HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College volleyball team returns for 2018 recharged and refocused after missing the Centennial Conference Tournament in 2017 (16-13, 5-5 CC). The Fords are no stranger to November volleyball as the year away from postseason competition was just the second in the last 18 seasons. The Fords finished with 15 wins for the sixth consecutive season. An immediate return to postseason play is the goal, with a roster that graduated just one player from the 2017 campaign and welcomes in eight newcomers.
Haverford must replace the production of first-team All-Centennial Conference setter Zoe Wong, and will rely on the leadership of co-captains senior outside hitter Natalie Pisch (3.54 kills per set) and junior libero Sara Matsumura (5.23 digs per set). Each picked up honorable mention all-conference designation a season ago. Outside hitter Claire Nicholas (2.67 kills per set), middle hitter Julia Gallagher-Teske (93 total blocks), right side Madison Adore (0.76 kills per set), setter Sydney Miller (67 assists), and defensive specialist Christine Anderson (two service aces) also return to the fold. Outside hitter Kendall Robison returns after missing all of last season due to an injury.
A robust class of 2022 joins Haverford representing six states and the District of Columbia. The class includes defensive specialists Taylor Seid (San Marino, Calif.), Isabel Schwam (Jacksonville, Fla.), and Elena Filograna (Collegeville, Pa.); setters Mary Frances Gaston (Homewood, Ala.) and Sara Hunsberger (Washington, D.C.); outside hitter Dina Kosyagin (Las Vegas, Nev.), right side Riley Outen (Charlotte, N.C.), and middle blocker Caroline Baldwin (Chapel Hill, N.C.).
Haverford was picked sixth in the 2018 Centennial Conference preseason poll. Haverford received a total of 52 voting points. Johns Hopkins was picked to repeat the conference championship with nine of the 11 first-place votes, while Swarthmore, an NCAA Elite Eight team a season ago, received 84 total points and a first place vote. Muhlenberg was picked third (79 points), and Franklin & Marshall was picked fourth, receiving a first-place vote with 75 total voting points. McDaniel was selected fifth (67 points). Finishing seventh through 11th in the poll were the teams from Gettysburg (51 points), Dickinson (37 points), Washington College (32 points), Ursinus (19 points) and Bryn Mawr (10 points), respectively.
The Fords open up the season on Saturday at the annual Haverford Invitational, hosting Farmingdale State and Hunter on Saturday, September 1 before returning on Sunday, September 2 for matchups with Wheaton (Mass.) and Arcadia. Haverford is ticketed for three road tournaments including the Spartan Invitational at York College (Sept. 7-8), the Neumann Knights Invitational (Sept. 14-15) and the Stevens Invitational (Fri. Oct 12-13). Another highlight in the month of September sees the Fords trekking down to defending conference champion No. 17 Johns Hopkins on September 29. Haverford heads to Hood Trophy partner No. 21 Swarthmore for the regular season finale on Saturday, October 27. The Fords will look to take down the archrival Garnet, an Elite Eight team a season ago.