LANCASTER, Pa. – The Franklin and Marshall volleyball team will begin its 2015 season with a hectic four-match week. The schedule opens up with a match at local rival York, set to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1st.
The week ends with the Crosstown Crossover, which begins on Friday the 4th when the Diplomats host Penn St.-Berks, scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Mayser Center. The following day will see the Diplomats travel to Reading, Pa. for matches against the Blue Jays of Elizabethtown (12:00 p.m.) and the Chargers of Lancaster Bible College (2:00 p.m.).
To watch the season preview video, click here.
Armed with a strong group of returning players and the experience of winning the 2014 Centennial Conference (CC) Title, the Franklin & Marshall women's volleyball team again enters the 2015 season with lofty expectations. Despite graduating a pair of accomplished seniors in Julie Harvey and Caroline Hubbard, head coach Mary Kate Boland expects an experienced group of returners and a talented class of four freshmen to again challenge for the conference title.
Players to Watch
L/DS - Alyssa Sanchez – Sr.
OH - Ellie Ezekiel – Jr.
S - Allison Edelstein - Jr.
RS/MH - Rachel Umberger - Jr.
RS/MH - Cassie Garison - So.
This seasoned group of upperclassmen is lead by senior libero Alyssa Sanchez, a four-year starter at her position. She is joined by fellow senior Kelsey Michenko, a three-year starter at middle blocker. Sanchez was seventh in the conference in digs (434), while Michenko was fourth on the team in hitting percentage (.239).
Headlining the junior class is returning All-American outside hitter Ellie Ezekiel. Ezekiel earned conference, regional, and national honors by leading the Diplomats in kills (335, 2.94 per set) last year as the squad earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. Sophomore Jaclyn Laforgia, third last year in kills (189, 2.30 per set) behind Ezekiel and Harvey, will also have an important role for the Diplomats.
Coach Boland also expects fierce competition for the setter role, contested by a group with athleticism and knowledge of the game. Junior Allison Edelstein, sophomore Danielle Skelly, and freshman Lydia Budd all look to emerge as the organizing force behind F&M's offense.
The Road Ahead
F&M will have to navigate a brutal non-conference schedule in the early portion of the season. The Diplomats will travel to Atlanta, Ga. for the Emory National Invitational on Friday, Sept. 18 and Saturday, Sept. 19; a tournament that will feature matchups with three teams from the 2014 NCAA Elite Eight. Friday will pit the Diplomats against two of the nation's top teams, featuring an 11:30 a.m. contest with preseason No. 1 Calvin before a 4:00 p.m. showdown with No. 2 Emory. The Diplomats will wrap up play on Saturday against Wheaton at 10:00 a.m. before a 2:00 p.m. matchup with No. 8 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
The conference schedule offers no reprieve for the Diplomats, with a typically strong CC expecting to once again consist of multiple regionally-ranked teams. Visits from Swarthmore (Sept. 30 at 7:00 p.m.) and Haverford (Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m.) promise to be pivotal matches.
A new feature to this year's schedule is the "Add to Calendar" button, which allows fans to sync new events and updates directly in their Google, Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook, ICal and additional calendars.
Look for the icon below, which can be accessed at the top-right of the 2015 women's volleyball schedule when viewed on your computer, or bottom-left of all schedules on your mobile device.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.Video
Game 2 Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 Penn St.-Berks at F&M | Lancaster, Pa. | 7:00 p.m. Series Record: F&M leads 3-0 Streak: F&M +3 Last F&M Victory: 25-19, 25-20, 25-11, Aug. 30, 2014 Last PSB Victory: N/A Live Stats | Video (HD)
Game 3 Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 F&M at Elizabethtown | Reading, Pa. | 12:00 p.m. Series Record: F&M leads 27-15 Streak: F&M +4 Last F&M Victory: 25-21, 25-23, 25-27, 25-17, Aug. 30, 2014 Last ETOWN Victory: 25-19, 14-25, 27-29, 25-13, 15-9, Sept. 2, 2009 Game 4 Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 F&M at Lancaster Bible | Reading, Pa. | 2:00 p.m. Series Record: F&M leads 8-0 Streak: F&M +8 Last F&M Victory: 25-20, 25-13, 25-19, Aug. 29, 2014 Last LBC Victory: N/A