GREENVILLE, Pa. (Titan Athletics) – Following last season’s runner-up finish in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Volleyball Championship Tournament and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III title, Westminster College has been selected as the favorite in the PAC preseason coaches’ poll, which is voted on by the league’s nine head coaches.
Westminster and 26th-year Head Coach Tammy Swearingen collected five first-place votes and 71 total points to headline this year’s poll. This marks the first time Westminster will enter the season as the league favorite since 2009. The Titans claimed the 2008 PAC title and earned the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Westminster finished its 2017 season 30-6, becoming just the third team in program history to win at least 30 matches in a season.
The Titans return five starters, including senior Delaney Saxton (Cortland, OH / Brookfield), who earned PAC Second Team honors last season. Saxton finished second on the team in both kills (258) and hitting percentage (.232) and was also third on the team in blocks with 59.
“Fortunately, we do have a strong nucleus of returners coming back and we look to them to help lead,” said Swearingen. “Having that success last year certainly added to their confidence, so I’m hoping we can take that and move on. Our hope is to win the PAC.”
Rounding out the returning starters are seniors Rachel Moore (Greensburg, PA / Greensburg Central Catholic) and Shanna Daniels (Hermitage, PA / Billy C. Ryan), along with juniors Haley Farmerie (Manor, PA / Greensburg Central Catholic) and Reilly DeGeorge (Ashtabula, OH / Saint John). Moore, Daniels, and DeGeorge, all earned All-PAC Honorable Mention honors last season. Moore finished sixth in the conference in digs with 493. Daniels totaled 590 assists, good for eighth in the PAC, while DeGeorge led the conference in service aces with 71. Farmerie added 76 total blocks, good for ninth-best in the league.
The Titans welcome seven first-year players. “We got some young student-athletes coming in that I believe are going to challenge to get some playing time” said Swearingen. “We are excited about that and hope that maybe we can divvy up some of that load to the rest of the players on the team. That would be the goal to be a complete team.”
Westminster’s first game of the season is against Frostburg State University at the Saint Vincent Invitational, beginning on Friday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m. The Titans’ first home match is against La Roche College on Tuesday, September 4 at 7 p.m. Westminster concludes its regular season on Saturday, October 27 on the road at Saint Vincent, starting at 1 p.m. The 2018 PAC Tournament is set to start on Tuesday, October 30.
*The PAC contributed to this release.