Buffalo, NY - Coming off their second straight Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoff appearance, the D'Youville women's volleyball team comes into this season with a new head coach and ambitions of reaching the postseason yet again.
D'Youville will be lead by head coach Cathy Hummel as she takes the reigns of the program after a lengthy Division I coaching career. Hummel spent nearly 15 years at Canisius College where she led the program to the MAAC Championship semi-finals three times in a six-season span and five times overall. She was named MAAC Coach of the Year twice, won a program record 22 matches, and is the winningest coach in program history. Her experience and knowledge of the game will help guide a young crop of players.
The lone senior for the Spartans this season is middle hitter Julie Fleming (Tonawanda, NY/Mt. St. Mary's Academy). Fleming was ranked third on the team in both kills per set (1.33) and kills (121) last season but has put an impressive career together and has been a three-year starter to this point. Julie also finished first in hitting percentage (.191) and second in blocks per set (.4) last season. She will be counted on to be the team's leader and finish off her career strong.
Also returning on the roster are juniors Jasmine Filkov (North Collins, NY/North Collins), Samantha Murray (Hamburg, NY/Frontier), and McKenna Cartonia (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster). Filkov ended last season being third in digs per set (2.4) and fifth in digs (161) as Libero for the Spartans. Cartonia was ranked second in assists per set (3.34), third in service aces per set (138), and fourth in digs (181) as setter. As an outside and opposite side hitter, Murray ranked fifth in kills (94), kills per set (1.15) and hitting percentage (.099).
All three have seen consistent playing time in their first two seasons with the women, and now as upperclassmen, each will be counted on by coach Hummel to be examples on and off the court for a youthful roster. Fellow junior Gabriella Mas (Orchard Park, NY/Nardin) returns to the team after a year away and brings defensive abilities that will be utilized this season.
Four sophomores will be expected to contribute further in their second seasons with the team. Middle hitter Lauren Conley (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) was a starter throughout the season as a freshman in 2017 and her experience will be counted on for 2018. Conley ranked fourth in kills per set (1.25) and kills (115); third in hitting percentage (.112), and first in blocks per set (.54). Talia Wright (Derby, NY/Lake Shore) transitions from a defensive position in Libero last season to more offensive as an outside hitter this season. Last season she ranked second in service aces per set with .44 and totaled 51 digs in 34 sets.
Alyssa Diamond (Derby, NY/Lake Shore) is another player that is changing roles as she goes from setter to outside hitter. She will look to add onto a 30 assist and 15 dig freshman campaign. Alexandria McBride (Elma, NY/Iroquois) can add more on the outside this season as an outside hitter and hope to get a chance to build off her freshman year.
Along with the returners, there are five freshman added to the roster to help replace the four standout seniors that graduated in 2017. Carly Milleville (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield), Mikaela Milleville (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield), Kaitlyn Navarre (Cattaraugus, NY/Cattaraugus), Desiree Walters (Oswego, IL/Oswego), Ehdah Way (Buffalo, NY/Hutch Tech), and Angela Filkov (North Collins, NY/North Collins) will bring competition and skill to a growing roster.
The Spartans start their season at the Cortland Red Dragon Classic on Friday, August 31 playing SUNY Cortland at 3pm and Keene St. at 7pm. The team then faces Lebanon Valley at 12:30pm and Oneonta at 3pm on Saturday, September 1 also as part of the tournament. They then continue their season with 10 additional non-conference matches before they host AMCC competitor Hilbert on Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm.