Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Monday, August 26, 2002
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Hopes to Finish With an Even Bigger Blast

What do you get when you mix eight returners, five of whom are returning starters, a desire to win and a work ethic to go along? The 2002
School 2001
Gettysburg (7) 8-2 95
MUHLENBERG (2) 8-2 88
Johns Hopkins 7-3 75
F & M 7-3 73
Haverford (2) 8-2 68
McDaniel 6-4 63
Dickinson 4-6 48
Ursinus 2-8 33
Swarthmore 4-6 26
Washington 1-9 18
Bryn Mawr 0-10 18
Muhlenberg College volleyball team. The team has high expectations for the upcoming season, and with a second-place preseason ranking, the Centennial Conference agrees (see poll at left).

The Mules, who were 20-11 and tied for the CC regular-season championship in 2001, begin their season Friday at the Beach Blast Tournament in Daytona, Fla. – one of five regular-season tournaments in which they will participate this year.

Coach Jenny Warmack-Chipman says that placing top four in the conference is an expectation for her team and that winning the regular-season title,
Meaghan Billie
Billie enters the 2002 season 54 kills away from 1,000 for her career.
as well as the conference tournament, are goals for 2002. The Mules potential may be even higher. Warmack-Chipman predicts, “There is a really great opportunity to see Muhlenberg College in the NCAA Tournament.”

Helping to achieve these goals are four returning seniors, Meaghan Billie, Dana Ferrelli, Lisa Giammalvo and Jennifer Leigh, who have played together since they were freshmen. Each of these seniors had an outstanding 2001.

Billie and Ferrelli were ranked one and two in kills on the team with 348 and 311, respectively. This offensive pair combined to give the Mules two first-team All-CC selections for the first time in team history. Leigh made her mark in 2001 by tying the school record for service aces in a season at 69 and setting the match mark at 11. Giammalvo led the Muhlenberg defense, ending 2001 with 69 blocks, a team best, and 289 digs.

Most of all, these seniors will be depended upon for leadership. Their prior experience in big matches will bring them far this season and according to Warmack-Chipman, “You have to experience [winning] for yourself, which they did last season, and now they bring that to the team in leadership.”

The Mules will be aided in their quest by four additional returners and a cast of newcomers. Junior co-captain Maria Poluka returns after a stellar season at outside hitter. Poluka totaled a team-leading 368 digs in 2001. Warmack-Chipman also welcomes the addition of four new players to the Muhlenberg program. “I expect the freshmen to provide support, talent-wise, for the seniors. They will contribute to the team this year, as demonstrated by their attitude and work ethic during camp.”

After returning from Florida, the Mules have their home opener September 4 against DeSales, then host the fifth Buttermaker Tournament September 6-7. CC play starts September 21 at Bryn Mawr.

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Last updated August 26, 2002