McKeesport, Pa. - Coach Gibbs is gearing up for her sixth season with the Lady Lions at Penn State Greater Allegheny and after a rebuilding season in 2015, the Penn State Greater Allegheny Women's Volleyball team is ready to roar. With a strong number of returning players and a group of hardworking freshmen, the Lady Lions are eager for their season to begin.
Senior right-side hitter Emily Taylor (Aliquippa, Pa./Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter) is excited to be back on the court after missing the 2015 season with an injury. Gibbs said, "Emily is a positive, consistent and reliable player on the court and we really missed her last season. She played an important role last year as a supportive teammate. Her dedication, commitment to the team, and positive attitude really revealed her character last season. Assistant coach Fred Guy and I couldn't be more excited for her return to the court." Emily said, "As a returning senior this year I am looking forward to getting to play with our new girls. We have a solid group of returning players this year, alongside a great group of incoming freshmen that have endless potential. I am excited to see how we come together on the court. I think the experience that our incoming players bring will be one of our biggest strengths this year. I'm just excited to see what this season has in store for us," Taylor ended.
Junior outside-hitter Laura Vazquez-Diaz (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Cupey Maria Montessori) has been a driving force behind the team's past success. Laura is a six-rotation player that has a never-say-die attitude and the athleticism that comes along with it. Her hard-work and aggressive swings will bring a lot of momentum to the team.
Junior outside hitter Victoria Johnston (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) might be 5'3" in a game that prizes height, but her stats speak for themselves. Tori finished the 2015 season in second place with the PSUAC for kills per set. Gibbs added, "Tori is a strong defensive player and will undoubtedly earn lots of recognition this season as well."
Sophomore setter Courtney Odell Shadd (Hanover Park, Ill./Bartlett) joins the team again as a positive and determined setter. As an All-Conference Player with PSUAC Player of the Week honors from her freshman season, Shadd is sure to make heads turn again this season.
Sophomore middle-hitter Andrea Burroughs, (New Rochelle, N.Y./New Rochelle) brings more height to the team with spunk and a determined attitude.
Gibbs extended, "We are very excited to welcome our incoming freshmen! They bring great energy alongside a valuable experience to the team. Their roles will be incredibly important in our team's success this season."
Freshman libero Hayley Maksin (Port Vue, Pa./South Allegheny) is a teammate who steps up to any challenge, leads by example and brings a ton of hustle to the back row. Freshman defensive specialist Paige Krupa (Lake Worth, Fla./Lake Worth Community High) has a mean serve and intuitive reflexes on defense. Freshman middle-hitter Dorina Adou, (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) is a force on the court. Her determination and drive allow her to succeed in any position. Her volleyball IQ, speed and strength make her a power-house on this team. Freshman outside-hitter Destanie Grayson, (Pittsburgh, Pa./Taylor Allderdice) is an athletic and relentless player. Her height and unwavering grit will prove to be a challenge for our opponents.
Coach Gibbs wrapped up stating, "As a team, we have really been focusing more on some of the behind-the-scene aspects of volleyball through lessons and discussions during our 'classroom time'. The energy this season is already much different from any other season I've coached. The determination and leadership coming from our returning players is really electric. Coach Fred and I are eager to support our team and guide them to a successful season."
The 2016-17 Greater Allegheny women's volleyball team look to begin their season on Friday August 26 through Saturday August 27, as the ladies travel to Penn State Beaver for their annual Pre-Season Tournament.