Gettysburg College Athletics – Bullets Ready to Raise the Bar

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College Bullets Media

August 20, 2013, GETTYSBURG, Pa. (ISN) – A strong group of players return for the Gettysburg College volleyball team with designs on reclaiming its place atop the conference hierarchy.

One year removed from competing in the Centennial Conference title match, the Bullets went through an up-and-down season in 2012. The squad finished the year 15-14 overall, but dropped the final four contests of the season, including a 3-0 setback to Haverford College in the opening round of the conference tournament.

“A lot of players had physical injuries that set us back at key points in the season,” said Head Coach Leah Bernier, who is entering her fourth season at the helm. “It was a tough season, but I think the players learned a valuable lesson in adversity.”

Returning to the fold for Gettysburg are nine veteran players, including five experienced seniors. Bernier will also look to a trio of first-years to help add size and depth to the front row.

Among the seniors are 6-2 middle hitter Sarah Gorski (Darien, Conn./Darien) and setter Lizzy Kuhn (Wilmington, Del./Archmere Academy). An all-conference pick in 2011, Gorski is the team’s top returning attacker from 2012 when she put down 2.33 kills per set. She also ranked second in the conference in total blocks with 78. Kuhn shared setting duties and came up with 4.58 assists per set. The lefty was particularly dominating in the service game, lighting up opponents for a league-high 71 aces on the year.

Senior Courtney Cyr (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) will join Gorski on the front row. The 6-1 hitter averaged a career-high 1.72 kills per set last fall and ranked second on the team with 61 blocks. After three seasons on the outside, senior Kelly Milione (Gainesville, Va./Battlefield) will transition to the back row to help strengthen the passing game. Milione averaged 1.46 kills and 2.8 digs per set as one of the few players to play in both the front and back rows last season.

Senior Nicole Petrillo (Hawthorne, N.Y./West Lake) will aim to bounce back after missing her junior year due to injury. In 2011, Petrillo logged 4.55 assists per set as the team’s back-up setter.

“I think there is going to be some strong leadership this year,” said Bernier. “They are a big class and they’ve been a significant part of the team. I think they finally understand how much they want it and they want to make everyone else work as hard as them to get it.”

Four sophomores compose the remainder of the returners. Joosje Grevers (Westport, Conn./Staples) and Courtney Morrow (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) each contributed major minutes on the frontline as first-years, combining for 138 kills and 58 blocks.

Alesha Miller (Hanover, Pa./New Oxford) and Hannah Bentz (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehanna) emerged as dependable back row players last fall. Bentz ranked third on the team in both aces (47) and digs (225), while Miller posted 1.13 digs per set.

Bernier expects the first-year class of Laura Bergin (Charlottesville, Va./Western Albermarle), Hannah Dallman (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson), and Megan Heyer (Lakeway, Texas/Mills E. Godwin (Va.) to contribute right away for the attack.

Gettysburg will be tested early in 2013 with the likes of Salisbury University, Juniata College, and Elizabethtown College on the docket. Those contests and other non-conference battles will prep the Bullets for the 10-match Centennial slate. The Orange and Blue finished fifth in the conference last fall and Bernier knows her team needs to reach higher to get back into championship contention.

“We can’t overlook any opponent,” said the coach. “We have to play hard against everyone, not just the top teams. We need to aim for a level higher than our opponent and continue to push to that mark during every match.”

Gettysburg opens the year with the 12-team Battlefield Classic inside Bream Gym and Hauser Field House on Aug. 30-31. Opening matches are set for 3 p.m. on Friday.

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