2010 UMW Volleyball in Review

Despite not having one senior on its roster, the 2010 University of Mary Washington volleyball team was considered from the start to be a veteran squad that would be a serious contender for the Capital Athletic Conference crown. Coming off an 18-win season in 2009, the Eagles returned a long list of talented returnees that had experienced regular season success. The result was a 19-9 season that saw the Eagles advance to the CAC Championship match, and see a league-high four players gain All-CAC honors.

The Eagles started the season with a bang, winning their first five matches for the first time in seven years. Included in that number of wins – all of which came on the road – were victories over North Carolina Wesleyan College, Stevenson University, Eastern Mennonite University and Catholic University. After falling at regionally-ranked Randolph-Macon in four games, the Eagles won their next three to improve to 8-1 on the year. The highlight of that streak was a gutty five-game win over Johns Hopkins.

The Eagles opened Capital Athletic Conference play with easy 3-0 wins over Wesley and Hood before competing at the Elizabethtown College Tournament in which they topped the hosts as well as Immaculata College. UMW returned to conference play with a big 3-1 win over archrival Salisbury University, but dropped their next two matches, to York and Frostburg.

A 3-0 win over Gallaudet University kick started the stretch run for the Eagles, who topped St. Mary’s in five before avenging an early season loss to Lynchburg with a 3-0 win on Dig Pink Day. A pair of shutout wins over Stevenson and Marymount ran the Eagles’ conference mark to 6-2, good for second place.

UMW received a first round bye in the CAC Tournament, and hosted Salisbury in the semifinals in the final match at Goolrick Gymnasium, as the new William M. Anderson Center will be completed for the 2011 campaign. The Eagles sent the old gym off in style, topping the Sea Gulls in three straight to advance to the conference title match. The Eagles fell at Frostburg in the final, falling one game shy of the conference title and NCAA Tournament.

The Eagles saw a league-high four players named to the All-Capital Athletic Conference team, including freshman Hannah Lawson, who gained first team honors and was the third straight UMW player to gain the CAC Rookie of the Year award. Lawson led the Eagles in kills (260) and service aces (45), and was second on the team in digs (224).

Laura Gomez, who was the CAC Rookie of the Year in 2009, hit .278, tops among front line players for the Eagles, with 209 kills, 38 aces, and 69 blocks. She gained second team all-conference honors for the second straight year. Junior setter Katie Shiflett gained second team honors after posting 759 assists, 34 aces, 149 digs, and 10 blocks. She led the team with a .352 hitting average with 34 kills.

Junior hitter Tola Adebanjo gained All-CAC recognition for the first time, and coming one year after missing nearly the entire season with a knee injury. She posted 178 kills, 35 aces and 149 digs for the Eagles. Also outstanding for the Eagles in 2010 were sophomore hitters Karissa Herrick (183 kills, 90 blocks) and Ellen Smethurst (97 kills, 62 blocks) and freshman libero Kaitlynn Wickersham, who started every game and posted 323 digs and 31 service aces. Freshman defensive specialist Christine Tran emerged as a tough back-line player with 101 digs.