The Davis & Elkins volleyball team welcomes a new coach this year in Ashley Pappas.
Pappas spent the last four years as an assistant coach at West Virginia University. She had additional duties as recruiting coordinator for the past two seasons under Jill Kramer.
The Senators finished their final year of the WVIAC with a 2-12 conference record and a 5-22 overall record earning the 12th spot in the final rankings. However, entering their first season in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, Pappas' squad has been tabbed to finish fifth in the pre-season coaches' poll.
D&E will be a young team this year with 10 newcomers and only one senior. Additionally, there are four juniors and three sophomores on the squad.
The senior, Kelsey Richards, is a team captain and will playing the libero position.
Freshman Alexis Mourier, an outside attacker, will be looked to provide an immediate impact in her first season. Mourier hails from George Washington High School, where she garnered second team all-state honors and named to the all-tourney team in leading the Patriots to the Class AAA state title.
She joins a recruiting class that includes seven different states. Pappas believes the group has a lot of talent and will add versatility and compliment the upperclassmen.
D&E will begin the season today at the Kutztown (Pa.) tourney against West Chester. Its first conference foe is Trevecca Nazarene in Mason, Ohio, on Oct. 4.
West Virginia Wesleyan
BUCKHANNON - The Bobcats of West Virginia Wesleyan College finished eighth last year in the WVIAC. With the demise of their old conference, the Bobcats will try for a higher finish in the newly formed Mountain East Conference.
Coach Jackie Hinton has a roster of 31 women this season with 15 newcomers joining the 16 returnees. She will have another young squad but there should be plenty of experience to go around. In fact, Wesleyan only lost one player from last year's team. However, that was first team All-WVIAC libero Renata Comparini.
Hinton has five seniors among her returning squad in Casey Pattyn, Korin Wengryn, Jillian Tuebert, Camblin Leonard and Colleen Black. Pattyn, a first team All-WVIAC setter last year, played in all 30 matches, recording 863 assists, 168 digs, 25 service aces and 24 kills. She is "the workhorse of the team," according to Hinton. Wengryn, a middle, "is the heart and intensity," added the coach.
Another returnee of note is junior Erin Bond, who earned All-WVIAC honorable mention laurels. Last year. Bond tallied 301 kills, 27 service aces, 59 block assists, 23 block solos, 34 digs and 13 assists.
Hinton said this year's recruiting class is among the best in school history.
"We have a lot of depth at every position," she said. "The freshmen are pushing the upperclassmen to perform better and the upperclassmen are pushing the freshmen."
Hinton's first goal is for the team to finish better than last year and "set a good tone in the Mountain East." Adding, "We're going to push for a 20 win season and return to the regional rankings."
The Bobcats were picked to finish fifth in the MEAC preseason coaches' poll. They will start the season today at the Falcon Fest Tournament at Fairmont State University against Seton Hill.
PHILIPPI - Even though the Battlers of Alderson Broaddus University will join the Great Midwest Athletic Conference this year, the goals have not changed, according to coach Carrie Bodkins.
"We wanted to win the WVIAC and now our goal is to challenge for the conference title in the G-MAC," she said.
Bodkins returns a solid core of players from last year's squad, including seniors Jillian Brown and Ashley MacDonald.
Brown, a three-year starter for the Battlers, was a second team All-WVIAC selection at libero last season and also led the team in service aces.
"We expect big things from her from a passing and defensive standpoint," Bodkins said.
MacDonald has been a starter on the outside for four years.
"We look for her to get the big kill for us and terminate in crucial situations," Bodkins said.
Also earning praise from the coach are junior Kayla Peterson and sophomore Caitlin Cain. Peterson has been the setter for three years and a very strong blocker.
"We look for her to run the show for us," Bodkins said of Peterson.
Cain, a sophomore outside hitter, made honorable mention All-WVIAC and was a member of the All-Freshman team.
"She definitely won some games for us last year," Bodkins said. "This year we want her to increase her kill numbers to around three per set.".
Bodkins also has some incoming freshmen she's excited about. She mentioned three of them would definitely see some playing time this season - Jayla McCrary, of Ohio, is a very athletic 6-1 outside/right side player with good jumping and blocking skills. Megan Christmann, also from Ohio, is very quick and versatile and can play any position. Lauren Hogan, a libero, is expected to help with passing and defense.
AB was recently picked to finish third in the preseason coaches' poll for its inaugural season in the G-MAC. Cedarville University and Trevecca Nazarene University were the top two vote-getters. However, Bodkins is confident that her squad will vie for the top spot.
The Battler's first match is today against Kentucky Wesleyan College at the University of Illinois-Springfield Tournament.