The College of Southern Maryland Hawks women's volleyball team gets their 2022-23 regular season underway on August 28 when they will take on the Montgomery College Raptors, ranked #18 in the NJCAA Division II preseason poll, at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland.
Allorie Sanders steps in to lead the program in her first year as head coach, bringing with her three new assistant coaches - Christina Taylor, Toniya Scott, and Elizabeth Ravancho.
"The volleyball coaching staff at CSM is full of knowledge," Sanders said. "We coach with hard love and push our players to their fullest potential. We have set the standards very high and have no intention of changing the type of volleyball we envision for the CSM program, even in the years to come."
Sanders discussed how she and her team "are super excited to start our 2022 season. We put in a lot of work during the preseason that we hope will pay off in the postseason. We have set many goals within our team, one being champions of Region 20!"
This year's squad will look to build on last season's performance that included several flashes of promise.
Even though the Hawks ended 2021 with a 3-7 overall record, and finished fifth in the Region 20 Division II standings, they recorded two 3-0 sweeps.
CSM was also one of the top blocking teams in Region 20 Division II last year. They finished the season tied for first in blocks per set at 1.33, third in block assists with 50, and tied for fourth in total blocks with 44.
The Hawks return four players from last year's roster: outside hitter Janiyah Brand, right side hitter Samya Alexander, middle blocker Trinity Barrett, and outside hitter Madison Slattery. Brand was named to the 2021-22 All-Region 20 Division II First Team and All-Maryland JUCO Second Team - "We are expecting her to do great things and be the leader of our team,'' Sanders noted - while Alexander earned All-Region 20 Division II Second Team honors.
Brand ran away with the team lead in kills last year with 98. She also led the team in service aces with 19 and points with 125.0. Alexander registered 39 kills, seven service aces, 43 digs, and ten block assists. Barrett added 38 kills, nine service aces, 41 digs, seven solo blocks, and six block assists. Slattery led the team in digs with 75 while contributing 40 kills and nine service aces.
Sanders mentioned a newcomer to CSM to keep an eye on - outside hitter Ellyssa Fultz. "She is truly an all-around player with a great attitude," Sanders said.
Middle blocker Benia Morton, libero Alyssa Powell, setter and right side hitter Lillian Reynolds, and defensive specialist Michelle Rodriguez will also be looking to make an impact in their first year with the Hawks.
The main message Sanders has shared during the preseason is "new beginnings," starting with this new team, new staff, and new goals for the 2022 campaign. For the Hawks to achieve success, Sanders wants her players to connect on and off the court to form a formidable group.
"The strength of our team truly falls on the connection our ladies have made off the court," Sanders said. "The bond they have made in three weeks will carry over onto the court. To win, we must communicate on the court. Volleyball is not a quiet game, and in order for us to win, we must talk on the court."
With a supportive coaching staff that is energized and experienced, and a talented group of players, there is plenty of potential to see in this year's CSM Hawks volleyball team.
CSM's match against Mongtomery on August 28 will start at noon.