Volleyball Returns to Court with Preseason Camp
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College volleyball team stunned many last fall by advancing to the Northeast-10 Championship and open up preseason camp this week with even greater aspirations for 2014.
Head coach TJ Hajjar and the Warriors went 17-15 (9-5 NE-10) en route to qualifying for the NE-10 Championship as the No. 7 seed. In the Quarterfinals, the Navy and Blue upset second-seeded Saint Rose in five sets and handled sixth-seeded Stonehill in the Semifinals before giving top-seeded and two-time champion New Haven all they could handle in the Championship, falling in five sets.
Many of the players who contributed to last season's success return this fall. Senior outside hitter Stephanie Sheehan (Smithtown, N.Y.) comes back after a mammoth junior campaign. The NE-10 All-Conference first teamer also was named to the AVCA All-Region Team and the Daktronics All-Region Team last fall and was a COSIDA Academic All-District selection. She enters her senior campaign with eyes on a few program records, sitting third with 1130 career kills and needs 433 more to set the new school mark. The Long Island native set a single-season record last year with 1238 total attacks.
Also back is reigning NE-10 Rookie of the Year Tara Stuhr (Huntington Beach, Calif.). The sophomore setter also was named to the All-Conference Second Team after leading Merrimack with 1219 assists, the second highest single-season mark in program history.
Other key returners include middle blocker Corrine Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) who finished third on the team with 231 kills and led the team with 61 total blocks. Libero Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif.) set a program record last season with 608 digs and enters her junior campaign already ahead of the 1000 career dig mark and ranks seventh all-time in that category.
A 24-match schedule features seven home matches at Hammel Court as well as a trip to Wilmington, Delaware, for the Wildcat Invitational. The home and season opener is set for Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. against Southern New Hampshire.