In their final year of competition in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), the Shepherd University Rams Volleyball team compiled a 12-17 overall record; however, they did manage to go 7-7 in the WVIAC. However, it is time for the Lady Rams to begin looking to the future.
That will first begin with their move to the newly-formed Mountain East Conference. The conference will add some worthy opponents for Shepherd, such as Notre Dame of Ohio, Urbana and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. These programs add substantial competition to the new conference.
The Rams lost three very skilled contributors in the off-season. The first is the reigning WVIAC Senior Scholar Athlete Award winner, Kasey Mercier. The Baltimore, Md. native departs from the program leaving behind a legacy to excellence. The second key player to depart from the program is Winchester, Va. native Sara Michael. Finally, Clarkston, Mich. native Lauren Gardner has also completed her four years of eligibility. The Rams are looking to move into the future strongly, however.
Three new incoming freshmen will help alleviate the pressure caused by the aforementioned departures. The new signings are all fairly local, as they all hail from Mid-Atlantic region. Coach Sarah Smith is very excited about Tommie David, a Virginia Beach, Va. native joining the team.
“Tommie will be a great addition to our program,” said Smith. “She comes from a club program that establishes a high bar, which Tommie has crossed every time.”
The program also added Christine Jackson, a Stafford, Va. native and Lauren Summa, a Bear, Del. native and graduate of the Wilmington, Del. based Padua Academy.
These newly enrolled Shepherd athletes will greatly contribute to volleyball squad.
“We are very pleased that these three ladies decided to join our Ram family,” said Coach Smith. “The next four years will be great ones for the 2013 class.”
Starting out the season on the right foot is always something a coach stresses to their team. Getting a few games over the .5 mark allows the team room for error as the season goes on. Some big matches for the Rams this season include a home game Oct. 11 with Wheeling Jesuit, an away match Oct. 22 against IUP, and their Nov. 16 trip to West Liberty, which is their last match of the regular season this campaign.