GENESEO, N.Y. – The SUNY Geneseo women's volleyball team opens the 2017 schedule this Friday with a pair of matches at the Mount Union (Ohio) Invitational. First-year head coach Hunter Drews looks to pick up where the squad left off in 2016 after the Knights made their first postseason appearance in five seasons before advancing to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Semifinals for the first time since 2010.
Drews welcomes four starters from last year's 17-15 finish, including a pair of All-SUNYAC selections. Sophomore outside hitter Grace Cergol landed second-team recognition after leading the league with 421 kills while tying for fourth with 462 digs to finish her rookie campaign as the only player ranked in the top-five of both categories.
Sophomore defensive specialist Sam Mendelsohn capped her first collegiate season with third-team all-conference recognition after ending up fifth in the league with 448 digs as well as sixth with 3.83 digs/set.
Junior setter Emily Ast returns after leading the team with 8.31 assists/set while finishing second with 42 service aces. Sophomore outside hitter Abby May also looks to build on her first year with the program after finishing fourth for the Knights with 208 kills and 1.98 kills/set along with 44 blocks and 0.42 blocks/set that were the second-highest totals on the team.
The Knights' 2017 roster will include eight first-year players, adding depth to the roster. The incoming class includes three middle blockers, Bridget Lougen, Allison Wick and Kiersten Colvin, and two outside hitters, Gabrielle Ayzenberg and Alexandra Frank. Defensive specialist Erina Nanavati, setter Mary Bartkus and right-side hitter Abigail Moosazedeh join the squad for the 2017 campaign as well.
Following a four-match slate at Mount Union this Friday and Saturday, Geneseo will head to Cambridge, Mass. for three contests at the MIT Invitational. The Knights will then return to Schrader Gymnasium to host Pitt-Bradford on Wednesday (Sept. 13) in the first of five home dates throughout the fall. The first of three SUNYAC Pool Play weekends is slated for the following week (Sept. 22-23) at Plattsburgh, before two-time defending SUNYAC Champion Brockport, Cortland and Buffalo State pay a visit to Geneseo for the second conference round-robin two weeks later (Oct. 6-7). Oneonta is slated to host the final conference pool play (Oct. 20-21) before the SUNYAC Tournament gets underway with the quarterfinal round (Oct. 31).