Beaver Falls, PA – You can only fly under the radar for so long. The Geneva College women’s volleyball team has been doing just that for the majority of the 2010 campaign. Quietly going about their business, the Golden Tornadoes have reeled off nine straight victories and are sitting at 18-2 for the season. The best start in school history came back in 1976 when Geneva finished the year with a mark of 20-2. The record for victories in a season was set in 1986 with a 23-15 overall mark. It seems inevitable that both records may fall before too long as the Golden Tornadoes are preparing for their most important weekend of the season.
One of the reasons that it’s easy to look past their special season is the fact that the Golden Tornadoes volleyball team, along with all the other athletic teams at Geneva, are in the final year of NCAA Division III provisional status. For the last four years, Geneva’s athletic teams have been ineligible to compete in the NCAA post-season and have placed its primary focus on the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association). With the NCCAA once again at the top of the priority list, the Golden Tornadoes will travel to Rochester, Ny, this weekend for the NCCAA East regional tournament. Playing its toughest competition of the season, the Golden Tornadoes will go up against four scholarship programs in search of an automatic bid to the NCCAA national tournament, a venue that no Geneva team has ever ventured.
The task will be difficult as four of the top ten NCCAA volleyball teams in the country will be competing this weekend. In addition to Geneva, Roberts Wesleyan, Malone and Mt. Vernon Nazarene are all having outstanding seasons. If there was ever a year that Geneva could make a run at the regional title, the 2010 season may be that time.
What has made the current season so successful? Like many championship caliber teams the answer is not an easy one. The fact is that there have been several keys to perhaps the most successful volleyball season in school history. One look at the PAC statistical leaders will help explain some of the success. Senior outside hitter Adriane Blake will most likely graduate as the all-time kills leader in school history. This year, Blake leads the PAC with 3.71 kills per game while teammate Rachel Kuegler ranks fourth in the conference at 3.10 kills per game. It has been the inclusion of stand-out freshman setter Deanna Briody that seems to have brought things together. The freshman ranks number one in the PAC with 10.52 assists per game. If service success is your game then look no further than sophomore Kristland McCracken with her conference best 0.48 aces per game. Both Kirsten Ley (8) and Maggie Bowersox (14) are among the leaders in blocks while Brianna Mixter ranks fourth in digs per game at 5.11.
Geneva’s defensive excellence has been evident from day one. In fact, the Golden Tornadoes not only lead the PAC as a team with 20.83 digs per game but they also lead the entire NCCAA in that category.
Records are made to be broken and by week’s end the 2010 Geneva women’s volleyball team may be standing alone as the most successful team in school history. There is much volleyball left to be played, but by all indications the Golden Tornadoes and co-head coaches Wendy Smith and Curt Conser are set up for what looks to be a record setting year and perhaps a trip to the NCCAA national tournament for the first time in school history.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
A great majority of Geneva students – 70% – complete internships during the course of their study.