Aug. 27, 2008
Baltimore, Md. - The 2008 edition of the Loyola volleyball team will look remarkably similar to that of last year's squad that finished third in the MAAC regular season standings and reached the four-team MAAC Championship for the first time since 2002. Eleven players who helped the team to its 22-12 final record return as last year's squad did not have a senior on the roster.
But the biggest change will be on the sidelines as first-year head coach Scott Pennewill makes his debut at the helm of the Greyhounds. How quickly the returning players assimilate into Pennewill's system will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the upcoming season.
"The preseason has been very productive thus far," Pennewill reflected. "We are learning and there is a competitive nature to our practices. The players have brought into the gym a goal-oriented environment to the point where they can't wait to practice."
The hard work of the last couple of weeks will be on display Friday afternoon at Robert Morris when the Greyhounds play Lehigh in the first match of the six-team Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational. Loyola will take on the host Colonials later that evening before heading over to Duquesne's campus on Saturday for matches against St. Francis of Pennsylvania and the host Dukes.
The trip to Western Pennsylvania is somewhat of a homecoming for senior Rachel Schillinger, who was recently selected as one of the team's captains along with classmate Christina Greenup and junior Kristen Muscarella, the team's new setter.
"We are motivated to be playing in this tournament this weekend and leadership will be the glue to our successes this season," Pennewill said. "Our expectations for the season are going to be based on past experiences. We want to create success by having superior ball control to have our setters make good decisions. Success then will grow from there."
The Greyhounds were tabbed for fifth in the MAAC coaches' preseason poll and last year's MAAC Rookie of the Year Nina Camaioni was selected as a preseason All-MAAC pick. Following play at this weekend's tournament, Loyola will next play September 5-6 at the Kennesaw State Owls Challenge. Pennewill and the Greyhounds debut in refurbished Reitz Arena September 9 against Morgan State.