By Derek Stiles
‘Potential’ is this intangible thing that’s used to describe teams ascending upward. It’s also something that many teams are portrayed as having before even stepping onto the court. Potential won’t earn you results though until you reach that point in which you were expected to all along. Women’s volleyball has done just that.
After finishing last season with a record of 19-9 and a Centennial Conference record of 5-5, the Shorewomen knew they had a successful season but were also aware that more could be obtained.
“As a team we have high expectations,” Head Coach Jamie Leventry said. “We just missed out on the playoffs this past season and now we feel it is our time. Our goals are to win 20+ matches this season and make a run at the Centennial Conference playoffs.”
With the major contributors of last year’s team still playing, the Shorewomen have begun their season with a bang, winning eight of their first nine games and achieving the best start in program history since 1978.
“It feels so great to have such an amazing start to the season,” junior Jess Daunoras said. “I think the start to this season shows how much the program has grown in a few years and it’s so exciting.”
The lone loss for the Shorewomen came at the hands of Eastern University (0-3), who is ranked No.12 in the NCAA AVCA Coaches Poll and holds a record of 7-1.
Outside of their one loss this season, the team has only let up two sets in their seven other matches, dominating their competition throughout each set. The team is aware, however, that this winning trend will face serious competition as conference play lurks around the corner.
“We have played some tough teams so far, but I do think the conference play won’t be easy,” Daunoras said. “We are going to have to work hard to go far in the conference but that’s what we plan to do.”
The Shorewomen went 4-0 at the Frostburg Tournament this past weekend as junior Kristin Lee set the standard as she averaged 4.5 kills per set and four digs per set. Her performances earned her the Centennial Conference Volleyball Player of The Week as well as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
In the final match of the tournament, the team defeated Eastern Mennonite 3-1 as Lee and Daunoras overwhelmed the Royals with 21 kills and 13 kills, respectively.
“It’s not just about winning but about getting better as a team, too,” Daunoras said. “When we reach our maximum potential is when we will be satisfied and the record will come with it.”
The team’s next match takes place on Sept. 20 against Lycoming before they open up their Centennial Conference season at home against John’s Hopkins on Sept. 24.