Women’s volleyball digs in to 2018 season

The goal of Stevenson’s women’s volleyball team for the 2018 season is to win a national championship. Despite losing two All-Americans and already having lost six games since the start of the season, there is still hope that they will overcome all obstacles in order to win the conference trophy.

Junior OH Katie Leftridge digs against Albright College during the Mustangs’ straight-set match on Sept. 5. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

In the span of 11 seasons, coach Dave Trumbo has led Stevenson’s indoor women’s volleyball program to 312 wins, 17 All-Americans, 37 All-Conference selections, nine postseason appearances, including seven straight appearances in the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship from 2011-17, and set the school record with 37 wins in 2013. In the 2017-18 season, Stevenson finished with a 33-2 overall record and ranked No. 23 nationally in the final AVCA poll.

The team’s 2018 losses came against perennial foe Mary Washington on Aug. 31 in straight sets; Muhlenberg College (twice) and No. 20-ranked Christopher Newport University on Sept. 1; Stockton University on Sept. 7 and Eastern University on Sept. 15.  The Mustang’s Middle Atlantic Conference wins have been against Lebanon Valley College, Albright College and Messiah College.

Even though they may be off to a rougher start than in previous years, Trumbo believes winning the national championship is still within reach. He argues that the team’s leadership this year is very prominent, and that they have outstanding chemistry.  Trumbo said that the team has been engaged in “lots of team bonding,” and that there are “lots of leaders who are not captains.” He believes these factors will play a major role in their mission toward championship.

The captains for the 2018 season are Moriah Savage and Katie Leftridge. Savage said that she “tries to find a balance between speaking too hard or leaving the situation alone,” adding that “the team is young and there will be a learning curve.”

Senior captain Moriah Savage (#18) reaches for the block against an Albright College player during the Mustangs’ win against the Lions on Sept. 5. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

Leftridge noted that the transition is a hard one because the team has to get the freshmen accustomed to the system. She added, “The chemistry within the team is very good and there’s a different energy than last year.”

Referring to the four losses in the beginning of the season, Savage said, “Losing brings out character,” adding that she expects the team to win on a consistent basis.

Emily Pellini, a freshman defensive specialist, said that the first-year players haven’t been made to feel like freshmen, but maintained that college play is a different setting than in high school. She mentioned the constant competition for playing time, and said that there’s a feeling that the freshmen are trying to make the starters better.

Lauryn Davis, a freshman outside hitter, said that the transition to the team was a smooth one, and that although there is a lot of competition, there is no hostility whatsoever. “Coach Trumbo constantly reminds us that a spot isn’t guaranteed,” she said.

The team will face Lycoming College at 1 p.m. and Washington College at 5 p.m. on Sept. 22, both in the Owings Mills gym.

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