The College of Southern Maryland's women's volleyball team started their 2019 season on the road when they traveled to Montgomery College to take on the Raptors September 3 at 6 p.m.
The Hawks battled through a rough start to their season last year, losing their first 11 games. However, they were able to turn things around at the end of the season when they won five of their last eight games to finish with a 5-14 record.
CSM finished the 2018 season ninth in the MD JUCO standings and 14th in Region XX.
Head coach Jenica Leonard has much higher expectations for this year's team.
"Coming in this season compared to last season, last season I came in with not a whole lot of volleyball background in kids," Leonard said. "This year we came in with a lot of high volleyball IQ. A lot of players have the travel experience. I definitely have high expectations as far as competition. Hopefully, with the level that there was last year with teams, there's definitely some teams that we're going to contend with a lot better this year than we did last year."
Sophomore Katelyn Kluh, an NJCAA 2018-19 All-Academic First Team member, is the only returning player from last year's squad. In 2018, she led the team in solo blocks with 31 and was second in block assists and total blocks with 20 and 51, respectively.
This year's influx of new talent includes several athletes who played together in high school. Four freshman come to CSM from La Plata High School, including Katelyn Kluh's sister Kelsey.
"I think they're all kind of excited to be playing at the next level," Leonard said. "Some of them came from high schools together so they already kind of have a bond. The bond is filtering through everyone. They all have a really fun attitude, they're all happy to be here."
The Hawks lost their match to Montgomery College by a score of 3-0. The scores of the sets were 25-8, 25-8, and 25-13.