By: Zach Tracy
The William Penn Statesmen volleyball team will look to be in good hands this season with a good recruiting class, solid returners, and a very experience senior core from last year. Currently on the roster the team has 12 freshmen that can fill any role the team needs this season. The group is a young, excited, gung-ho class that is ready to do anything they can do help this team compete for a championship. The experience the team has will come from four seniors Savanna Hartman, Sawyer Woodworth, Shawani Willis and Nicole Harrison. Each senior Statesmen has a diverse role on the team that is could be seen as irreplaceable.
Shawani Willis will be Coach Carlson’s first four-year senior she has had at William Penn University. Coach Carlson is on her fourth year as the head volleyball coach and will look to guide the Statesmen this year to a winning season.
“Last year was the foundation,” said Coach Carlson.
The team was picked to finish dead last for last year, but surprised the opposition by finishing 11 out of 12. Competition this year in the Heart of America conference will again be challenging, but it is no task Coach Carlson and the Statesmen won’t be ready for. With only one win in the conference last year the Statesmen will want to surpass that to make it to postseason play. Along with other HAAC teams this year the Grand View Vikings will be an important game for the Statesmen being the longtime rivals. The rivalry game will be played on October 11 at 7:00 pm in Des Moines, Iowa. Which is a fitting month for the Statesmen to “dig” up the old rivalry between the two teams.
Although, the Statesmen season is still early they have already taken strides towards excellence. Coming off a one-win start, the Statesmen have now won 2 games straight and are looking to keep the ball rolling. Wins over opposing teams include Grace (Neb), Hannibal -LaGrange, and Dakota State. During the Grace game senior Savanna Hartman had 17 kills with a .615 hitting clip. Those numbers would help the team beat grace and move on in the tournament. This streak of wins will help the team’s confidence in upcoming games that could help show them light towards the postseason. The team is only 3 wins from passing last year’s mark with much of the season left to play. Coach Carlson thinks for the team to finish where they want to this year, they will have to finish games with mental toughness and gel as a new unit.