posted on: Thursday November 7, 2019
by Cam Smith ’21
Sports Assistant Coeditor
Often overlooked on a campus bursting with varsity sports is the presence of some very successful club sports teams. One of these teams, the Providence College Women’s Club Volleyball Team, just so happens to be a league champion.
Indeed, the team, which competes in the Northeast Women’s Volleyball Club League (NWVCL), secured its first-ever league championship last season with a win over Columbia University in the blue division finals. The championship capped off an absurdly successful season for the Friars, who won five out of the seven tournaments they competed in.
The team has already started strong this year, securing a second-place tournament finish while competing against some of the best teams in the Northeast. The finish came at the Friars’ home tournament, as they fell in the third set to the University of Connecticut by a final tally of 13-15.
Despite all of their recent success, the team has their sights set on even loftier goals. Last season, the squad appeared in the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation’s Championships for the first time in program history. The tournament, which pulls the best teams from all the club leagues in the country, did not go the way the team intended it to, as they bowed out in the early rounds. However, this year, the Friars plan to make a deep run.
“Our end goal is to go to Nationals and advance further than last year,” said club co-president Elizabeth Donnellan ’20. “Last season we were not able to get past our pool. It was quite upsetting because we were a really strong team. We are looking foward to using that experience to grow and improve upon our result this year.”
That same strong team returns this season, as the Friars had no seniors last year. Returning veterans include co-president Charlotte Stivala ’21 and secretary Izzy Flaherty ’21. Both fill the roles of the outside hitters on the team and are dominant forces on offense. Joining them is, of course, Donnellan herself, who patrols the right side and is the de facto leader on the court with her ability to visualize the play and make adjustments on the fly.
Siobhan Tierney ’21 and Megan Borrell ’22 also return to the squad. Tierney, a setter, runs the team’s offense while controlling the pace of the game. Borrell, a libero, joins Tierney in the role of setter this year, filling a key void for the Friars.
Joining the returning veterans is Isabelle Heron ’23, a player who excels in her ability to block, often picking up “three or four power blocks in a set,” according to Donnellan.
Certainly, another successful season seems to be in the works for the Friars. However, it was not too long ago when Donnellan herself would have found it difficult to believe they could be playing at this high of a level.
“My freshman year we were good but just not that serious about it,” she said. “My next year we really got a lot more serious as a bunch of new juniors came in, in addition to a really good executive board and then also a new coach. It was a whole new mindset. We won our first tournament in the entire history of the club.”
The Friars have come a long way since winning their first tournament and will now look to continue their recent success as they make a push to return to Nationals. The road to get there continues on Nov. 9, as PC travels to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell to compete in their fourth tournament of the young season.