By Meaghan Cahill ’20
The start of a new school year also means the start of a new athletic season in Friartown. One team in particular, the Providence College Women’s Volleyball Team, kicked off the start of the year with three wins out of three games at a tournament hosted by Boston College that took place over the weekend.
The season started with a game against the University of Alabama, Birmingham Blazers (UAB) on Aug. 20. Both teams proved to be evenly matched, as each of the five sets went back and forth between the two teams, with UAB winning the first and third matches 25-23 and 25-22. However, the Friars bested them in the second, fourth, and fifth matches with scores of 25-22, 25-23, and 15-9, respectively. On the second and final day of the tournament, the Friars had a much easier road to success as they dominated in the game against Boston College and swept Fairfield University in the final game of the tournament.
The success of the team can be attributed to the number of returning players. With only three new freshmen on the team, the remaining 10 players are made up of four sophomores, four juniors, and one senior. The veterans of the team are returning from what was the best season the volleyball team has had since 2012, and it can most definitely be assumed that they want to improve their statistics this year.
Allison Impellizeri ’19 and Jenae Alderson ’20, two players who were keys to the success of last season, will both be returning to the team this year. Last season, Impellizeri recorded a total of 246 kills as well as led the Friars in blocks with a total of 112. Alderson had a breakout season with a total of 210 kills. New to both the team and Friartown are Allison Barber ’21 of Woodbury, Minnesota, McKenzie Lydon ’21 of Stuart, Florida, and Victoria Oliver ’21 of Cleveland, Ohio. These three players are not the only new faces joining the team this season.
The Friars ushered in the summer with the announcement of the recent hire of both a new assistant coach as well as a graduate assistant. Keith Smith is the new assistant coach and was formerly a graduate assistant coach at McKendree University. When announcing the decision to hire Smith, Head Coach Margot Royer-Johnson stated, “I am sincerely looking forward to working with Keith. He brings an expertise in the skill of setting that I believe will be a great benefit to our squad…His passion for the game will continue to help us be more competitive in the Big East conference and nationally.”
The new Graduate Assistant Coach is Barbara Gonzalez, a Boston College alumna who played for the Eagles from 2013-2017. Of Gonzalez, Royer-Johnson said, “Barbi will be a great help to the program in the areas of social media and travel assistance, as well as on-court training…We are happy she’s part of the staff!”
With a total of 37 games this season (34 left to play), the Friars will have their work cut out for them as they will be facing some of the top teams in the Big East.
The 2016 season ended abruptly for the Friars by falling to Georgetown University in a Big East matchup. This weekend the Friars will play in the Stetson University Tournament with games against East Carolina University, Bucknell University, and Stetson. Upon returning from the Stetson tournament, they will go on to play in and host the 13th Annual Friar Classic. Their Big East season kicks off against Villanova University on Sept. 22, a game which will take place at 7:00 p.m. in Alumni Gym.