By STEVE SILVERTHORNE
The University of Mary Washington volleyball team saw their season come to a close back on Nov. 3 when they dropped a 3-0 decision to eventual CAC champions Salisbury University in the semifinals of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament. The Eagles’ finished the year with a record of 17-16 overall, and a 5-3 mark in conferenceplay.
The Lady Eagles had a pair of players garnered with conference recognition following the season. The league office named Katie Shiflett and Kaitlynn Wickersham to 2011 All-CAC volleyball team. Shiflett, a senior, was place on the first-team, while sophomore Wickersham earned second-team honors.
Shiflett, a setter, ended her career among the school leaders in career assists. This season, she had a .311 hitting percentage with 1,051 assists to along with 237 digs and 38 service aces. Wickersham had a team-high 274 kills, while also chipping in with 413 digs and 49 service aces.
Although the Eagles did not finish the year as well as they would have hoped, there were many highlights to the season. The volleyball team played in their first season in the new Anderson Center, the sparkling new athletic facility that has given a rise in school spirit. The fans really got into the games this year, and sometimes they even got into trouble for being a little too rowdy.
“I really enjoy going to the games,” freshman spectator Samuel McGovern said. “Not only to see the excellent teamwork displayed by the girls and the great leadership by both their seniors and their coach alike, but also because it is fun to get boisterous and loud for my friends with my fellow peers, and the stadium is really a site to see.”
The volleyball team also got off to fast 4-0 start, with their fourth win of the season marking the first ever athletic team victory in the Anderson Center as the UMW volleyball team knocked off conference foe Marymount University 3-0.
The Eagles only graduate three seniors this year, and even though that includes key seniors Tola Adebanjo, Leslie Truesdale, and the aforementioned Shiflett, the Eagles are still optimistic that they will continue to improve.
“We still set our hopes high,” freshman Kayla Crawford said. “We want to be CAC champions, and even though we lose three key players, we know we have the tools to reach that goal. We just have to believe in one another and continue to keep practicing and working out hard especially this offseason because that is really our time to get better.”
Although they finished with a winning record, the Eagles were still disappointed with how the season ended. After a 12-1 start, UMW began to sputter at the end of September and went just 5-15 in their final 20 games.
“We are obviously disappointed with how the season ended,” Head Coach Dee Conway said. “We did not finish the way I would have hoped, but in this offseason if we can work on our individual conditioning, become better skills players, and most importantly play more as a team and less as individuals then we will be well off.”
Crawford echoed her coach’s sentiments on feeling as though the Eagles came up a little short.
“We played good [sic] this season but we really could have been great,” Crawford said. “It is disappointing that we were not able to reach our full potential.”
The Eagles hope that will not be the case next year and will do whatever they can to make sure that they maximize their ability to have an even stronger season.
“Both the players and the coaching staff are really going to get after it in this offseason to make sure we do not finish disappointed again,” Conway said.