Women’s volleyball looks to be more aggressive this season

By Britney Dixon | Sports Manager

The crowd banged their feet against the bleachers and clapped their hands high above their heads to reciprocate the energy on the court last Friday night.

After earning No. 2 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference Preseason Poll, the Roger Williams University women’s volleyball team knew they had high standards to withhold throughout this upcoming season.

Last season, the Hawks achieved a record of 19-8 with only one CCC loss. Scoring 605 points and producing over a thousand kills set a standard of aggression coming into this season.

Graduated senior Kristin Boyer set 206 of those kills on her own. With Boyer and her leadership gone, Head Coach Danielle Soubliere worried there would be a void.

“She always led by an aggressive example. The returners know this and they’re ready to fill those shoes,” Soubliere said.

Sophomore Lara Lolacono has already begun to step into Boyer’s role. Lolacono led the team with 33 kills on the season less than a week in by replacing Boyer’s hard outside shot.

Junior Grace Kenningham was not far behind Lolacono with 28 kills and eight aces.

The Hawks lost six seniors last season and gained a huge underclassmen percentage.

“Last year, we were always trying to get in a groove, but we never really did,” Soubliere said. “The seniors brought experience when it came to things needing to get done, but they weren’t the best leaders.”

This season, the overall goal for the Hawks is to work towards a better team cohesion. Having nine sophomores and two freshmen allows for an easier transition into this goal. The team has worked well together on and off the court thus far, which works to their advantage.

“There was a lot of pressure to win CCCs and do well last year. This year is almost a reset,” Soubliere said. “You have two classes that have never won before and are hungry for it. For us, it’s almost a good thing. It’s a fresh start.”

The Hawks have lived up to their potential thus far with a four game sweep this past weekend. RWU hosted a tournament inviting Framingham State University, Emerson College, Bridgewater State University, and Colby-Sawyer College to Bristol.

Going into the tournament, Soubliere set three simple goals for the women: to communicate well, learn how to take care of the ball, and focus on each other. Overall, the theme was aggression and stepping into new leadership roles.