Volleyball: 2019 Season Preview

Volleyball: 2019 Season Preview

NORTHFIELD, Vt. - The 14th season of Norwich volleyball and head coach Ashlynn Nuckols' eighth year at the helm begins on August 30th, with Norwich looking to qualify for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) postseason for the first time since the 2014 season.

Coach Nuckols and the Cadets posted an 11-14 overall record and a 3-9 mark within the conference on their way to a 10th place finish in the final conference standings a year ago. 

Norwich looks to field one of their most potent attacks in recent program memory returning eight players that played in 20 or more games a year ago. 

"I'm expecting our returners to lead the way and play with veteran poise on both offense and defense," Coach Nuckols commented. 

A pair of returners with chances to leave significant marks on the Norwich volleyball record book in Michele Zummo and Kathryn Farnum look to spearhead the Norwich attack in 2019. 

Zummo put up 223 kills on a .122 attacking percentage for 247.0 points on the year. The senior already ranks fifth in career kills (670), kills per set (2.10), points (577.0), ands points per set (2.40). She set career-highs with 20.5 points against Saint Joseph's (Maine) on September 26th and 19 kills against Regis on October 20. 

She's flanked on the outside by junior Kathryn Farnum who led the team in almost every attacking category last year while appearing in all 25 games. She led the team with 251 kills and 2.67 kills per set last year, both the fourth highest total in program history. On October 27th against Anna Maria, she put up 12 kills on 18 attacks with just one error to post a .611 attacking percentage, the second highest single-game mark in program history. Farnum already ranks ninth in program history in total kills (407), third in kills per set (2.42), and fifth in attack percentage (.217). 

Providing an all-around skill set on both attack and defense, Julia Schroeder looks to continue filling up the stat sheet during her junior season. She led the team with 43 service aces while putting up 164 kills, 57 assists, 28 blocks, and 169 digs on the year. Schroeder put up a career-high 19 kills against MCLA on Oct. 6, the fifth-highest single-match total in program history, and she's already seventh in career service aces with 104 so far. 

Defensively, Brianna Dawson returns for her senior season in the maroon and gold looking to continue filling out her resume as one of the greatest libero's in program history. Her 292 digs last year were the fourth-most in a single season and her 3.95 digs per set mark is a program record. Dawson tallied both the most and second-most digs in a single game, first with 35 against Alberts Magnus on September 9 then 34 against St. Joseph (Conn.) on October 13. Her 797 career digs is just 138 shy of the all-time career mark, and her 3.59 career digs per set is the highest in program history by 0.52. 

Several other Cadets return in 2019 poised to make a big leap, including sophomores Addison Hall and Olivia Brown. Hall put up 108 kills on a .201 attack percentage while Brown put up 258 digs at the libero position. 

Other returners to lineup include Marissa Perrotti, Rebecca Finley, and Monika Schneider who returns after missing her junior year to injury. 

Some fresh faces join the squad this year, as Julia Dorr, Sarah Farnum, Maggie McNeil, and Jade Wimbish will look to carve out their own roles in their first season in Northfield. 

"The freshman class is providing a lot of great energy," Coach Nuckols said, "we have the experience and talent for this team to compete for a spot in the postseason." 

The Cadets' 2019 season will start in-state at the Vermont Volleyball Classic hosted by Northern Vermont University-Johnson on August 30th and 31st before the Cadets return for their home opener against MCLA and Dean on September 7th. Other out of conference dates include contests against Salem State, Mount Holyoke, and Western New England among others. Norwich's last home date of the year will be on October 16th against New England College, a game that will be the team's annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game.