By Scott Jarosz ’21
After finishing the 2018 season with an overall record of 8-21 and a 2-16 record in Big East Conference play, the Providence College Women’s Volleyball Team will be looking to make improvements leading up to the 2019 season.
The team’s 2018 campaign ended on a particularly sour note when the Friars lost their last seven matches of the season. In addition to the team ending the season on a cold stretch, it also graduated four seniors: Megan Onyundo ’19, Allison Impellizeri ‘19, Kara Mason ’19, and Catherine Harding ’19. Being without these four key players certainly brings about numerous challenges for the Friars; however, changes to the coaching staff as well as numerous additions to the roster give reason to believe that this year’s team has a real chance to improve upon last season’s shortcomings.
On Mar. 18, women’s volleyball head coach Margot Royer-Johnson announced that Richard Gomes Jr. would join the staff as an assistant coach. Royer-Johnson had kind words to say about Gomes Jr. as well as how she expected him to contribute to the team.
Royer-Johnson stated, “Richie is a great new addition to the staff. He is a highly skilled and knowledgeable coach. His enthusiasm and passion for the sport is what drew our staff and team to him. We are excited to move forward with him, as we know his passion will not only make us better but also enrich our experience both on and off the court.”
Gomes’ previous head coaching experience provides even more reason to believe that he will be a valuable asset to the staff and the team. Prior to PC, Gomes served as the head coach for the Bridgewater State University Women’s Volleyball Team.
In addition to Gomes being named assistant coach, the 2019 team will also feature a strong freshman class consisting of seven players.
Two players from this class signed their National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play at PC back in November. Emma Nelson ’23 is one such player. Listed at 6’1”, she is an outside hitter who Royer-Johnson described as a “strong all-around player.” The other player from this class who signed her NLI in 2018 is Sasha Rudich ’23, a middle blocker who captained her high school team.
Alongside Nelson and Rudich, the Friars are also welcoming Brielle Mullally ’23, a setter who was named to the 2018 Silver Medal Far Western Qualifier (17 Open) and won the CIFSS Division I Championship, Queen’s Court Championship, and Dave Mohs Championship with her high school.
On Mullally, Royer-Johnson said that she is a “super skilled setter” with defensive and hitting skills that will “make her an all-around threat.”
Mullally is joined by club teammate Jennifer Leitman ’23. According to Royer-Johnson, she has “great chemistry with Brielle” and “brings a great offensive threat…from both the front and back row out of the outside position.”
With a number of quality returning players, the addition of Richard Gomes Jr. as assistant coach, and a strong incoming freshman class, the Providence College Women’s Volleyball team looks ready to have a highly successful 2019 campaign.