2012 Volleyball Season Preview
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - After three consecutive appearances in the Centennial Conference playoffs, the Swarthmore College volleyball team will have a very different look in 2012. Graduated are three of the best players in program history, Genny Pezzola, Hillary Santana and Lisa Shang, all four-year starters who powered the program's turnaround to the upper echelon of the Conference. Still, with the return of a balanced core that features two vocal senior leaders and depth throughout the roster, the Garnet remains optimistic that a fourth consecutive postseason appearance is in reach.
The 2012 squad is led by seniors Allie Coleman and Kat Montemurro who join the three 2012 graduates throughout the program's record book. Coleman is on pace to break the program record for assists after posting 1,065 last year and Montemurro is already fourth in program history in kills.
For the Garnet to return to the Centennial playoffs, juniors Danielle Sullivan and Maggie Duszyk will need to dominate from the pins. Both eclipsed the 200-kill mark last season and Sullivan managed nearly 200 digs on defense. With classmate Brone Lobichusky, who led the team with 68 blocks last year in the middle and combined with the two seniors, Swarthmore should again be among the offensive leaders in the Centennial Conference. The Garnet led the Centennial in kills per set last season.
The depth of the sophomore class hopes to be a key this season, as big things are expected from Zahra Ahmed, Kate Amodei, Danielle Delpeche, and Chastity Hopkins – all of whom have a year of collegiate competition under their belts.
Harleigh Chwastyk, a two-time Centennial Coach of the Year, begins her 11th season at the head of the Garnet bench. This season, she'll be guiding the Garnet through arguably the most difficult schedule of her tenure. Swarthmore begins play at the Haverford Invitational on September 1 with a pair of matches against Frostburg St. and powerhouse Juniata before facing Widener and Susquehanna the following day. Home play begins against perennial national championship contender Eastern on September 7.
Centennial play starts at Ursinus on September 19 with the Centennial home opener three days later against Dickinson. A 10-day stretch from September 26 through October 6 with matches at Franklin & Marshall and Johns Hopkins and at home against Gettysburg will be critical in shaping the 2012 season as all three teams reached the Centennial semifinals last year. The Garnet concludes regular season play in Tarble Pavilion against Haverford on October 27 for Garnet Weekend and Senior Day.