Shippensburg University’s senior volleyball setter had big aspirations coming into her collegiate career. On Tuesday, she accomplished one of her biggest goals.
In a match against Millersville University, Maura Nolan broke the career-record for assists in SU history, breaking Maureen “Bean” DuVall’s record of 4,475 assists. Nolan racked up 32 assists in the win, giving her 4,481 assists all-time. Her mark of 4,481 assists places her ninth in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) history.
“It was awesome, I was super excited,” Nolan said. “This is one of the goals I had coming into Shippensburg as a freshman. Seeing it come to fruition was great.”
Among other goals that Nolan had set coming into SU was to win a PSAC Championship.
“I wanted to be a PSAC Champion and seeing that come, and winning Player of the Week the same week that I broke the record was awesome,” Nolan said.
Nolan is particularly proud of how her continued hard work and dedication on the court has paid off.
“It meant a lot seeing [the] hard work pay off and obviously I couldn’t have done any of it without my team,” Nolan said. “I wouldn’t have any sets to set if the passes weren’t up and I wouldn’t have any assists if the hitters couldn’t get it done up at the net so I have to give that to my team.”
For a setter to be great, she needs a player who relentlessly attacks the net and is able to finish off sets. Over the last two seasons, Nolan has built that special connection with sophomore Morgan DeFloria. This season, DeFloria leads SU with 174 kills.
“It’s a great feeling,” DeFloria said of Nolan breaking the record.
“Maura is a great setter. She can do anything with any type of pass, its just got to be up. She’s definitely one of the best setters if not the best setter I’ve ever had,” DeFloria said.
SU coach Leanne Piscotty also had kind words to say about her senior setter.
“Well it was wonderful. Certainly we knew it was going to happen, since we have a long way to go we knew she would certainly get it,” Piscotty said.
“Maura is an amazing setter. I think she is arguably the best in the region. Maura is a tremendous part of our success. When we are shanking passes she’s so fast and athletic. She’s making us look like we’re still in system because she is so good. Her dynamic athleticism is incredibly impressive.”
This season, the team has been able to build on last season’s success, getting off to an eye-popping 16–3 start, which includes a 5–2 record in the PSAC.
“It’s great, so far we are doing really well. I’d like to see us continue to that, especially this weekend and next weekend, they are both pretty big weekends for us,” Nolan said.
The next two weekends include matches against PSAC foes West Chester University, Cheyney University, Lock Haven University and a crucial matchup against The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
“It’s obviously a lot of pressure as we have a target on our back because people see us as PSAC Champions, so it’s just been trying to focus, and having that focus throughout the year.” Nolan said.
“This year has been a lot of fun. We have a lot of newcomers but I definitely like it because we know how good we can be,” DeFloria said. “We are nowhere near our peak, but we know that we can do well.”
Even with all the individual success, Nolan still strives for more, for her, and the team.
“I want to continue to break my own record and I want to set a record that is going to be very hard to break whenever I graduate,” Nolan said.
“I also want to come out with another PSAC ring, that would be great. I would like to be All-Region again and All-PSAC again. It is the last season that I am ever going to be playing volleyball and I love these girls so much.”
For the Raiders, a solid start to the season along with an endless amount of determination may be what it needs to take that next step into the final stretch of the regular season.