Reviewing the women’s volleyball season
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It was a rollercoaster of a season for the women’s volleyball team. While they didn’t get the finish they were looking for, there were certainly bright points to their season. Head coach Kyra Iannone took the time to answer a few questions regarding her team and the year they had.
Iannone was pleased with her fourth-place squad: “I am really impressed with the team’s performance. We had so many firsts: Our first home opener win, our first sweep, our first time winning a set in provincials, our first time going into provincials ranked top four, and our first time being undefeated in league against an opponent. We really took the program to the next level this year.”
Twice, the Royals were undefeated for two weeks in a row. While some may critique the quality of teams they faced in that span, one must remember the competiveness of the PACWEST with the “worst” team able to beat the “best” team on the right day.
“I am very proud of all the small legacy accomplishments as mentioned earlier. I am also proud of the girls’ commitment to competition and culture this season. I am very proud of having Darby Dunn on the All-Rookie team and the second-team All-Star team, along with teammates Juliana Penner as a second-team All-Star and Autumn Davidson as All-Rookie team player.”
However, there are always the low-points to every season. This season, it was probably the six-game losing streak the team experienced in the month of November. But nothing really gets harder to swallow than falling short in the playoffs. Iannone was asked about the team’s finish, to which she said: “Losing in provincials is never easy. I am proud of the season but our finish has something left to be desired.” Despite that, she firmly believes in the progress they’ve made this season, stating that she would not do anything different.
For every successful season, there are key players who make it possible. For the Royals, as mentioned by Iannone, the play of Penner, Dunn, and Davidson stood out, Iannone also took the time to highlight some of the key players on her roster who were not named to all-star squads. “You can see who were awarded All-Stars, but we had a lot of really improved and impactful players this season. Fourth-year Courtney Wilson was always there when we needed her. Taylor Bain came back in semester two and was one of our best players in our last match, but overall, we had many great performers.
To assist the team in transitioning into a younger and stronger squad, a number of talented rookie players pitched in as more than visible cogs. Dunn in particular was named the PACWEST Rookie of the Year for her efforts. Iannone acknowledged some of her younger players as well. “Darby obviously was the top rookie in the league, but Autumn Davidson and Claudia Corneil were also very strong for us.”
Looking back on the year, it’s been one of accomplishment. Although the end goal of making it to the national stage was put on the backburner for another year, the team can be proud of their many accomplishments. “This program is just building, settling into its progress and learning. I am proud of this team and the girls who are a part of it.”