NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Under the tutelage of second year head coach TJ Hajjar, the Merrimack women's volleyball team made major strides in 2012 as they doubled their win total from a season ago. The young Warriors finished out their 2012 schedule with an overall record of 10-20 and a conference mark of 2-13.
"I truly feel this season was a great success as we doubled our wins from last year," stated Hajjar. "We of course would have loved to finish higher in the Conference standings but all of our stats jumped up dramatically this season, putting us in the upper part of our conference in most categories."
The Warriors opened up the season in Florida for the Sharks Classic and dropped all four contests in straight sets. But the trip meant more to the Warriors, as they used it as a great bonding experience which helped them win seven of their next 10 games in the month of September.
Merrimack's first two wins of the season both came in five sets to UMass Lowell and Assumption. Next up for the Warriors was the NE-10/ECC Challenge as Merrimack took on LIU Post, Dowling and Mercy over two days. The Warriors downed LIU Post on Friday night by the score of 3-1 and then defeated Dowling and Mercy in straight sets. The win over Dowling was the programs first win over the Golden Knights. Senior Brianna Trabucco (Canton, Mass.) was named tournament Most Valuable Player while fellow senior captain Jenna Reilly (Northport, NY) picked up All-Tournament first team accolades.
The Warriors struggled in the month of October as they lost their first seven contests of the month and lost 10 of 12 overall. The two wins came against conference foe Bentley and Mercy, marking the first conference win of the season for Merrimack.
Merrimack opened the final month of the season with a five set victory over Assumption on Senior Day behind a 50 assist, nine dig and three kill effort from Trabucco. Sophomore Stephanie Sheehan (Smithtown, NY) finished with a double-double, 17 kills and 11 digs in the victory.
The Warriors closed out their regular season with three straight conference losses.
Merrimack was led offensively all season long by Sheehan who finished third in the conference in kills per set with 3.38 per set and also averaged 2.57 digs per set which was good for second on the team. Reilly continued to lead the team defensively as she racked up a career-high 100 blocks on the season, averaging 1.12 blocks per set which was good for third in the conference. For her career, Reilly finished seventh all-time in kills, first all-time in block assists and third all time in solo and total blocks in program history.
Shaunda Forcier (Gonic, NH) and Corinne Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) both put together solid seasons offensively as they averaged 2.02 and 1.75 kills per set respectively for the Warriors. Trabucco played in all 30 matches for the Warriors and finished off her Merrimack career with a career-high average of 8.65 assists per set and 1.88 digs per set. The Warriors also received great play from freshman Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif.) who finished her first campaign averaging a team-high 3.91 digs per set while playing in a team-high 113 sets.
"Next year looks very promising as we return 10 players and a talented recruiting class," said Hajjar. "We have the talent needed to be very good, we just need to push and finish games next year as we lost four games in five sets this season."
The Warriors closed out the 2012 season with many bright spots and have many strong pieces returning to the squad next season. Some of the key returners to the team next year include Sheehan, Burke, Gosselin, Allison Cote (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Jackie Jones (Amherst, NH). With another year of experience under their belts and a strong recruiting class coming in, look for Merrimack to be around the top half of the conference in 2013.
This is the fifth in a series of recaps summarizing a successful fall season at Merrimack.
November 29: Women's Crew
November 30: Women's Cross Country
December 3: Women's Golf
December 4: Men's Cross Country
December 5: Volleyball
December 6: Women's Soccer
December 7: Football
December 10: Field Hockey
December 11: Men's Soccer