WVB: New-found team camaraderie lifts morale this season

Coming off of an 11-19 season in 2021, the women’s volleyball team is looking to have a winning season this year as they have quite a few returning players.
“Returning a large roster this season gives us great depth on our bench,” said head coach Joseph Czopek. “It increases the competition level in practices, this helps the team continue to grow throughout the early season.”
Currently, the Colonels are 1-7 after some hard-fought matches early this season. Wilkes opened up with a 3-1 win over Keystone College where junior opposite hitter Hope Ousey led the team with nine kills.
Last year, Ousey ended the season with 138 kills, the third most kills on the team. In front of her were current senior opposite hitter, Kelsey Carroll, with 213 kills and current sophomore outside hitter, Alexis Reedy, with 224. Reedy is currently leading the team with 76 kills while Ousey follows with 67. Ousey and Reedy have been putting in the work and are right in sync with each other on the court.
“It feels great to be a leader on the team in kills so far this season,” said Ousey. “I have put in a lot of work over the off-season to get to this point and I am continuing to try to get better to be a dependable and consistent player that my teammates can trust to get the job done.”
Sophomore setter and outside hitter Alexa Cassel is leading the team in assists with 204. During her first year as a Colonel, Cassel ended the season with 496 assists with 260 digs. Junior middle hitter Nicole Fitzpatrick adds 59 kills on the current season after having a total of 125 her sophomore season.
“The relationship between all the girls on the team is so much more positive than in past years and that is the most important,” said Fitzpatrick. “A personal goal is to improve my game in a new position as an outside hitter and to be a leader on the court. We need to continue to be positive, keep moving forward and stop focusing on the negative.”
In their most recent home match, the Colonels faced Penn State Altoona where Wilkes was swept 0-3.
Ousey explained that the team is learning to celebrate each moment of the match, which has led to better team chemistry in comparison to last season and will convert into wins in the near future.
“I think the team is already so much more bonded and playing as a unit rather than individuals,” said Ousey. “We have come together more and learned how to communicate in a more positive and productive way to help each other out.”
This new-found overall team compatibility and positivity will assist in leading the Colonels to victory in this 2022 season.
“Although a slow start to the season, the coaching staff sees this team developing upward at every match we play,” said Czopek. “As we continue to improve, consistency will lead this team to a strong finish.”
The next home match is on Sept. 24 when Wilkes will host Wilson College starting at 1 p.m.

Baylee Guedes
Baylee Guedes