by Tom Utescher
With relatively light graduation losses from the 2012 roster, a solid group of returning veterans should translate into a high volleyball IQ for the women of Chestnut Hill College this fall.
The team bid farewell to a pair of 2013 grads, 6’1” hitter Cassie Benson and setter Courtney Gallo, and Gallo was really the only active player lost, since a preseason injury kept Benson sidelined last fall.
“We have 11 returners and four new players,” noted CHC head coach Kim Feeny, who is embarking upon her sixth season guiding the Griffins. “We’re more mature now, and the new girls are just adding to our overall strength and experience.”
The seniors include dynamic hitter Alex DePalma and dependable blocker Mary Markowski, along with setter Sarah Mattaliano. Their classmates Kailey Arlen and Allison Eberly are both 5’10” athletes who can play more than one spot in the front row.
The lone junior on the roster is six-foot right-side hitter Katie Schock, and the returning sophomores are defensive specialists Deanna Bianchini, Meghan Chiovitti and Elizabeth Levis, powerful middle hitter Rachel Biro, and setter Alyssa Tamsing.
A new addition to the team and to the college, Regina Trabosh, comes from just down the street, but she took a little detour along the way. A libero who starred for Mount St. Joseph Academy and graduated in 2012, Trabosh (the daughter of MSJ coach George Trabosh) originally committed to play at Temple University. She later decided to return close to her high school roots, and she still has four years of athletic eligibility.
“Regina adds more depth and experience to the passing,” Feeny said, “and we also have three new freshmen. There’s a setter who helps us to run the center of the court a little more efficiently and connect with our hitter. We also have a strong outside who hits a good heavy ball, and we have another outside hitter who adds depth to that position as well.”
The hitters are Courtney Williams and Maddie McBride, and the setter is Emily Drew. The last two also bring some geographical diversity to Sorgenti Arena. McBride is a California native, and until recently Drew lived in Texas, where, as Feeny noted, “they play at a higher, faster pace than what is typically found with East Coast high school and club teams.”
Last year’s young Griffins produced close set scores in most of their matches, but often they just couldn’t finish out with wins. They came in sixth out of the seven teams in the South Division of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, finishing with a record of 5-14 in the CACC, and 9-21 overall.
“We have a good group of girls who get along very well, and they work hard when it’s time to get down to business,” Feeny observed. “We expect those things, along with our added maturity, to translate into increased success this season.”