Strong volleyball senior class moves into new season

Kendall Johnson - Bill Smith

Kendall Johnson is one of SU’s most important players, already contributing early in the season with 38 kills and 15 blocked shots in the opening weekend.

Shippensburg University’s volleyball team is set to begin the 2018 season with high hopes of another successful season. Led by coach Leanne Piscotty, the Raiders went 21–12 overall last year and 13–5 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). 

The Raiders have qualified for the NCAA tournament five times in the last six seasons, including three in a row. SU has also created a milestone of reaching the PSAC tournament in 11 consecutive seasons. 

The Raiders have posted a 152–68 record since the start of the 2012 season. They have also had six consecutive winning seasons, posting a .691 winning percentage during that stretch. Of the 18 players on the roster for 2018, 15 are returners, since SU did not have a senior on last year’s team.

The team enters 2018 with four freshmen in the program, including Dana Roberts who is coming off a redshirt year and looks to contribute this year as an outside hitter. The other freshmen include Syera McCormick, Joelle Schultz and Lydia Bauer. 

SU’s lineup includes back-to-back PSAC Freshman of the Year award winners in junior middle hitter Samantha Webber, who was also named to the 2017 All-PSAC First Team, and sophomore setter Emily Hangen, the 2017 Freshman of the Year, who earned All-PSAC Second Team honors. 

SU’s outside hitter, Morgan DeFloria, is one of the four seniors on this year’s team. DeFloria is a two-time All-PSAC player and was also named to the All-PSAC Second Team and NCAA Atlantic Region All-Tournament Team last season, finishing with a team-high of 386 kills. 

Courtney Malott is a staple on the outside and another of the team’s seniors. She has produced more than 1,000 digs in her career along with 443 kills. Another of SU’s capable seniors is Gabriella Johnson, a player who totaled 392 kills, 590 digs, 92 blocks and 56 aces through her first two seasons as a Raider. 

She is joined by Kendall Johnson, a middle blocker and hitter, who has recorded 487 kills, 173 blocks and hit .239 through her first two seasons. Megan Forstburg is also among the SU juniors and has solidified the Raider defense with a team-high 554 digs last season and has totaled 876 digs through two seasons. 

While most of the starters from last year are returning, a group of other players hope to compete for playing time or a spot in the lineup. Those players include sophomore Alana Pergine, who was impressive in her first year, Gianna Sigado, who also saw some time as a freshman, and Megan McDonald, who was a reliable specialist server last season. 

The Raiders got off to a decent start in their opening weekend, posting a 2–2 record at the Ashland Invitational in Ohio, winning against Nova Southeastern University in their opening match and against Malone University in the final match of the weekend. DeFloria led the team with 55 kills in the four-game series, and Hangen had 147 assists.

The team will be back in action this weekend in West Virginia at the PSAC/Mountain East Crossover. The first match of the four-game invitational will be against Urbana University on Friday at 1 p.m.

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