For the Elizabethtown College women’s volleyball team, this upcoming fall season marks only their second time playing in the Landmark conference. The team transitioned into this conference last fall and finished fifth overall with a record of 3-4. Prior to the start of last season, the team was picked fourth in a pre-season poll based on votes cast by the coaches within the Landmark Conference. This year, they have been ranked sixth. Having a little more experience with the Landmark Conference under their belts, the team is determined, and has the potential, to finish the season out in a higher spot.
Yet the Blue Jays will have to face another challenge this season. Senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Megan McNaul says that the team will not be “able to play any matches in [their] home gym this season due to the construction in Thompson [Gymnasium].” Instead, Elizabethtown High School has been allowing the team to practice in their own gym, and will allow the Blue jays to play their home matches there as well. This could set the team at a disadvantage, but McNaul shares that they are “a resilient group of girls who refuse to let this challenge negatively affect [their] season.”
Despite this challenge, senior setter Stephanie High feels that the team “could really make some noise in the conference this year.” Some of the team’s struggles last season can be attributed to the transition into a new conference. High remarks that even the layout of their game schedule was different than what the team was accustomed to, “with conference games being played in double-header weekends, rather than on one game weeknights.” She shares that the Blue Jays are “now used to the schedule, and [are] more familiar with the teams and their tendencies.” Head coach Randall Kreider also shares that the team “should be more comfortable with those dates this season,” thus making the team more prepared for playing in the Landmark Conference again.
Looking towards this upcoming season, High says that although the team “graduated four talented seniors,” from last season, they “brought in eight talented freshmen” this year. While Kreider expects “significant contributions from [their] returning players,” he also admits that the “incoming class has visible talent, and may be seeing some time on the court quickly.”
When asked about goals for the season, High says, “watch for us Nov. 7th in the Landmark Conference Championship.” As for head coach Randall Kreider, he says that the team’s “foremost goal is to qualify for the Landmark Conference playoffs.” Only four teams may qualify for the playoffs, and Kreider feels that “once [a team is] in the playoffs, any team can win.” McNaul also says that the team has “been working hard this preseason and hope to make a run for conference play offs/championships this year.”
It seems that the Blue Jays are coming in strong this season, despite all odds, with their heads held high. They recently won all of their games in their scrimmage that took place on Saturday the 29th. High remarks that the scrimmage was a “great chance to try out different lineups and get everyone playing time,” and that it made the team “very optimistic about the season.” Their next match will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4 at Lancaster Bible.