Lady Wildcat Volleyball Team Loaded With Experience, Height

Published 09.04.2002


Bambi Hawkins is entering her third season as coach of the Pennsylvania College of Technology women's volleyball team, and the program has never looked better.

Although coming off a 1-14 season with only three returning players, Hawkins has seen an explosion of interest in the sport on campus and exclaimed, "I'm loving it!"

The Lady Wildcats open their season Thursday hosting Lehigh Carbon and Penn State Wilkes-Barre at 6 p.m. at Bardo Gym.

"I've never had this kind of turnout or interest in volleyball. Last year we had seven girls on the roster and this year I've got at least 11 and potentially 15 because we only have 15 uniforms," said the coach, noting that there are additional women who will practice with the team to get experience for the future, but won't play competitively.

Returnees are sophomores Jennifer Sterner (Spring Grove), who earned all-Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference honors last year; Casie Walters (Athens) and Jennifer Willett (Philipsburg-Osceola).

Joining the team as a transfer student from Lycoming College is sophomore Christine Sprague (St. Maria Goretti), while freshmen on the roster are Amelia Seeley (Muncy), Nicole Matter (Central Mountain), Callie Chalmers (Galeton), Amy Hart (Sheffield), Amber Geckle (Indian Valley), Rachel Bond (St. Marys) Susan Woleslagle (Troy), Melanie Sennefelder (an international student from Germany) and Dawn Kaelin (Geneva, Ill.). Others, who Hawkins hasn't seen play yet, are Katie Knoop, Katrina Thetga and Maggiemae Ross.

Not only are the numbers up, but so is the experience level.

"I really think these girls can do well. They seem to work well together already. When somebody new joins us, they get accepted right into the group.

"The girls I've seen, with the experience they have, they're picking balls up that I haven't seen teams in the past do. Because they do have experience, they do know what to anticipate on the court," Hawkins said.

This year's squad also has more physical height, as Sprague and Chalmers are both 5-foot, 10-inches tall and Bond and Hart 5-8. The tallest girl on last year's team was 5-6.

Hawkins said that Geckle will be the first true setter her team has had, and she will be backed up by Sterner. The coach described Chalmers, Bond and Hart as good hitters and said that Sprague should be an excellent all-around player.

Working with Hawkins as a volunteer assistant and manager this season is David Atkinson.