Penn College Women's Volleyball Team Optimistic

Published 09.01.2010


Pennsylvania College of Technology women's volleyball coach Bambi Hawkins describes her team as young, but one with solid experience and a lot of energy. Her hope is that it is enough not only to produce the squad's eighth-straight winning season, but also its second championship during her 11-year tenure.

After going 1-2 in their season-opening tournament at Penn State Beaver, the Wildcats will compete in a triangular match atPenn StateAbington on Saturday that includes Rutgers-Newark, and then take on crosstown rival Lycoming College on Tuesday night before stepping into Penn State University Athletic Conference action the following week.

Of the team's 11 players, five are returnees: Lyndsey Smith (setter/Mechanicsburg), Ashley Matson-Donahay (right hitter/Troy), Tara Powell (outside hitter/Burgettstown), Jennifer DeLosa (outside hitter/Bellefonte) and Alyssa Millard (setter/Sayre).

"Powell showed all-around tenacity and an unflagging energy level throughout the opening weekend as she played front and back row throughout the three matches. Smith was solid as usual and really has some great dynamics not only with the returners, but also a great connection with the freshmen. Smith and Powell were voted by their teammates to be the co-captains this year. Matson is the voice of the team again this year. Her cheers and hitting power are a great combination to spark energy during our matches," Hawkins said.

Starters, in addition to those three, are Paula Karine Monteiro (outside hitter/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Samantha Davis (North Apollo) and Lindsey Moyer (Canton), middle hitters, and Amanda Miller (Northern Cambria) at libero.

Others on the team are Megan Gordon (Manheim) and Rachel Heller (Allison Park.)

"They are a young squad with one senior (DeLosa), one junior (Smith), three sophomores (Powell, Matson, Millard) and six freshmen, (but) we are looking for them to build teamwork and mesh as a team. This is a team that could take the PSUAC this year," Hawkins said.

Assessing the season thus far, Hawkins said, "We saw some major potential for power on offense prior to the season opener. That proved to be true, but OSU-Marion's coach stated that it was our defense that frustrated him. It seemed odd to me because most of my notes from that match were areas of defense where we need work. It is nice to have Marion's coach make the comment to give me a little perspective that we even have a solid base in the defensive area, as well.

"One strength that I greatly appreciated was the versatility of our bench. The non-starting group was eager to step in and work hard to not only maintain, but help the team excel if a starter was struggling. That's something that can make or break a team our ladies definitely contribute from the bench in an inspiring way."

Work that needs to be done as the season progresses, according to Hawkins, "We have some specific skills for individuals to improve or make adjustments for greater efficiency in their movements. In general, time on the court together is the greatest need. As this team figures out their individual roles within the group, their natural skills will become quite evident. They are a talented group and eager to play the game, but also eager to find out where they can improve a coach's dream!"

Hawkins said keys to success will be improving on the small things while continuing to foster the already evident teamwork. "And, I hate to even mention it, but every coach has the concern about keeping the team healthy.The ladies are being encouraged to maintain balance in their studies since our schedule is heavy with weekend matches they have to find downtime other than the weekends," she added.

"We have championship material with a few tweaks. They have passion for the sport and willingness to fight to come from behind if needed," Hawkins said. "The individual skill level of the starting lineup is one of the highest Penn College has seen. The bench is a group with great potential and attitudes that are supportive. And, they have already started to mesh and value each other as teammates as well as unique individuals."

In addition to assistant coach Amber Dreese, the squad has are several managers who are volunteering their time: James Fortenberry, Erin McMahon, Jared Palko, Shawn Bradley, Alyssa Covas and Angela Stiles.

"Coach Dreese and I greatly appreciate their willingness to help with whatever we ask of them. And it is a wonderful opportunity for our women's team to have some talented volleyball players as competition for scrimmages. As our women play against the men and more experienced female players, they show their tenacity in overcoming a bigger, stronger opponent," Hawkins said.

SCHEDULE September 4 triangular atPenn StateAbington with Rutgers-Newark, 2 p.m.; 7 at Lycoming College, 7 p.m.; 18 at Penn State Hazleton, 1 p.m.; 21 - at Penn StateWilkes-Barre, 7 p.m.; 25 home triangular with Penn StateYork and Penn StateMont Alto, noon; 26 - triangular at Penn StateHazleton with Penn StateSchuylkill and Penn StateBrandywine, noon.

October 2 home triangular with Penn StateWilkes-Barre and Penn StateHazleton, 2 p.m.; 7 host Penn StateScranton, 7 p.m.; 9 triangular at Penn StateBeaver with Penn StateGreater Allegheny, TBA; 10 triangular at Penn StateNew Kensington with Penn StateFayette, noon; 16 triangular at Penn StateDuBois with Penn StateScranton, 11 a.m.; 19-23 PSUAC playoffs, to be announced; Nov. 4-6 USCAA playoffs, to be announced.