Five first-year players and a head coach. Over the summer break, Jamie Spangler was hired to coach the women.
Spangler graduated in 2005 from Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. Spangler served as the president of the Pittsburgh men’s club volleyball team from 2007 to 2009. He also was the head coach of the Pittsburgh women’s volleyball club team from 2009 to 2012.
He spent 2012-2013 as the head boy’s and girl’s volleyball coach at Abington Heights. Spangler led the Lady Comets to a 16-4 record and a runner-up finish in District 2 last fall. He also led the boys to a 12-3 record and second place in the Lackawanna League.
Spangler, who said he picked up volleyball his first-year of high school to keep busy during the soccer offseason, chose to begin coaching to stay involved with volleyball after his high school playing days.
“I contacted the athletic director [at Scranton] about possibly talking about it [the head coaching position]. They told me more about it, and it was a good fit,” Spangler said.
The team has started its 35-match season 3-6 this year. Spangler said the team’s schedule is tough this year, and he wants the team to continue to get better.
“I think that there is definite improvement from game to game,” he said. “We left a couple wins that we could’ve had. We lost a lot of players last year, but it’s definitely coming together.”
Crilly said the team has a lot of potential, but still has a way to go to reach where it could be.
Crilly also commented on the team’s goals for the season.
“To win conferences and go to the [NCAA] tournament, but really just to reach the potential that I see that we have, and to get to the high level of volleyball that I want to play and we all want to play,” she said.
The women’s volleyball team will travel to Neumann University in Aston to play two matches Friday and two matches Saturday in the Neumann Invitational.
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