Second year RCGC women's volleyball coach Rebecca Brown expects her Roadrunners to make a solid leap forward this fall – and with good reason.
The number of players and level of experience have soared dramatically, and hopes are high following a solid recruiting 2017 campaign.
"When we started off last season we had maybe four girls show up for the first practice, and we really struggled all year with numbers," said Brown, a former Cherry Hill East and Rutgers-Camden standout whose team went winless a year ago.
"But we've had a year to settle in and we now have several players with some experience. Hopefully we'll be able to keep the roster around 10 to 12 players. We're excited about the new season."
So are her Roadrunners, including sophomore right side Paige Kressley (Woodstown), one of two returnees from last season.
"We have more players and a much deeper roster this season," said Kressley, also a track and field standout. "We're training hard and feel we will be competitive with most of the teams on our schedule."
Coach Brown is expecting to see production from two experienced players from Winslow High School in freshman middle blocker Azhyianna Redd and freshman libero Casey Rose Alderete. The two were teammates for two seasons at Winslow and are excited to be reunited. Azhyianna is one of the tallest players on the roster at 5 feet, 10 inches while Casey Rose is the shortest at 4-10.
And both are fiercely competitive.
"We're familiar with each other and we've enjoyed being on the team so far," said Alderete. "There are quite a few talented players here, and we have a lot of confidence."
Redd is already seeing improvement in her individual efforts. "Coach Brown has been great, and she's definitely showing us how to transition from the high school to the college game. I was nervous about starting college and with the team, but I've already seen some familiar faces and Coach Brown has helped a lot."
Additional players expected to contribute for the Roadrunners include freshman middle blocker Emily Tate (Jackson Memorial) and Giavonna Astacio (Eastern Regional). Both are experienced and will likely be among the team leaders this Fall.
Coach Brown has several additional players who have solid athletic abilities, including sophomore setter Kiana Ramirez (Washington Township); sophomore outside hitter Sarina Watson (Woodstown), an All-American in track last spring; and freshmen Rebecca Solimeo ((West Deptford, outside hitter), Alysia Williams (Delsea Regional, outside hitter), Sarah Kadelski (Solid Rock Christian Academy, defensive specialist), Sam Thomas (defensive specialist, Deptford), and Sydney Cozza (libero, Ramsey).
RCGC will open its season on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at Delaware Tech, 7 p.m., before hosting its first home match against Brookdale Community College on Thursday, September 7, also at 7 p.m.
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