Volleyball Looks to 2004

Aug. 20, 2004

It is a new season for the Greyhound women's volleyball team with a new coach and a new attitude. Head coach Kristina Hernandez hopes to bring a change to the Loyola program that was picked to finish ninth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The squad hopes to erase any doubts about their abilities early on. With a solid schedule and a great core of returning players, Hernandez and her players expect much more than ninth from themselves.

"We're definitely motivated about this season," Hernandez said. "The team has picked up a lot of new techniques really quickly, we're moving in the right direction."

The Greyhounds have a busy schedule to start the season off with three tournaments in the month of September, five early home games and five road trips in the D.C./Baltimore area to prepare them for the MAAC schedule.

"We play so much early on, I think we'll come together as a team quickly and have some great experiences to build on in time for the conference schedule," Hernandez said.

Here's a look at the squad, position by position:

The hitting group, although relatively young offers the Greyhounds a plethora of options. With a solid junior class of Jamie Arndt, Becky Corb and Christine Lopez and sophomore additions Susanna Leffers and Blair Snyder, the Greyhounds are strong on attack. In addition to that lineup, Hernandez will add Christina Greenup and Katie Sindelar to the mix in 2004.

Corb led Loyola in kills in 2003 with 453 and was second as a freshman in 2002 with 302. She was also among the conference leaders in kills as she posted a career-high last season with 29 in a match against Iona. Corb also ranks high for the Greyhounds in defensive categories with 17 service aces, 229 digs and 28 blocks. She is undoubtedly one of Loyola's biggest offensive threats.

"Becky has a lot of potential as a strong player," Hernandez said. "I think she's a definite contender for post-season awards."As a freshman, Leffers, a rightside hitter, finished just behind Corb in kills with 427 in 2003. She appeared in 28 of 29 games in her rookie season and started in 25 of those matches. Leffers was impressive on the defensive end as well, finishing at the top of Loyola's list in blocks (55) and service aces (45). From the rightside, Leffers is a force to be reckoned with.

"Susanna is such a force for us," Hernandez said. "I think she'll continue to improve and impress."

Lopez, Arndt and Snyder round out the returning Greyhounds to the front line, all holding a wealth of experience and talent. Lopez is the third top returner on attack for the Greyhounds having hit 156 kills in 2003. A key defensive player as well, she finished second in blocks with a total of 54. Snyder finished just behind Lopez in both kills (112) and blocks (52) as a freshman while Arndt, a junior, tallied 104 kills.

Hernandez also adds two freshman, Greenup and Sindelar to the attacking line. Greenup, an experienced player from Malibu, Calif. is expected to make an immediate impact on the program from either the outside or middle spot. Sindelar, also a California native, is expect to contribute both at attack and on defense.

Hernandez won't take long in her search for a setter. Krystal Biegaj has held the position for the `Hounds for two seasons and doesn't appear ready to relinquish those rights.

As a freshman, she appeared in all but one game and in 2003, she was the setter in 25 of 29 games after sitting out four due to an injury. In both seasons she led her team in setter assists as well as appearing among the MAAC leaders in that category.

"Krystal takes on a lot of responsibility to lead the team as well as run the offense," Hernandez said. "She's proven herself capable of handling the task."

Biegaj is definitely a leader on the floor as she distributes the ball incredibly well and runs the Loyola offensive effort. She is also one of the key defensive players on the squad.

Hernandez will also look to Biegaj to teach freshman Jaclyn Schiemel the ropes.

On defense, Hernandez will look to her seniors, McCarney and Crystal Sullivan. McGuire appeared in every match in 2003 in addition to starting in 14. She recorded 124 digs as a part of the back line in addition to 51 kills on attack. Sullivan appeared in 23 of 29 total games in 2003 as a relief player.

"Our defense is solid. I think our seniors {McCarney and Sullivan} give us a lot of leadership on defense," Hernandez said." "I expect them to really step things up."

In addition to McCarney and Sullivan, Hernandez will add Schiemel and Sindelar for depth.